Author: | Clinton P. Curry <clintonc@clintoncurry.net> |
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Homepage: | http://www.clintoncurry.net/ |

Date: | Fri Dec 3 22:01:48 UTC 2010 |

It has been claimed by many that Gnuplot is not suitable for graphs which are destined for publication. However, it is a wonderful tool for quickly and easily getting graphs of functions, for example to use in a calculus lecture. Here are a few tips for making graphs which will help you convey concepts to calculus students.

In most text books, the x- and y-axes play an important role in graphing. Indeed, every graph includes them, whereas the default Gnuplot graph instead opts for a rectangular grid with the edges labeled. This can throw off some students. You can use the following incantation to make the graphs look a bit more "standard".

set border 0 set xzeroaxis lt -1 set yzeroaxis lt -1 set xtics axis set ytics axis

The computer-ese appearance of the legend can be a bit disconcerting for a student. Luckily, most terminals seem to support an "enhanced" option; for example, you can use `set term wxt enhanced` to allow some special features. Then issuing the command

plot sin(x)**2 ti "sin^2(x)"

gives a much friendlier appearance.

Ever try pressing "R" in the graph window?