As an example, I want to produce the figure below. I drew this figure painfully in Powerpoint and want to find a better/more efficient way of doing this. Unfortunately, Powerpoint is the best solution I've found so far. (By the way this here is merely a rasterized screenshot of the vector image in PDF.)

This is for high-school 3D geometry and all I need to draw are simple and clear points, lines, planes, vectors.

enter image description here

Essential requirements:

  1. Vector format - PDF preferred, but any format that can be converted to PDF with full vector format preserved is good as well (SVG, AI, etc.)
  2. Easy to use. For example, Geogebra is easy to use -- I can just quickly enter "Plane: x=1", "Point: (1,0,0)", "Point: (1,1,1)", and "Point: (1,3,1)" and they'll be plotted.
  3. Colors and size/thickness of points, lines, and planes are customizable, like in Powerpoint/Illustrator.

Nice to have:

  1. The labels are customizable (but if not, no big deal because I can always edit them into the PDF).
  2. Free.
  3. Lightweight.

Some of the programs I've tried so far are GNU Octave, Mathmod, Geogebra, Mathematica, Matlab, Microsoft Math, but none have been any better/quicker than simply drawing figures "by hand" in Powerpoint (or Illustrator or Inkscape).

(Though it is very possible that I've just been stupid and couldn't figure out how to use those. If someone could show me how I could, for example, produce the above figure easily in any of the aforementioned programs, I'd be very grateful too.)

If it matters, I use Windows 10.


I would suggest taking a look at the python matplotlib library & specifically at mplot3d for which there is a tutorial with samples here.

To address your requirements:

  • The output must also be in vector format: Possible output formats include png, eps, jpg, pdf, pgf, svg, svgz - so vectors are covered.
  • Colours, lines & points easily adjusted: not so easy but can be done.
  • Free: Python & matplotlib are Free, Gratis & Open Source.
  • Lightweight: The latest python windows installer is 26 MB
  • Windows 10: Yes & OS-X & Linux

The down side is that this is an actual plotting library rather than a drawing one.

  • 1
    For the record, EPS is a vector format too. – Austin Hemmelgarn Jul 20 '18 at 16:42
  • @AustinHemmelgarn - yes it is but the range of software that can read it is limited enough that I did not consider it worth boldening - done now. – Steve Barnes Jul 21 '18 at 6:16

I would ask in a different in the Math forum.

Here you have a similar question with lots of suggestions:


  • This seems like it should be a comment instead of an answer. – Eric S Aug 13 '20 at 20:35

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