We’ve featured a free plotting software – SciDAVis recently, SciDAVis is straightforward and easy to use, it has no learning curve. GNUPlot is another free and open source scientific plotting software developed for scientists and pupils, it’s a command line based program, and will take you some time to learn, but it allows to draw more complicated graphs such as Bezier splines, vector fields, non-gridded data, etc.
Suppose that you wish to draw a two-dimensional or three-dimensional graph to present a specific formula or market analysis data, there are many choices available:
- Use a 3D modeling software such as 3DS Max, Maya, LightWave 3D, Softimage to model objects.
- Use an image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Corel PaintShop Photo Pro, Ulead PhotoImpact to paint images.
- Use a vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW to draw graphics.
- Alternatively, if you are a software developer, you can use a computer language such as C/C++, Java, Objective C, pascal, python, C# together with a graphics library like OpenGL or DirectX to render your own 3D scene freely.
- Use an engineering analysis software like MATLAB to plot the graph.
The first 4 options will consume much time and effort, the last option is effective but not free, GNUPlot is a free alternative to MATLAB in the field of 2D/3D Plotting.
- Allows to render 2D/3D data points/functions in many styles: lines, points, dots, impulses, error bars, boxes, candlesticks, finance bars, etc.
- It could plot a large number of different types of diagrams for you: simple functions, B-splines, Bezier splines, histograms, filled curves, candlesticks, parametric functions, vector fields, approximation, 3D surfaces, 3D singularities, 3D mapping, non-gridded data, 2D and 3D heat maps, images, texts, etc.
- Allows to zoom in/out, rotate, scale the plot.
- 3 rendering methods available: no antialiasing, antialiasing, antialiasing and oversampling.
- Allows to copy the graph to clipboard or render to external file directly.
- Supports complex number.
- Allows to perform algebraic computation and print out the result.
- Supports user-defined functions.
- Allows to animate graph.
- Allows to plot self-defined graphs.
- And many more…
GNUPlot supports all 32 bit Windows including Windows 7/Windows XP, and Mac OS X, Linux.