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Terminals – How does Gnuplot works?


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Firstly, you should how Gnuplot works..

Imagine Gnuplot is connected to a “printer”.. This “printer” is called a terminal.

This terminal can be anything and you can change this terminal using the following command:

>> set terminal ….. …. ….. … 

You can set your terminal to your  current “monitor display” (this terminal called “windows”)

There is another “monitor display” called “wxt”.

So, you can change switch to these terminals using this commands:

>> set terminal windows

>> set terminal wxt

These commands will change the terminals that are displayed on your monitor.  They have different colours, buttons, etc..

Each terminal may have a different function

So, if you want to plot something, be sure to set your terminals first.

If you set the terminal after plotting, it will not have any effect. Imagine this analogy:

“Pressing the print button in MS Word and only after that you turn on the printer power”

Saving to a file

Instead of a monitor display, you can also change the terminal to a file.

There are options to save your file to JPEG or EPS or LaTeX,

Here are some of the available terminals:

  • set terminal wxt
  • set terminal windows
  • set terminal jpeg
  • set terminal postcript
  • set terminal epslatex


For the full list of terminals, please refer to gnuplot documentation (,96,186)

Each terminal can have their own properties (called “options”).

Here are the typical settings for each terminal that I normally use:

  • set terminal jpeg enhanced font Times 28 size 1600,1200
  • set terminal postscript eps color lw 15 “Helvetica” 20
  • set terminal epslatex color
  • set term wxt font “Arial,12”
  • set term windows font “Arial,12”

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