Display Data from Gnuplot GPL Files

GPL_DISPLAY, a MATLAB library which tries to read the data in a typical gnuplot GPL file, describing a 1D, 2D or 3D curve, or a surface Z(X,Y) defined on a regular grid, a triangular grid, or an irregular quadrilateral grid, displays it in a more attractive way than gnuplot is capable of.

GNUPLOT does not do a very good job of displaying 3D surfaces. It sketches them out with lines, or some simple solid surfaces. In some cases, MATLAB can take the same data and make a much more attractive image. This set of programs tries to read a few typical GPL data files, and display them appropriately.


The computer code and data files made available on this web page are distributed under the GNU LGPL license.


GPL_DISPLAY is available in a MATLAB version.

Related Data and Programs:

DEALII, examples which illustrate the use of DEAL.II, a finite element method (FEM) Differential Equations Analysis Library (DEAL), by Wolfgang Bangerth and others.

FEM2D_PLOT_GPL, a MATLAB program which reads information about nodes, elements and nodal values for a 2D finite element method (FEM) and creates a GPL file describing a surface plot of U(X,Y), which can be displayed by GNUPLOT.

GNUPLOT, MATLAB programs which illustrate how a program can write data and command files so that gnuplot can create plots of the program results.

GPL, a data directory which contains examples of GPL files, a graphics file format used by gnuplot;



  1. Philipp Janert,
    Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs,
    Manning, 2010,
    ISBN13: 978-1-933988-39-8,
    LC: QA276.4.J37.
  2. Thomas Williams, Colin Kelley,
    gnuplot 4.4, An Interactive Plotting Program,
    The Free Software Foundation, 2010.

Source Code:

Last modified on 25 January 2019.