Go to main content

man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: July 2017

gnuplot (1)


gnuplot - an interactive plotting program


gnuplot [X11 options] [options] [file ...]


GNUPLOT(1)                  General Commands Manual                 GNUPLOT(1)

       gnuplot - an interactive plotting program

       gnuplot [X11 options] [options] [file ...]

       Gnuplot is a command-driven interactive function plotting program.

       If  file  names  are given on the command line, gnuplot loads each file
       with the load command, in the order specified, and exits after the last
       file is processed.  If no files are given, gnuplot prompts for interac-
       tive commands.

       Here are some of its features:

       Plots any number of functions, built up of C operators, C library func-
       tions, and some things C doesn't have like **, sgn(), etc.

       User-defined constants and functions.

       All  computations  performed in the complex domain.  Just the real part
       is plotted by default, but functions like imag() and  abs()  and  arg()
       are available to override this.

       Also  support  for plotting data files, to compare actual data to theo-
       retical curves.

       Nonlinear least-squares fitting.

       2D plots with mouse-controlled zooming.

       3D plots with mouse-controlled point of view.

       User-defined X and Y ranges (optional auto-ranging), smart  axes  scal-
       ing, smart tic marks.

       Labelling of X and Y axes.

       Shell escapes and command line substitution.

       Load and save capability.

       Support for many output devices and file formats.

       Output redirection.

       -p,  --persist  lets  plot  windows  survive after main gnuplot program

       -e "command list" executes the requested commands  before  loading  the
       next input file.

       -h, --help print summary of usage

       -V show current version

       Gnuplot  provides  the  x11  terminal type for use with X servers. This
       terminal type is set automatically at startup if the  DISPLAY  environ-
       ment variable is set, if the TERM environment variable is set to xterm,
       or if the -display command line option is used.  For terminal type x11,
       gnuplot  accepts  the  standard X Toolkit options and resources such as
       geometry, font, and background. See the X(1) man page for a description
       of the options.  In addition to the X Toolkit options:

       -clear  requests  that  the  window be cleared momentarily before a new
       plot is displayed.

       -gray requests grayscale rendering  on  grayscale  or  color  displays.
       (Grayscale displays receive monochrome rendering by default.)

       -mono forces monochrome rendering on color displays.

       -raise raises the plot window after each plot.

       -noraise does not raise the plot window after each plot.

       -tvtwm requests that geometry specifications for position of the window
       be made relative to the currently  displayed  portion  of  the  virtual

       These  options may also be controlled with resources in your .Xdefaults
       file.  For example: gnuplot*gray: on .

       Gnuplot provides a command line option (-pointsize v)  and  a  resource
       (gnuplot*pointsize:  v)  to control the size of points plotted with the
       "points" plotting style. The value v is a real number (greater  than  0
       and  less  than  or  equal  to  ten) used as a scaling factor for point
       sizes. For example, -pointsize 2 uses points twice  the  default  size,
       and -pointsize 0.5 uses points half the normal size.

       For  monochrome  displays,  gnuplot  does not honor foreground or back-
       ground colors. The default is black-on-white. -rv or  gnuplot*reverseV-
       ideo: on requests white-on-black.

       For  color  displays gnuplot honors the following resources (shown here
       with default values). The values may be color names in the X11  rgb.txt
       file on your system, hexadecimal RGB color specifications (see X11 doc-
       umentation), or a color name followed by a comma and an intensity value
       from 0 to 1. For example, blue,.5 means a half intensity blue.

       gnuplot*background: white
       gnuplot*textColor: black
       gnuplot*borderColor: black
       gnuplot*axisColor: black
       gnuplot*line1Color: red
       gnuplot*line2Color: green
       gnuplot*line3Color: blue
       gnuplot*line4Color: magenta
       gnuplot*line5Color: cyan
       gnuplot*line6Color: sienna
       gnuplot*line7Color: orange
       gnuplot*line8Color: coral

       When  -gray  is  selected,  gnuplot  honors the following resources for
       grayscale or color displays (shown here with default values). Note that
       the default background is black.

       gnuplot*background: black
       gnuplot*textGray: white
       gnuplot*borderGray: gray50
       gnuplot*axisGray: gray50
       gnuplot*line1Gray: gray100
       gnuplot*line2Gray: gray60
       gnuplot*line3Gray: gray80
       gnuplot*line4Gray: gray40
       gnuplot*line5Gray: gray90
       gnuplot*line6Gray: gray50
       gnuplot*line7Gray: gray70
       gnuplot*line8Gray: gray30

       Gnuplot  honors the following resources for setting the width in pixels
       of plot lines (shown here with default values.) 0 or 1 means a  minimal
       width line of 1 pixel width. A value of 2 or 3 may improve the  appear-
       ance of some plots.

       gnuplot*borderWidth: 2
       gnuplot*axisWidth: 0
       gnuplot*line1Width: 0
       gnuplot*line2Width: 0
       gnuplot*line3Width: 0
       gnuplot*line4Width: 0
       gnuplot*line5Width: 0
       gnuplot*line6Width: 0
       gnuplot*line7Width: 0
       gnuplot*line8Width: 0

       Gnuplot honors the following resources for setting the dash style  used
       for plotting lines.  0 means a solid line. A 2 digit number jk (j and k
       are >= 1  and <= 9) means a dashed line with a repeated  pattern  of  j
       pixels  on  followed  by k pixels off.  For example, '16' is a "dotted"
       line with 1 pixel on followed by 6 pixels off.  More  elaborate  on/off
       patterns can be specified with a 4 digit value.  For example, '4441' is
       4 on, 4 off, 4 on, 1 off. The default values shown below are for  mono-
       chrome displays or monochrome rendering on color or grayscale displays.
       For color displays, the defaults for all are 0 (solid line) except  for
       axisDashes which defaults to a '16' dotted line.

       gnuplot*borderDashes: 0
       gnuplot*axisDashes: 16
       gnuplot*line1Dashes: 0
       gnuplot*line2Dashes: 42
       gnuplot*line3Dashes: 13
       gnuplot*line4Dashes: 44
       gnuplot*line5Dashes: 15
       gnuplot*line6Dashes: 4441
       gnuplot*line7Dashes: 42
       gnuplot*line8Dashes: 13

       The  size or aspect ratio of a plot may be changed by resizing the gnu-
       plot window.

       A number of shell environment  variables  are  understood  by  gnuplot.
       None of these are required.

              The  name  of  the terminal type to be used.  This overrides any
              terminal type sensed by gnuplot on start-up, but is itself over-
              ridden  by the .gnuplot (or equivalent) start-up file (see FILES
              and "help start-up") and, of course, by later explicit changes.

              The pathname of the HELP file (gnuplot.gih).

       HOME   The name of a directory to search for a .gnuplot file if none is
              found in the current directory.

       PAGER  An output filter for help messages.

       SHELL  The program used for the "shell" command.

              Specifies  a gnuplot command to be executed when a fit is inter-
              rupted---see "help fit".

              The name of the logfile maintained by fit.

              Additional search directories for data and  command  files.  The
              variable  may  contain  a  single  directory  name, or a list of
              directories separated by ':'. The contents  of  GNUPLOT_LIB  are
              appended  to  the  "loadpath"  variable,  but not saved with the
              "save" and "save set" commands.

              Several gnuplot terminal drivers access TrueType fonts  via  the
              gd  library.  This variable gives the font search path for these

              The default font for the terminal drivers that  access  TrueType
              fonts via the gd library.

              The font search path used by the postscript terminal. The format
              is the same as for GNUPLOT_LIB. The contents of GNUPLOT_FONTPATH
              are  appended to the "fontpath" variable, but not saved with the
              "save" and "save set" commands.

              Used by the postscript driver to locate external prologue files.
              Depending  on  the  build  process,  gnuplot  contains  either a
              builtin copy of those files or simply a default hardcoded  path.
              Use  this  variable  to test the postscript terminal with custom
              prologue files. See "help postscript prologue".

              Gnuplot looks for this initialization file, first in the current
              directory, then in the HOME directory.  It may contain any legal
              gnuplot commands, but typically they are limited to setting  the
              terminal and defining frequently-used functions or variables.

              The default name of the logfile maintained by fit.

       Thomas Williams, Pixar Corporation,
       and Colin Kelley.

       Additions for labelling by Russell Lang, Monash University, Australia.
       Further  additions by David Kotz, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
       (formerly of Duke University, North Carolina, USA).

       See the help bugs command in gnuplot.

       See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | image/gnuplot    |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted      |
       See the printed manual or the on-line help for details on specific com-

       This     software     was    built    from    source    available    at
       https://java.net/projects/solaris-userland.   The  original   community
       source   was   downloaded   from   http://sourceforge.net/projects/gnu-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at http://gnuplot.info/.

4th Berkeley Distribution        7 October 2008                     GNUPLOT(1)