I am looking here for the best simple and intuitive application that is designed to produce neat looking graphs, for example "number of Ubuntu users in the last 10 years" or "average amounts paid by windows, mac and linux users for each Humble Indie Bundle edition".

I just want it to be easy to produce (not too many functions), and nice looking (no ugly business charts)!

Thanks for your help!

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    "better" and "simple to use" are rather subjective so I'll post the one we use a lot! To quote a famous person: "There are no too complicated apps, user dependency overweighs" – Rinzwind May 30 '11 at 7:30
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    I usually use LibreOffice Calc or Graphviz. – Anonymous Nov 22 '11 at 21:08
  • Can you export a single graph as an image (png, jpg, svg) from LibreOffice? – stragu Nov 23 '11 at 10:35
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    Yes, you can export to PNG, SVG and others. I am not sure what happens if you try export and you have graphs on different pages though. – Anonymous Nov 25 '11 at 18:45
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    Anti-answer : gnuplot - it's simple (not in the sense meant I think), and can do neat looking output ( gnuplot.sourceforge.net/demo ) – Adrian Jan 7 '12 at 2:04

10 Answers 10



Download (80 Mb). Installation: sudo dpkg -i tulip-debuginfo_3.3.1-2_i386.deb

  • 3D visualizations
  • 3D modifications
  • Plug-in support for easy evolution
  • Building of clusters and navigation into it
  • Automatic drawing of graphs
  • Automatic clustering of graphs
  • Automatic selection of elements
  • Automatic Metric coloration of graphs



I recommend RLPlot Install rlplot

From the RLPlot website.

RLPlot is is a plotting program to create high quality graphs from data. Based on values stored in a spreadsheet several menus help you to create graphs of your choice. The Graphs are displayed as you get them (wysiwyg). Double click any element of the graph (or a single click with the right mouse button) to modify its properties. RLPlot is a cross platform development for Linux and Windows. Mac OsX users can find some useful information how to install RLPlot at http://naranja.umh.es/~atg/.

enter image description here

example image


I can recommend matplotlib which however is mainly useful for plotting, but then a simpler alternative to gnuplot unless one is not familiar with python.


It's going to sound boring, but LibreOffice is certainly easy to use, and its graphs are highly customizable. You can really make them shine, if you know what you're doing!


I usually use python matplotlib. http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/

Although it is a library it is a very simple one. You just start python interpreter and import the lib. For me it is simpler that most of spreadsheets plotters because I'm always getting lost in the gui.

You can see gallery here http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/gallery.html


If you are familiar with Matlab, you might find Octave useful (to edit m files). However, I personally prefer python (with matplotlib), as one can manipulate the code to resemble the desired outcome. You may also use the python code and edit it to include data included in a tex file (in CSV format, etc.) so in general, python is a very powerful choice and will give you a broader control over the parameters of your analysis. Good luck.


I recommend SciDaVis [1]. Unlike spreadsheet programs it is only for plotting (a better alternative to origin IMHO). You can export as svg files that can easily be added to a web page.

I also found gnuplot [2] is a lot easier than I thought it was. And it seems to work well with HTML5. It is command line based but very easy to follow with all the examples that are available.

Both are available from the software centre (gnuplot might be in synaptic: you might need to install synaptic first).

[1] http://scidavis.sourceforge.net/

[2] http://www.gnuplot.info/

  • I found Gnuplot in the software center. Cheers! – stragu Apr 19 '12 at 6:33

I really like gnuPlot.


As @Andres says, it's not difficult to learn, and it produces publication quality graphs, before they got lazy and journals started printing Excel charts :)


I personally like R (equivalently octave) which essentially gives you all you need and awesome plots quality. Also consider gnuplot, much easier and faster to use.


wxMaxima is a graphical user interface for the computer algebra system Maxima. It eases the use of Maxima by making most of its commands available through a menu system and by providing input dialogs for commands that require more than one argument. It also implements its own display engine that outputs mathematical symbols directly instead of depicting them with ASCII characters.

wxMaxima also features 2D and 3D inline plots, simple animations, mixing of text and mathematical calculations to create documents, exporting of input and output to TeX, and a browser for Maxima's manual including command index and full text searching.

To install wxMaxima in all currently supported versions of Ubuntu open the terminal and type:

sudo apt install wxmaxima  

wxMaxima plot

wxMaxima is not so hard to use for static data visualizations. If you want an interactive data visualization with inline widgets that let you change the visualization on the fly then you're looking at something that requires some programming like this answer which I wrote in Python.

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