Book Image

gnuplot Cookbook

By : Lee Phillips
Book Image

gnuplot Cookbook

By: Lee Phillips

Overview of this book

gnuplot is the world's finest technical plotting software, used by scientists, engineers, and others for many years. It is in constant development and runs on practically every operating system, and can produce output in almost any format. The quality of its 3d plots is unmatched and its ability to be incorporated into computer programs and document preparation systems is excellent. gnuplot Cookbook ñ it will help you master gnuplot. Start using gnuplot immediately to solve your problems in data analysis and presentation. Quickly find a visual example of the graph you want to make and see a complete, working script for producing it. Learn how to use the new features in gnuplot 4.4. Find clearly explained, working examples of using gnuplot with LaTeX and with your own computer programming language. You will master all the ins and outs of gnuplot through gnuplot Cookbook. You will learn to plot basic 2d to complex 3d plots, annotate from simple labels to equations, integrate from simple scripts to full documents and computer progams. You will be taught to annotate graphs with equations and symbols that match the style of the rest of your text, thus creating a seamless, professional document. You will be guided to create a web page with an interactive graph, and add graphical output to your simulation or numerical analysis program. Start using all of gnuplot's simple to complex features to suit your needs, without studying its 200 page manual through this Cookbook.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
gnuplot Cookbook
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Finding Help and Information

Appendix A. Finding Help and Information

I hope that this book has been useful to you in getting gnuplot to do what you need it to do. But no single book can contain everything you might need to know. So, in this Appendix, I have compiled a brief list of other sources of gnuplot information and education.

The most direct and immediate source of help when using gnuplot is the built-in help system; by typing the Help topic at the interactive prompt you can get detailed information on any topic. This is most useful if you already have some idea about what you are looking for. Sometimes the help system provides too much information, and often not enough, but this is usually the first place to look if you need to know all the options associated with a particular command.

The official gnuplot manual, which can be found in various HTML and PDF configurations at the official gnuplot home at, contains some detailed information that cannot be found anywhere else, and is an essential reference work for the advanced gnuplotter. Beware that it is impossible to actually learn how to use gnuplot from this manual, however, and it is organized in a way that makes it difficult to find relevant information.

There is a gnuplot reference card at, which is a brief reminder of the most useful commands and options, suitable for printing out and tacking up next to your computer.

There is a great collection of gnuplot demos indexed from

More beautiful 3D sample plots (with scripts) can be found at

The first book treating gnuplot in detail was Gnuplot in Action by Philipp K. Janert, which can be found at This is more concerned with teaching data analysis than gnuplot per se, but is a well-regarded volume.

The page of gnuplot tips and "not so Frequently Asked Questions" by T. Kawano at has some very useful information and examples, although it was last updated in 2005.

More gnuplot demonstrations can be found at

An impressive collection of Gnuplot tricks, showing some nonobvious ways of doing things with gnuplot, can be discovered at

David MacKay's lovely examples of using gnuplot in physics can be found at

The involved subject of date/time plotting in gnuplot is given a tutorial treatment by Marco Fioretti in the article How to handle time-based data with Gnuplot at

The gnuplot mailing list is archived at, and the newsgroup can be scanned at You should keep an eye on both of these if you want to keep up-to-date; gnuplot is actively developed.

Finally, I maintain a page about gnuplot at Its original purpose was to help people who want to install gnuplot on the Macintosh, but now serves up general information and maintains a current list of links to other gnuplot resources. You will also be able to find updated and, if necessary corrected code and data files for use in this book, on this page.