The Gnuplot Plotting Utility
Gnuplot is a command-line driven interactive function plotting utility
for UNIX, MSDOS, VMS, and many other platforms. The software is copyrighted
but freely distributed (i.e., you don't have to pay for it). It was
originally intended as graphical program which would allow scientists
and students to visualize mathematical functions and data. Gnuplot
supports many different types of terminals, plotters, and printers
(including many color devices, and pseudo-devices like LaTeX) and is
easily extensible to include new devices. [ The "GNU" in gnuplot is
NOT related to the Free Software Foundation, the naming is just a
coincidence (and a long story). Thus gnuplot is not covered by the Gnu
copyleft, but rather by its own copyright statement, included in all
source code files.]
Gnuplot handles both curves (2 dimensions) and surfaces (3
dimensions). Surfaces can be plotted as a mesh fitting the specified
function, floating in the 3-d coordinate space, or as a contour plot
on the x-y plane. For 2-d plots, there are also many plot styles,
including lines, points, lines with points, error bars, and impulses
(crude bar graphs). Graphs may be labeled with arbitrary labels and
arrows, axes labels, a title, date and time, and a key. The interface
includes command-line editing and history on most platforms.
The new gnuplot user should begin by reading the general information
available by typing `help` after running gnuplot. Then read about the
`plot` command (type `help plot`). The manual for gnuplot (which is a
nicely formatted version of the on-line help information) can be
printed either with TeX, troff or nroff. Look at the docs/Makefile
for the appropriate option.
The GNUPLOT source code and executables may be copied and/or modified
freely as long as the copyright messages are left intact.
Copyright and Porting
See the Copyright file for copyright conditions.
See the ChangeLog and docs/old/History.old file for changes to GNUPLOT.
Compilation instructions are in the 0INSTALL file. Porting instructions
are in the 0PORTING file. Compile and testing problems are also in
The code for GNUPLOT was written with portability in mind; however, the
new features incorporated in v3.6 were developed with ANSI-C compliant
compilers, and it was deemed expedient to restrict the development effort
to that environment, with the consequence that systems that could build
previous GNUPLOT releases may require some source modifications. GNUPLOT
has been tested on the following systems (incomplete), but be aware that
this list is not necessarily up to date with regard to the current version
o Sun3, sun4c, sun4m, sun4u (SunOS 4.03, SunOS 4.1.x, Solaris 2.5.1/2.6)
o uVAX 3100 (VMS 5.4, 5.5, 6.0, 6.1)
o VAX 6410 (VMS 5.2)
o DECStation 5000/200PXG (ULTRIX V4.1)
o DEC AXP 3400 (VMS/OpenVMS 1.5, 6.2)
o DEC AXP 600, A1000A, 3000 (DEC Unix 3.2 4.0, Windows NT 4.0 MSVC++ 4.0)
o IBM PC and compatibles (MS-DOS 3.3/5.0 BC++3.1/TC++ 1.0 MSC 7.0 DJGPP,
OS/2 2.x, Linux 2.x SVGA X11/XFree86, Windows95/98, Windows NT 4.0)
o IBM AIX 3.x and 4.x
o CBM Amiga (AmigaOS 1.3, 2.x and 3.x, SAS/C 6.2 and better, Aztec C
beta 5.2a, gcc; Linux 2.x, NetBSD-1.3.x)
o IRIS 4D/70G and 4D/25G with MIPS C
o NeXT with gnu C 1.34
o AT&T 3B1 (version 3.51m with cc and gcc 1.39)
o Apollo's (DomainOS SR10.3 BSD4.3 with C compiler 68K Rev 6.7(316))
o HP 300 (m68k) and HP 700 (PA-RISC) (HP-UX 9.x)
o SGI Challenge and O2 (Irix 6.2, 6.3)
GNUPLOT has not been tested on Pyramid 90x. You can expect that gnuplot
will compile more or less out of the box on any system which has a newer
(2.x) version of the GNU C compiler gcc.
Help and Bug Reports
Note that since gnuplot has nothing to do with the GNU project, please
don't ask them for help or information about gnuplot; also, please
don't ask us about GNU stuff.
Please tell us the version and machine on which your bug occurred.
Also, please use meaningful email subjects, and particularly avoid
using a subject of 'help' to info-gnuplot since majordomo bounces
these to the list owner as suspected admin requests.
Additional help can be obtained from the USENET newsgroup
This newsgroup is the first place to ask for routine help. It is
gatewayed (and thus identical!) to a mailing list
We prefer that you read the messages through that newsgroup, to subscribing
to the mailing list. (If you can read that newsgroup, and are already on the
mailing list, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, asking to be
removed from the mailing list.)
Administrative requests should be sent to
If you cannot obtain a USENET feed and wish to join the above mailing
list (or get yourself off), mail 'subscribe info-gnuplot' to
Please do not ask to sign up if you can read comp.graphics.apps.gnuplot.
The address for mailing to list members is
There is a list specifically for documented bug reports and the
submissions of fixes and modifications,
To join this list send 'subscribe bug-gnuplot' to email@example.com.
Note you do not need to join this list to report bugs. You'd only want
to join if you wish to actively become involved in gnuplot development.
"bug-gnuplot" is NOT an appropriate place to ask questions on how to
solve a gnuplot problem or even to report a bug that you haven't
investigated personally. It is far more likely you'll get the help
you need for this kind of problem from comp.graphics.apps.gnuplot.
"bug-gnuplot" is appropriate for turning in a formal bug report
that does not require timely action. In other words, if you spend
time and investigate a bug, and especially if you fix a bug, then
send it to bug-report and your fix will be considered for the next
release of gnuplot. Fixes should be in ``diff -c'' format done
against the most current official version of gnuplot or the latest
alpha or beta release of the next version. All major modifications
should include documentation and a demo file. Finally, it is
much easier to integrate smaller stepwise modifications rather
than one gigantic diff file which represented months of changes.
All messages to bug-gnuplot (and info-gnuplot, for that matter)
should include the machine you are using, the
operating system and it's version, plotting devices, and the version
of gnuplot that you are running.
The list of those interested in beta-test versions is
There is a daily digest of info-gnuplot available: ask majordomo
to subscribe to info-gnuplot-digest.
Where to get Updates to GNUPLOT
Congratulations on getting this version of GNUPLOT! Unfortunately, it
may not be the most recent version ("you never know where this version
has been!"). You can be sure that it IS the most recent version by
checking one of the official distribution sites, guaranteed to be kept
up to date (of course, if you got this file from one of those sites,
you don't need to check!).
To hear automatically about future releases (and other GNUPLOT news),
read the newsgroup; see above.
At the time of this writing, the following are the official
distribution sites and transfer instructions. Note that
prep.ai.mit.edu is NOT an official site, and may not be up to date.
Also, comp.sources.misc is usually a month or so behind us.
Date: Fri Aug 27 05:21:33 GMT 1993
In general, GNUPLOT 3.7.1 is available as the file gnuplot-3.7.1.tar.gz.
Because of the numerous changes since version 3.5, no patch files
will be available to bring 3.5 to 3.7. But there is a patch relative
to version 3.7.
(Version 3.6 was skipped because of possible confusion
with the numerous BETA releases.) It will be made available at web
and ftp sites listed below, along with DOS, MS-Windows 3.1,
Windows 95/98/NT and OS/2 2.0 executables. Amiga binaries will be
made available on Aminet.
Also, some sites will have gpdoc_ps.zip which contains
PostScript versions of the manuals and tutorials.
Please obtain gnuplot from the site
Anonymous ftp to ftp.gnuplot.vt.edu:
Alternatively, you can use your web browser to get gnuplot
from the gnuplot web pages at
Anonymous ftp to ftp.dartmouth.edu. Please try the
other sites first!
[ At time of release, we are not sure whether this service
is still available. -lh
Users without ftp capability can obtain it through a mail ftp
server. Email a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
whose BODY contains the following:
If you have some problem, you might need to stick
before all the above.
You will receive gnuplot as uuencoded compressed tar file.
From the AARNet Mirror Project:
Anonymous ftp to ftp.cc.monash.edu.au:
Anonymous ftp to ftp.irisa.fr:
Anonymous ftp to ftp.ucc.ie: