Table of Contents Gnuplot
A pipe-based interface to the gnuplot plotting program.

The home page is

There you can get the latest version, view the documentation, or report bugs. There is also a mailing list for users. You can subscribe to the mailing list or view the archive of old articles at

Documentation -------------

The quickest way to learn how to use is to install it and run the simple demonstration by typing `python', then look at the file to see the commands that created the demo. One of the examples is probably similar to what you want to do.

Don't forget to read the Gnuplot.html, README.txt, and FAQ.txt files in the distribution.

HTML documentation for the Python classes is included in the doc/ directory of the distribution and is also available online (follow links from the home page). This documentation is extracted automatically from the package's docstrings using happydoc and should be helpful though it is known to have some formatting problems. Alternatively, you can look at the docstrings yourself by opening the python files in an editor.

Finally, there is a new mailing list for users. For more information about subscribing to the list or viewing the archive of old articles, please go to

To get good use out of, you will want to know something about gnuplot, for which a good source is the gnuplot help (run gnuplot then type `help', or read it online at


For a relatively thorough test of, type `python' which goes systematically through most features.

Installation ------------

Quick instructions:

  1. Download gnuplot-py-1.7.tar.gz or

  2. Extract the archive to a temporary directory.

  3. Install by changing to the directory and typing "python install".

More information:

Obviously, you must have the gnuplot program if is to be of any use to you. Gnuplot can be obtained via <>. You also need Python's Numerical extension, which is available from <>. uses Python distutils <> and can be installed by untarring the package, changing into the top-level directory, and typing "python install". The package is pure Python--no compilation is necessary. is structured as a python package. That means that it installs itself as a subdirectory called `Gnuplot' under a directory of your python path (usually site-packages). If you don't want to use distutils you can just move the main directory there and rename it to "Gnuplot".

There are some configuration options that can be set near the top of the platform-dependent files (Unix), (Macintosh), (Mac OS X), (Windows), and (Jython/Java). (Obviously, you should change the file corresponding to your platform.) See the extensive comments in for a description of the meaning of each configuration variable. Sensible values are already chosen, so it is quite possible that you don't have to change anything.

Import the main part of the package into your python programs using `import Gnuplot'. Some other features can be found in the modules Gnuplot.funcutils and Gnuplot.PlotItems.

Installation via RPM (for Linux/Unix) -------------------------------------

I decided that it doesn't make sense to package up RPM versions of, since the place where the files need to be installed depends on what version of Python you are using. But if you want the benefits of RPM management, it's easy for you to create your own RPM from the source distribution then install the RPM:

  1. Change into the source directory.

  2. Create the RPM:

    $ python ./ bdist --format=rpm

  3. Install it (as root):

    # rpm -ivh dist/gnuplot-py-1.7-1.noarch.rpm

Installation on Windows -----------------------

I don't run Windows, but thanks to the help of users there is now a way to use on that platform. Any feedback or additional suggestions having to do with Windows would be especially appreciated.

If you are using a version of Python prior to 2.0, you must install the quasi-standard Win32 extensions. This can be obtained from the main Windows download page:

Because the main MS-Windows gnuplot executable (wgnuplot.exe) doesn't accept commands on standard input, cannot communicate with it directly. However, there is a simple little program called `pgnuplot.exe' that accepts commands on stdin and passes them to wgnuplot. So to run on Windows, you need to make sure that pgnuplot.exe is installed. It comes with gnuplot since at least version 3.7.1. Alternatively you can get pgnuplot.exe alone by downloading `testing/' from one of the gnuplot archives (e.g., <>).

Continue installing by following the instructions in the previous section.

Installation on the Macintosh -----------------------------

Thanks to more user help, should work on the Macintosh too. (Here I am referring to Mac OS versions prior to OS X; OS X is unix so no special considerations apply there.)

Since pipes don't exist on the Mac, communication with gnuplot is via a python module called (included) which uses AppleEvents. Note that you will have to convert the python files to Mac text files (different end-of-line character). Currently it is not possible to print directly to a printer; however, it should be possible to print to a postscript file and print that file manually. Also, inline data does not seem to be supported. Let me know if you find other problems or have patches to fix Mac limitations.

Assistance ----------

If you are having trouble installing or using, please check the following sources for help:

  1. Read the documentation! For simple questions, start with the Gnuplot.html, README.txt, and FAQ.txt files in the distribution. For more detailed information, check the online class documentation at

  2. Check the mailing list archives. Chances are that somebody has already asked a similar questions and you are one quick search away from the answer. Information about the mailing list is available at

  3. Ask your question on the mailing list. I am trying to move most email traffic about to the mailing list, partly because there are many questions (for example about Windows or Macintosh platforms) that I am completely unable to answer. The mailing list also provides an archive of old articles which should build up into a valuable resource, and a place to exchange ideas about future changes.

Feedback --------

I would love to have feedback from people letting me know whether they find useful. And certainly let me know about any problems, suggestions, or enhancements. For most purposes, please send your emails to the users mailing list:

Information about the mailing list can be obtained at

Compatibility ------------- has been tested with version 3.7 of gnuplot, and I believe it should work with version 3.5 (though some features, like enhanced postscript mode and binary splot mode, will not work). Let me know if you have trouble. was developed under Linux and Digital Unix; it should work without much problem on other versions of Unix. If you need to modify it for your system tell me what was necessary and I'll include your changes in a future release. should also work under Windows and Macintosh (see above). Feedback for these platforms is especially appreciated since I can't test them myself.

License -------

See the file LICENSE.txt for license info. In brief, Gnuplot is LGPL.

Credits -------

See CREDITS.txt for a list of people who have contributed code and/or ideas to Thanks especially to Konrad Hinsen <>, who wrote the first, procedural interface version of

-- Michael Haggerty <> (But please use the mailing list for issues.)

Table of Contents

This document was automatically generated on Sun Oct 19 17:10:22 2003 by HappyDoc version 2.1