GNUPLOT Version 5.0 Release Notes

Gnuplot version 5 contains significant new capabilities and enhancements. The most recent previous release was 4.6 patchlevel 6 (4.6.6). Please see the NEWS file for bugfixes and minor changes to version 5.0 applied after feedback on release candidates -rc1, -rc2, and -rc3.

Release Notes date: 31 December 2014


Many other additions are described in the "New Features" section of the documentation.


Gnuplot development assigns very high priority to backward compatibility with earlier versions. For example any command script that worked in version 4.0 is expected to continue to work for all version 4 releases including the most recent one (4.6.6). However changes introduced in version 5 can affect the operation of some version 4 scripts.

A brief summary of potentially incompatible changes is given here.


Demo plots illustrating new and old features are online at



Obsolete or deprecated components

The "gnuplot mode" elisp and TeX files for use with emacs are now maintained as a separate project: so there is no longer a configuration option --with-lisp-files.

The TeX tutorial produced by --with-tutorial is horribly out of date.

./configure --enable-backwards-compatibility will allow use of some deprecated syntax from old gnuplot versions. However the result of using these deprecated commands may not match the old version output.

Configuration options for interactive use

The 5.0 source code supports three primary cross-platform output modes in addition to several platform-specific modes.

  1. Qt The qt terminal supports interactive display with menu-driven output to png, svg or pdf. If either Qt4 or Qt5 is detected by the configure script, this will be the default terminal. It is now the fastest and most full-featured interactive terminal option.

    To disable this terminal:

    ./configure --without-qt

    To force use of Qt4 even if Qt5 is present:

    ./configure --with-qt=qt4

  2. Cairo/pango/wxWidgets This set of terminals includes
  3. X11 (the "classic" interactive interface)

    This used to be the preferred interactive interface, but the newer wxt and qt terminals offer nicer output and a wider range of features.

Options for output to files

Of course the terminals (output modes) present in previous gnuplot versions are also still available. These include, among many more obscure options:

Options for generating interactive plots for web display



You can download a source tarball for gnuplot version 5.0.0 from the gnuplot development site on SourceForge.

Installation instructions are available in the source itself; the short version for linux/unix-like systems is to unpack the tarball and then

build it:
      cd gnuplot-5.0.0 ; ./configure ; make
test it:
      make check
install it:
      make install

Pay careful attention to the output of the ./configure script. It may indicate that some output drivers have been omitted because the necessary support libraries were not found. In general you need to have previously installed the "-devel-" versions of these libraries.


Please report all bugs and installation problems to the bug tracker on SourceForge:

There is also an gnuplot discussion forum on usenet group


Gnuplot development is ongoing. The development branch on SourceForge contains preliminary implementations of new features. The source for version 5.0 is held in a separate branch of the CVS repository tagged as "branch-5-0-stable". Development continues in the main branch using the version number 5.1 (odd minor number), for eventual release as stable version 5.2 (even minor number). Bugfixes to version 5.0 will appear in patchlevel releases 5.0.1, 5.0.2, etc., approximately twice a year or as needed to correct a serious problem.