Plotting tables in Org-Mode using org-plot

Table of Contents

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Introduction

This tutorial provides instructions for installing and using org-plot as well as a complete overview of the org-plot options and demonstrations of some of the many types of graphs which can be generated automatically from tables in your org-mode files using org-plot.

While graphs will be included in the html version of this tutorial, if you would like to play along at home you can download the original org file here org-plot.org.

Getting Set up

Requirements

Org-plot uses Gnuplot as well as the Emacs Gnuplot-mode to power its graphing. To download and install these two requirements see the following

Gnuplot
http://www.gnuplot.info/
Gnuplot-Mode
http://cars9.uchicago.edu/~ravel/software/gnuplot-mode.html

Installation

First we need to make sure that org-plot is on your system and available to emacs. If you have a recent version of org-mode (version 6.07 or later) then org-plot is already included. Otherwise you can grab the latest org-plot.el from github/eschulte/org-plot. Once you have org-plot loaded it may be useful to bind the main plotting command org-plot/gnuplot to a key chord, I use C-M-g for the mnemonic "graph" which can be done by executing the following elisp snippet. This command will be the only org-plot command needed for the remainder of this tutorial.

(local-set-key "\M-\C-g" 'org-plot/gnuplot)

Alright, we're now ready to start generating some graphs.

Examples

2d plots (lines and histograms)

First, to plot the following table use the key sequence defined above C-M-g. This will call org-plot/gnuplot which finds and plots the nearest table. The options specified in any #+PLOT lines above the table are read and applied to the plot. Notice that the second #+PLOT: line specifies labels for each column, if this line is removed the labels will default to the column headers in the table, try removing this line and re-plotting.

example-1.png

For a complete list of all of the options and their meanings see the 4.1 section at the end of this file. For more information on gnuplot options see the gnuplot documentation, nearly all gnuplot options should be accessible through org-plot.

independent var first dependent var second dependent var
0.1 0.425 0.375
0.2 0.3125 0.3375
0.3 0.24999993 0.28333338
0.4 0.275 0.28125
0.5 0.26 0.27
0.6 0.25833338 0.24999993
0.7 0.24642845 0.23928553
0.8 0.23125 0.2375
0.9 0.23333323 0.2333332
1 0.2225 0.22
1.1 0.20909075 0.22272708
1.2 0.19999998 0.21458333
1.3 0.19615368 0.21730748
1.4 0.18571433 0.21071435
1.5 0.19000008 0.2150001
1.6 0.1828125 0.2046875
1.7 0.18088253 0.1985296
1.8 0.17916675 0.18888898
1.9 0.19342103 0.21315783
2 0.19 0.21625
2.1 0.18214268 0.20714265
2.2 0.17727275 0.2022727
2.3 0.1739131 0.1989131
2.4 0.16770833 0.1916667
2.5 0.164 0.188
2.6 0.15769238 0.18076923
2.7 0.1592591 0.1888887
2.8 0.1598214 0.18928565
2.9 0.15603453 0.1844828

Org-plot can also produce histograms from 2d data, plot the following table. Notice that the column specified as ind contains textual non-numeric data, when this is the case org-plot will use the data as labels for the x-axis using the gnuplot xticlabels() function.

example-2.png

Sede Max cites H-index
Chile 257.72 21.39
Leeds 165.77 19.68
São Paolo 71.00 11.50
Stockholm 134.19 14.33
Morelia 257.56 17.67

For another example of plotting histograms instead of lines, change the following options on the first table on this page, and replot

  1. remove the ind:1 option
  2. replace the with:lines option with with:histograms

example-3.png

3d grid plots

There are also some functions for plotting 3d or grid data. To see an example of a grid plot call org-plot/gnuplot C-M-g which will plot the following table as a grid.

example-4.png

To see the effect of map try setting it to t, and then re-plotting.

example-5.png

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Plotting grids also respects the independent variable (ind:) option, and uses the values of the independent row to label the resulting graph. The following example borrows a short description of org-mode from Bernt Hansen on the mailing list (a more practical usage would label every single row with something informative).

example-6.png

text 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
plain 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
  0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
in 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
  0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
everything 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
  0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
track 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
  0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
and 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Organize 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

3d plots

Finally the last type of graphing currently supported is 3d graphs of data in a table. This will probably require some more knowledge of gnuplot to make full use of the many options available.

example-7.png

For some simple demonstrations try the following graph using some different with: options with:points, with:lines, and with:pm3d.

example-8.png

0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 2 2 2 2 2 0
0 2 3 3 3 2 0
0 2 3 4 3 2 0
0 2 3 3 3 2 0
0 2 2 2 2 2 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Setting Axis Titles

The question of the proper syntax for setting axis labels via org-plot has occurred on the mailing list.1 The answer is to use this:

#+PLOT: set:"xlabel 'Name'" set:"ylabel 'Name'"

Reference

Plotting Options

#

Gnuplot options (see the gnuplot documentation) accessible through `org-plot', common gnuplot options are specifically supported, while all other options are accessible through specification of generic set commands, script lines, or specification of custom script files. Possible options are…

set
specify any gnuplot option to be set when graphing
title
specify the title of the plot
ind
specify which column of the table to use as the x axis
deps
specify the columns to graph as a lisp style list, surrounded by parenthesis and separated by spaces for example dep:(3 4) to graph the third and fourth columns (defaults to graphing all other columns aside from the ind column).
type
specify whether the plot will be '2d' '3d or 'grid'
with
specify a with option to be inserted for every col being plotted (e.g. lines, points, boxes, impulses, etc…) defaults to 'lines'
file
if you want to plot to a file specify the path to the desired output file
labels
list of labels to be used for the deps (defaults to column headers if they exist)
line
specify an entire line to be inserted in the gnuplot script
map
when plotting 3d or grid types, set this to true to graph a flat mapping rather than a 3d slope
script
if you want total control you can specify a script file (place the file name inside quotes) which will be used to plot, before plotting every instance of $datafile in the specified script will be replaced with the path to the generated data file. Note even if you set this option you may still want to specify the plot type, as that can impact the content of the data file.
timefmt
if there is time and/or date data to be plotted, set the format. For example, timefmt:%Y-%m-%d if the data look like 2008-03-25.

Footnotes:

Documentation from the http://orgmode.org/worg/ website (either in its HTML format or in its Org format) is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 or later. The code examples and css stylesheets are licensed under the GNU General Public License v3 or later.