REVIEW - Gnuplot in Action - Understanding Data with Graphs


Gnuplot in Action - Understanding Data with Graphs


Philipp K. Janert




Manning Publications Company (2010)




Fred Youhanaie


April 2014



Reviewed: November 2012

I have been using Gnuplot on and off since the early nineties. Due to its simple interface and the on-line help facility I was able to get by with all simple plotting tasks, so I never bothered with reading the manual, and as a result I never learned of its more advanced facilities. For complex tasks I would instead opt for alternative tools such as Cern’s ROOT software. This book, however, has changed all that, tipping the balance in favour of Gnuplot.

The four parts of the book, each with 3–5 chapters, take the reader from a very gentle introduction, to advanced Gnuplot topics, to graphical analysis techniques. All the chapters are well written, with plenty of good examples. The largest of the four parts, Advanced Gnuplot, has dedicated chapters for topics such as 3D plotting and colour, as well as methods for generating plots, and slide-shows, using scripts.

The book is as much about Gnuplot commands and options as it is about its application to graphical data analysis, although for the latter the author also refers you to specialist books. With data driven computing (Big Data) getting more and more attention everyday, this book has its place on the data analyst’s bookshelf.

As with most Manning books, those who buy the printed copy of the book are automatically entitled to download the electronic e-book versions free of charge.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.