NonGNU ELPA - gnuplot


Major-mode and interactive frontend for gnuplot
gnuplot-0.8.1.tar, 2023-Feb-18, 310 KiB
Maxime Tréca <>, Daniel Mendler <>
Browse ELPA's repository
CGit or Gitweb

To install this package, run in Emacs:

M-x package-install RET gnuplot RET

Full description


This package allows running gnuplot files from within the GNU Emacs editor. It features:

  • Syntax highlighting and indentation for gnuplot scripts.
  • Pull-down menus for common gnuplot-related tasks.
  • Interactive gnuplot sessions using comint.
  • Context-sensitive completion.
  • Inline display of gnuplot plots.

It is recommended to run gnuplot-mode on GNU Emacs 25 or above, using gnuplot version 5.0 or above.

1 Installation

1.1 Using MELPA

The easiest way to install gnuplot-mode is to directly get it from MELPA. After configuring Emacs to use MELPA, you should be able to install gnuplot-mode by typing

M-x install-package RET gnuplot RET

or do M-x list-packages and search for gnuplot in the list.

1.2 Using el-get

The el-get package includes a gnuplot-mode recipe. So to install simply call

M-x el-get-install RET gnuplot-mode

Alternatively, you can directly place the following in your init file so that el-get can install and load gnuplot-mode at Emacs start up:

(el-get 'sync 'gnuplot-mode)

1.3 From source

After fetching the package's source from the homepage, byte-compile the package's files using the make command and move the compiled .elc files to your chosen target directory.

2 Configuration

2.1 Load Path

First of all, make sure that gnuplot.el is in your load-path (this is automatic if using a package helper like use-package). To do so manually, add the following snippet in your emacs configuration file

(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/gnuplot")

2.2 Info File

The function gnuplot-info-lookup-symbol looks at the Gnuplot info file. For that function to work, a file must be placed somewhere where info can find it. The following snippet allows you to put the any place convenient:

(add-to-list 'Info-default-directory-list "/path/to/info/file")

2.3 Enable Mode

You can automatically enable gnuplot-mode using the snippet below:

(autoload 'gnuplot-mode "gnuplot" "Gnuplot major mode" t)
(autoload 'gnuplot-make-buffer "gnuplot" "open a buffer in gnuplot-mode" t)
(setq auto-mode-alist (append '(("\\.gp$" . gnuplot-mode)) auto-mode-alist))

3 Usage

Apart from enabling gnuplot-mode automatically (see above), these two functions are useful for starting up gnuplot-mode:

  • M-x gnuplot-mode : start gnuplot-mode in the current buffer
  • M-x gnuplot-make-buffer : open a new buffer (which is not visiting a file) and start gnuplot-mode in that buffer

3.1 Bindings

When gnuplot-mode is on, the following keybindings are available:

C-c C-l send current line to gnuplot
C-c C-v send current line to gnuplot and move forward 1 line
C-c C-r send current region to gnuplot
C-c C-b send entire buffer to gnuplot
C-c C-f send a file to gnuplot
C-c C-i insert filename at point
C-c C-n negate set option on current line
C-c C-c comment region
C-c C-o set arguments for command at point
S-mouse-2 set arguments for command under mouse cursor
C-c C-d read the gnuplot info file
C-c C-e show-gnuplot-buffer
C-c C-k kill gnuplot process
C-c C-z customize gnuplot-mode
M-tab or M-ret complete keyword before point
ret newline and indent
tab indent current line

With the exception of the commands for sending commands to Gnuplot, most of the above commands also work in the Gnuplot comint buffer, in addition to the following:

M-C-p plot the most recent script buffer line-by-line
M-C-f save the current script buffer and load that file
C-c C-e pop back to most recent script buffer

3.2 Context-sensitive keyword completion

By default gnuplot-mode will try to parse your commands as you type and suggest only relevant completion candidates on typing M-TAB or TAB. For example, with point after the with of a plot command, tab completion will suggest only plotting styles. This also enables more specific help topic lookup in the gnuplot info file, provided you have the right version of installed (see the Installation section for isntructions).

If the context-sensitivity annoys you, you can get simple non-context-sensitive completion back by toggling gnuplot-context-sensitive-mode. See also the variable gnuplot-tab-completion.

By its nature, the completion code has to know a fair bit about the structure of the gnuplot language. If you use it with an old version of gnuplot (pre version 4) it will make mistakes. Most of gnuplot 4.6's command language is parsed correctly except for the set terminal commands.

3.3 Eldoc mode

If you install the file gnuplot-eldoc.el from a recent Gnuplot distribution, gnuplot-mode can show syntax hints in the modeline when eldoc-mode is turned on and context sensitivity is enabled.

3.4 Inline Images

You can optionally have plots displayed inline in the Gnuplot comint process buffer. This is handy for trying things out without having to switch between Emacs and the Gnuplot display. Call gnuplot-inline-display-mode in a gnuplot-mode buffer to try it out. This feature is implemented using temporary png files, and is also somewhat experimental. It requires Gnuplot to have png support and a GNU Emacs with image support. Please report bugs.

4 FAQ / Remarks

4.1 Usage on Windows

Multiple users have reported issues when trying to work with gnuplot.el on Windows. Most notably, the gnuplot process hangs after sending a first line of input (this is a common Emacs issue on Windows, see here).

A partial workaround was to use pgnuplot.exe as the gnuplot-program. However, pgnuplot.exe is not included with gnuplot since version 5.0.

You currently have two solutions:

  1. Experiment using the gnuplot-program and gnuplot-program-args variables. For instance, setting

    (setq gnuplot-program "/path/to/cmdproxy.exe")
    (setq gnuplot-program-args "/C /path/to/gnuplot.exe")

    has been reported to work (see here for a reference).

  2. Use the simpler gnuplot-mode package that sends the entire buffer to gnuplot. Since no comint is involved, it should function correctly, but you lose most features of the gnuplot.el package. We would like to implement a send-buffer without comint as well eventually.

More information on gnuplot.el and Windows can be found on these threads: 1, 2

4.2 Pause Command

Gnuplot's pause -1 command, which waits for the user to press a key, is problematic when running under Emacs. Sending pause -1 to the running gnuplot process will make Emacs appear to freeze. (It isn't really crashed: typing C-g will unlock it and let you continue). The workaround for now is to make Gnuplot output a string before pausing, by doing pause -1 "Hit return" or similar.

4.3 Issue with Unicode Character Display

Some users have reported issues when trying to display unicode characters. This issue is likely due to your distribution bundling gnuplot with editline instead of readline. Recompiling the source with support for unicode should fix the issue until this issue is fixed upstream. Thanks to rolandog for discovering this fix.

Old versions

gnuplot-0.8.0.tar.lz2021-Aug-29 316 KiB


1 Version 8.1 (Feb 18th 2023)

List of changes for gnuplot.el version 0.8.0 ranging from January 2021 to February 2023.

  • Fixed the completion-at-point function
  • Improve lazy loading of the gnuplot-gui library
  • Remove legacy code
  • Lexical scoping and linting

2 Version 8.0 (Jan 3rd 2021)

List of changes for gnuplot.el version 0.8.0 ranging from March 2014 to January 2021.

  • Changed project license to GPLv3.
  • Greatly simplify the compilation process.
  • Fix deprecated calls to the cl library.
  • Deprecated XEmacs support. Bump minimal GNU Emacs version to 24.3.
  • Add a gnuplot-program-args variable for passing additional arguments to the gnuplot program binary.
  • The gnuplot-inline-image-mode can now take three values: nil,

inline, dedicated.

  • Add the gnuplot-use-context-sensitive-completion configuration option.
  • Removed the gnuplot-bug-report function.
  • The provided manual file has been updated for gnuplot version 5.2.6.
  • Add the gnuplot-program-args customization option to pass additional arguments to the gnuplot process.
  • Use syntax-proprietize-rules in gnuplot buffers.
  • gnuplot-context-sensitive-mode is now a normal minor mode.
  • Enable completion-at-point in gnuplot comint buffers.
  • Remove the unused dotemacs.el file.
  • comint-process-echoes is now buffer-local.

3 Version 7.0 (Oct 20th 2012)

  • Contextual completion & help, inline plots, some other stuff.

4 Version 6.0 (Dec 13th 2011)

  • Changed numbering scheme to accommodate gnuplot packaging requirements.
  • Moved to github, updated contact info.

5 Version 5.0 (Sep 16th 2002)

  • Wrote initial draft of gnuplot-gui.el, included it in insertions menu and in gnuplot-insert. Negate option function, bound to C-c C-n.
  • C-c C-h with no response goes to Commands menu. Transparent toolbar icons. Replace kw-compl with a simple completion function. Put gnuplot-toolbar code in gnuplot.el.
  • Send file uses the load command. add gnuplot-plot-from-comint and gnuplot-save-and-plot-from-comint and keybindings in the comint buffer. do (process-kill-without-query gnuplot-process nil). gnuplot-negate-option checks if set option has a negated form.
  • gnuplot-kill-gnuplot-buffer made more robust. fixed a bug in gnuplot-plot-from-comint. fixed description of gnuplot-faces group.
  • Update copyright information, update gpelcard
  • Change installation materials. Add some support for hidden3d. Use constants in types alists in gui. Various other minor improvements to the types alists.
  • Removed gnuplot-which-highlight variable and revamped how colorization gets turned on. This is a bit tricky since I want it to work with font-lock under emacs and xemacs and with hilit19.
  • Insert space at end of unique completion. add a few GUI types, rewrite some stuff in the GUI interface. primitive support for plot, splot, and fit. Fixed completion in file widget.
  • Add pgnuplot.c and Win9x install instructions to the distribution. Fixed a defface bug. Added gnuplot-keywords-when allowing deferral of parsing the info file.
  • Fixed font-locking of strings and comments. Figure out gnuplot-version number from startup message and set gnuplot-echo-command-line-flag accordingly. Added gnuplot-program-version variable. Check that font-lock is actually a feature.
  • Added gnuplot-determine-gnuplot-version so that the gnuplot version number and comint-process-echos actually get set correctly. Actually, the first time something is plotted, the echoing might not work, but the second time it will.
  • Once again changed how comint-process-echos gets set. Maybe I got it right this time? Also fixed certain situations where the info file did notget properly loaded (insertion with info toggle on and info button in GUI).
  • Do a more robust check for the gnuplot process before killing the gnuplot buffer.

… …