an interactive plotting program


Start the interactive graph plotting shell

$ gnuplot

Plot the graph for the specified graph definition file

$ gnuplot [path/to/definition.plt]

Set the output format by executing a command before loading the definition file

$ gnuplot -e "[set output "path/to/filename.png" size 1024,768]" [path/to/definition.plt]

Persist the graph plot preview window after gnuplot exits

$ gnuplot --persist [path/to/definition.plt]


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


Gnuplot is a command-driven interactive plotting program. If file names are given on the command line, gnuplot loads and executes each file in the order specified, and exits after the last file is pro‐ cessed. If no files are given, gnuplot prompts for interactive com‐ mands. Here are some of its features: Plots any number of functions, built up of C operators, C math library functions, 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. Many presentation styles for plotting user data from files, including surface-fitting, error bars, boxplots, histograms, heat maps, and sim‐ ple manipulation of image data. There is an on-line demo collection at Nonlinear least-squares fitting. 2D and 3D plots with mouse-controlled zooming, rotation, and hypertext. Shell escapes and command line substitution. Load and save capability. Support for a huge variety of output devices and file formats.


-p, --persist lets plot windows survive after main gnuplot program ex‐ its. -c scriptname ARG1 ARG2 ..., load script using gnuplot's "call" mecha‐ nism and pass it the remainder of the command line as arguments -d, --default settings. Do not read from gnuplotrc or ~/.gnuplot on entry. -e "command list" executes the requested commands before loading the next input file. -h, --help print summary of usage -V show current version


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 common options. For additional X options specific to gnuplot, type help x11 on the gnuplot command line. These options have no effect on other terminal types.


A number of shell environment variables are understood by gnuplot. None of these are required. GNUTERM The name of the terminal type to be used by default. This can be overridden by the gnuplotrc or .gnuplot start-up files and, of course, by later explicit "set terminal" commands. GNUHELP The pathname of the HELP file (gnuplot.gih). HOME The name of a directory to search for a .gnuplot file. PAGER An output filter for help messages. SHELL The program used for the "shell" command. FIT_SCRIPT Specifies a gnuplot command to be executed when a fit is inter‐ rupted---see "help fit". FIT_LOG The name of the logfile maintained by fit. GNUPLOT_LIB Additional search directories for data and command files. The variable may contain a single directory name, or a list of di‐ rectories separated by ':'. The contents of GNUPLOT_LIB are ap‐ pended to the "loadpath" variable, but not saved with the "save" and "save set" commands. GDFONTPATH Several gnuplot terminal drivers access TrueType fonts via the gd library. This variable gives the font search path for these drivers. GNUPLOT_DEFAULT_GDFONT The default font for the terminal drivers that access TrueType fonts via the gd library. GNUPLOT_FONTPATH 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. GNUPLOT_PS_DIR 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".


gnuplotrc When gnuplot is run, it first looks for a system-wide initial‐ ization file named gnuplotrc. The standard location of this file expected by the program is reported by the "show loadpath" command. .gnuplot After loading the system-wide initialization file, if any, Gnu‐ plot looks for a private initialization file in the HOME direc‐ tory. It may contain any legal gnuplot commands, but typically they are limited to setting the preferred terminal and line types and defining frequently-used functions or variables. fit.log The default name of the logfile output by the "fit" command.


Original authors: Thomas Williams and Colin Kelley. Starting with gnu‐ plot version 3.8, the project source is cooperatively maintained on SourceForge by a large number of contributors.


Please report bugs using the project bug tracker on SourceForge.


See the printed manual or the on-line help for details on specific com‐ mands. Project web site at

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