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tl;dr: Any suggestion on an Open-Source Software alternative to Grapher / Surfer / Origin / SigmaPlot?

Details: As a scientist I explore and plot data all the time, so I need a quick and easy way to produce graphics. For many times I have been using Grapher, Surfer, SigmaPlot and Origin... all good ones (Grapher is the best by far IMO). But I want to move on to Open Software.

Can you recommend good programs (software) within the open software realm which fits the "plotting" objective? I mean, I don't need it to do statistical analyses or modeling, I just want to plot data. Ideally it should be usable through a GUI with point-and-click (ie graphically-oriented like those mentioned above, not command-line). The result should be an image file (preferably in a vector format).

Also I would like a program which is "popular", ie if I don't understand something I can check forums, etc. rather than find out by myself because I'm one of the 15 users of the program..

Any suggestions? what are the most used and why? have you tried one? I'm looking for opinions/suggestions from users of the Academia/Research world like professors, scientists, students, technicians, etc. who work plotting data from different disciplines.

  • I was about to suggest gnuplot, but it is command-line. – Nicolas Raoul Oct 26 '16 at 16:05
  • Presumably but point & click you mean a GUI that lets you select data then pick options, etc., I assume that you don't wish to use the mouse to enter the data onto the chart. – Steve Barnes Oct 26 '16 at 17:50
  • By "point-and-click" I mean you click on the plot and then edit the options. For example, by clicking on the X axis you can change the scale (linear, logarithmic, etc.), font of the labels, tick marks spacing, thickness of the line, etc. – terauser Oct 26 '16 at 21:43
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If you need an application to create simple 2D graphs I can recommend jag (https://github.com/seleznevae/jag). I developed it some time ago. Jag was initially designed for engineers who spend a bunch of time analyzing results of mathematical modeling so that they can get most out of their data. So the main goal was to simplify and speed up graph creation and layout manipulations. At the moment builds for linux are available (https://github.com/seleznevae/jag/releases). If you need Windows application, you can try to build it locally from sources (you will need only qt4 and boost libraries to do that).

Also I can recommend rather mature application - Kst(https://kst-plot.kde.org/) from KDE project.

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  • When you're recommending your own software, you should make that more obvious in your answer. – John Y Oct 9 '17 at 22:17
  • You are right. I corrected the answer. – Seleznev Anton Oct 10 '17 at 5:51
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I can answer my own question now. There are many alternatives, all of them seem very good so I am more than happy that there are not one but many active replacements for Grapher/Surfer for the Linux world. I will mention some of them, which apparently were not really visible to me all this time. Maybe I was looking using wrong search terms, I don't know how I could miss them. I am listing here the ones which look more interesting for my needs. These are free to download and use, although I am not sure if all of them are actually FOSS. They are (in no particular order):

I encourage you to try them and choose the one which fits you better (and why not, comment here!)

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  • Several of those are mentioned in other answers here, and there's nothing wrong with including them in your answer, but one of them (QtiPlot) happens to be commercial software (as pointed out in @jmh's answer), so it doesn't meet your criteria. It's also possible some of the other options you mentioned are not open source, despite being free of charge. – John Y Dec 15 '17 at 14:42
  • Yes you are right, thanks. I edited my answer to a) delete QtiPlot from the list and b) denote that not all the listed programs are necessarily FOSS. – terauser Dec 15 '17 at 16:10
  • I would add that SciDavis seems to evolved into AlphaPlot (alphaplot.sourceforge.net). (it seems only few details are changed so far) – hardyVeles Oct 20 '18 at 15:25
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I spent a lot of time looking for a free simple plotting code. I use a Mac computer and that made my search fore difficult. The best package I found (for Mac, PC, Linux) is SciDAVis. From their website, they claim "SciDAVis is a free application for Scientific Data Analysis and Visualization". It is available from SourceForge. I don't know if this is open source but at least it is free. Seems fairly popular as they report around 6,000 downloads per week.

Another free option is SciEnPlot. It is described as "Data Plotting and Analysis for Science and Engineering". This doesn't appear to be as popular as SciDaVis but is just as easy to use. It opens with a spreadsheet and the user can drag and drop or just paste the data into the columns. It is based on Python and matplotlib but almost entirely point and click.

A commercial package that claims to be a replacement for Origin is QtiPlot. It sales for 20 Euros per year for a private license.

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I know you searched for a program with a GUI, but I can recommend you Octave which is open source alternative for Matlab. It uses the same commands as Matlab. The big advantage is the automation. Once you set up everything, you can import, analyze and plot your with the push of a button. Also Matlab (and therefore Octave) is probably the best documented program out there.

I also can recommend pgfplots if you want endless possibilities. It is a package for Latex so you can nicely integrate everything in your documents.

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In my experience most data scientists use R and/or Python for analysis and plotting.

I know this isnt point and click but you don't need to know everything about python get started, and because it is so polular, there are so many examples you can just copy and paste.

My personal choice is Python. There are hundreds of scientific and plotting modules available.

Check out python seaborn here

Using python within Jupyter is great or repeatable scientific study including plots. You can also use other tools such as R within a jupyter notebook.

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Depending on the nature of your data, may I suggest Gephi http://gephi.org ?

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You can also use AlphaPlot, a fork of SciDAVis which uses QCustomplot insted of QWT for 2D plotting and QDatavis3Dmodule for 3D plotting. It provides better customization of graphs.

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  • Can you add a link to your recommendation and its main features? – Alejandro Jun 11 at 12:17

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