Throughout this document an attempt has been made to maintain consistency of nomenclature. This cannot be wholly successful because as gnuplot has evolved over time, certain command and keyword names have been adopted that preclude such perfection. This section contains explanations of the way some of these terms are used.

A "page" or "screen" or "canvas" is the entire area addressable by gnuplot. On a desktop it is a full window; on a plotter, it is a single sheet of paper; in svga mode it is the full monitor screen.

A screen may contain one or more "plots". A plot is defined by an abscissa and an ordinate, although these need not actually appear on it, as well as the margins and any text written therein.

A plot contains one "graph". A graph is defined by an abscissa and an ordinate, although these need not actually appear on it.

A graph may contain one or more "lines". A line is a single function or data set. "Line" is also a plotting style. The word will also be used in sense "a line of text". Presumably the context will remove any ambiguity.

The lines on a graph may have individual names. These may be listed together with a sample of the plotting style used to represent them in the "key", sometimes also called the "legend".

The word "title" occurs with multiple meanings in gnuplot. In this document, it will always be preceded by the adjective "plot", "line", or "key" to differentiate among them. A 2D graph may have up to four labeled axes. The names of the four axes are "x" for the axis along the bottom border of the plot, "y" for the axis along the left border, "x2" for the top border, and "y2" for the right border. See axes.

A 3D graph may have up to three labeled axes"x", "y" and "z". It is not possible to say where on the graph any particular axis will fall because you can change the direction from which the graph is seen with set view.

When discussing data files, the term "record" will be resurrected and used to denote a single line of text in the file, that is, the characters between newline or end-of-record characters. A "point" is the datum extracted from a single record. A "block" of data is a set of consecutive records delimited by blank records. A line, when referred to in the context of a data file, is a subset of a block. Note that the term "data block" may also be used to refer to a named block inline data (see datablocks).

Copyright 1986 - 1993, 1998, 2004 Thomas Williams, Colin Kelley
Distributed under the gnuplot license (rights to distribute modified versions are withheld).