I am searching for an easy to use software for OS X that is capable of the following:

  1. data analysis (load/process/manipulate data) via scripting
  2. plotting the data
  3. configuring the plot directly (not via script) to produce publication ready figures (line properties, ticks and all that stuff)
  4. basic vector drawing capabilities like squares/ovals/arrows etc. with fillings, borders etc.
  5. Latex integration for all text appearing

Is there a program that is capable of this?

Background: When it comes to a publication within the scientific community, in several research fields, plots of data are substantial. If one additionally wants to plot e.g. a sketch of a sample, several programs are needed to do so (e.g. Matlab to create a crappy plot, CorelDraw to make it nice and/or add other stuff like a sketch of your experimental setup). On the other hand, programming languages that can do all I am asking are often quite difficult to use or at least need some time to get familiar with.

  • You may consider using two separate tools. One for step 1 (automated data processing) or 1+2 (exploratory data analysis). And the other for publication-quality plots -- there are several programs dedicated to scientific plotting.
    – marcin
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 14:08
  • 1
    For anyone building this, d3 is a powerful graphing engine for JavaScript.
    – 0xcaff
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 14:17
  • You might want to check out R. However, it does not fill all your requirements.
    – Olli
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 18:43
  • @caffinatedmonkey How are you going to get a publication quality EPS format (standard and only acceptable vector format for most journals!) figure from d3? It looks like it's excellent for web-based interactive visualizations, but it's likely completely unsuitable for producing figures for print.
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 16:39
  • @Szablocs You can configure it to do anything you want.
    – 0xcaff
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Try R with R Studio it has all the features you are looking for. R is a language developed over statistical functions in FORTRAN that is used well basically for doing statistical operations. R Studio is a GUI & IDE type of interface built over R that could make your workflow easier

R - http://www.r-project.org/
R Studio - https://www.rstudio.com/

  • 1
    Use ggplot2, it is the best plotting package available in R (and I think it is also the best at all languages)
    – oao
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 12:59
  • Mathematica is capable of creating high quality, publication ready figures (i.e. not post-processing needed). I recommend the SciDraw package for multipanel figures.

    Mathematica does require quite a bit of time to get proficient in---don't expect to be able to make all the figures for a paper in a week if you're never used Mathematica before, especially if you need non-standard visualizations. However, once you get proficient, you can create practically any sort of figure or visualization you can imagine. This won't be possible with a GUI plotting package that only supports some pre-defined plot types.

    Unlike most other systems, it uses symbolic representation of graphics (i.e. a declarative language that describes what's in the figure, not a procedural language which describes how to draw the figure). This might help you decide whether you'll like its style.

    I'd call Mathematica easy-to-use, but not easy-to-learn (like many professional tools).

  • Grace is a mature GUI plotting tool that is flexible and often used to create publication figures. It is free software (GPL). It is easy to install on OS X using MacPorts (grace package). You do need an X server to use it.

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