Options and any accompanying parameters are separated by spaces whereas lists and coordinates are separated by commas. Ranges are separated by colons and enclosed in brackets [], text and file names are enclosed in quotes, and a few miscellaneous things are enclosed in parentheses.

Commas are used to separate coordinates on the set commands arrow, key, and label; the list of variables being fitted (the list after the via keyword on the fit command); lists of discrete contours or the loop parameters which specify them on the set cntrparam command; the arguments of the set commands dgrid3d, dummy, isosamples, offsets, origin, samples, size, time, and view; lists of tics or the loop parameters which specify them; the offsets for titles and axis labels; parametric functions to be used to calculate the x, y, and z coordinates on the plot, replot and splot commands; and the complete sets of keywords specifying individual plots (data sets or functions) on the plot, replot and splot commands.

Parentheses are used to delimit sets of explicit tics (as opposed to loop parameters) and to indicate computations in the using filter of the fit, plot, replot and splot commands.

(Parentheses and commas are also used as usual in function notation.)

Square brackets are used to delimit ranges given in set, plot or splot commands.

Colons are used to separate extrema in range specifications (whether they are given on set, plot or splot commands) and to separate entries in the using filter of the plot, replot, splot and fit commands.

Semicolons are used to separate commands given on a single command line.

Curly braces are used in the syntax for enhanced text mode and to delimit blocks in if/then/else statements. They are also used to denote complex numbers: {3,2} = 3 + 2i.

The EEPIC, Imagen, Uniplex, LaTeX, and TPIC drivers allow a newline to be specified by \ \ in a single-quoted string or \ \ \ \ in a double-quoted string.

Quote Marks

Gnuplot uses three forms of quote marks for delimiting text strings, double-quote (ascii 34), single-quote (ascii 39), and backquote (ascii 96).

Filenames may be entered with either single- or double-quotes. In this manual the command examples generally single-quote filenames and double-quote other string tokens for clarity.

String constants and text strings used for labels, titles, or other plot elements may be enclosed in either single quotes or double quotes. Further processing of the quoted text depends on the choice of quote marks.

Backslash processing of special characters like \n (newline) and \345 (octal character code) is performed only for double-quoted strings. In single-quoted strings, backslashes are just ordinary characters. To get a single-quote (ascii 39) in a single-quoted string, it must be doubled. Thus the strings "d \" s' b \ \" and 'd" s' ' b \' are completely equivalent.

Text justification is the same for each line of a multi-line string. Thus the center-justified string

"This is the first line of text.\nThis is the second line."
will produce
This is the first line of text.
   This is the second line.
'This is the first line of text.\nThis is the second line.'
will produce
This is the first line of text.\nThis is the second line.

Enhanced text processing is performed for both double-quoted text and single-quoted text, but only by terminals supporting this mode. See enhanced text.

Back-quotes are used to enclose system commands for substitution into the command line. See substitution.

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