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Dataplot: Colors

Dataplot Supports 89 Colors You can specify 89 different colors within Dataplot. These colors are based on X11 Release 4. A given output device (monitor, laser printer, penplotter) may or may not have the capacity to generate all 89 colors; if the capacity does not exist, then a mapping of the 89 colors onto a subset supported by the particular device will occur.

Note: The 2020/11 version of Dataplot made two significant upgrades to Dataplot's use of color.

  1. Based on more recent versions of X11, the number of supported colors was increased from 89 to 163.

  2. For devices that support it, you can now specify RGB colors. Dataplot still supports devices that do not have full RGB support. To handle this, Dataplot first checks if the device supports RGB color. If so, and if an RGB color has been specified, then Dataplot uses the RGB color setting. If the device does not support RGB color or if no RGB color has been specified, then Dataplot uses the standard color setting. For example,

      LINE RGB COLOR 211 11 88

    If a device does not support RGB color, it will use RED and if it does support RGB color it will use the (211,11,88) RGB settings for the color.

    For each COLOR command in Dataplot, there is now a RGB COLOR variant. An RGB color is specified as as set of three numbers (or parameters). RGB values are given in the range 0 to 255. To turn off the RGB color, use "-1 -1 -1" (any negative values will have the same effect).

    The help files for the various COLOR commands have been updated to include the new RGB COLOR commands. For example, HELP LINE COLOR will include the documentation for both LINE COLOR and LINE RGB COLOR.

Colors Can Be Specified with Either a Name or an Index Colors can be specified with either a name or an index. For example,


Index Maps to a Specific Color In Dataplot, an index maps to a specific color (e.g., index 3 is equivalent to BLUE). The advantage of this is that names and indices are consistent across devices. The disadvantage is that using indices for colors can be somewhat counter intuitive on a specific device. For example, the VGA device supports 15 colors. However, using indices 1 through 15 will not yield 15 unique colors on the VGA.
Within Dataplot, you can view a file that lists the index to color mapping by entering the command
    LIST COLORS. (be sure to include the trailing .)
This file also gives information regarding how many colors various graphics devices available in Dataplot actually support.
Color Support on Specific Graphics Devices The following graphics devices support all 163 colors.
  • X11
  • QWIN (command line version of Dataplot on Windows using the Intel compiler)
  • AQUA (for MacOS)
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphis)
  • CGM
The LaTex device currently only supports the original 89 colors. This may be updated at a later date.

The following graphics devices support 15 colors.

  • QWIN (not in true color mode) - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow, light cyan, light blue, gray, light gray, dark gray, red2, magenta2
The following graphics devices support 8 colors:
  • TEKTRONIX 4115 - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow
  • TEKTRONIX 42XX - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow
  • TEKTRONIX 43XX - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow
  • TEKTRONIX 4027 - white, black, red, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow
  • HPGL (non-9872 models) - black, red, blue, green, magenta, orange, cyan, yellow
  • HP 2622 - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow
  • GENERAL - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow
The following graphics devices support 7 colors:

  • SUN/SUNVIEW - white, black, red, blue, green, magenta, yellow
The following graphics devices support 4 colors:
  • HPGL (9872 model) - black, red, blue, green
  • TEKTRONIX 4662 - black, red, blue, green
  • CALCOMP - black, red, blue, green
  • ZETA - black, red, blue, green
Displaying the Color Mapping for a Specific Graphics Device For details of the color mapping for a device, use the SHOW command, as in
To capture such a listing to a file (e.g., JUNK.), which may be viewed either within Dataplot via the LIST command or later upon exit from Dataplot, enter


Penplotters Are a Special Case Penplotters are a special case in two ways.
  1. First, different models may support a varying number of pens. For the more common plotter models, the user can set the number of slots (e.g., SET CALCOMP COLORS 16).
  2. Second, penplotters provide a "slot" into which the user can load an arbitrary pen. When Dataplot sets a color for penplotter, it maps a color to a fixed slot (e.g., BLUE goes to slot 3 which may or may not actually contain a blue pen). The <device> PEN MAP command can be used to define the color to slot number mapping for plotters.

Table Showing Supported Colors in Dataplot The following table shows the supported colors in Dataplot. It shows both the name and corresponding index number. The last column shows the actual color that the VGA device will generate for the requested color (use the SHOW COLORS <device> command to see this for other devices).

Dataplot Color Table
Color Dataplot
VGA Output
White WHITE 0 White
Black BLACK 1 Black
Red RED 2 Red
Blue BLUE 3 Blue
Green GREEN 4 Green
Magenta MAGENTA 5 Magenta
Orange ORANGE 6 Orange
Cyan CYAN 7 Cyan
Yellow YELLOW 8 Yellow
Yellow Green YGRE 9 Yellow
Dark Green DGRE 10 Green
Light Blue LBLU 11 Light Blue
Blue Violet VBLU 12 Blue
Violet Red VRED 13 Red
Dark Slate Gray DGRA 14 Dark gray
Light Gray LGRA 15 Light Gray
Aquamarine AQUA 16 Cyan
Brown BROWN 17 Brown
Cadet Blue CABL 18 Light Blue
Coral CORAL 19 Light RED
Cornflower Blue CBLU 20 Blue
Dark Olive Green DOGR 21 Green
Dark Orchid DORC 22 Magenta
Dark Slate Blue DSBL 23 Blue
Dark Turquoise DTUR 24 Magenta
Firebrick FIRE 25 Yellow
Forest Green FGRE 26 Green
Gold GOLD 27 Yellow
Goldenrod GLDR 28 Yellow
Gray GRAY 29 Gray
Indian Red IRED 30 Light Red
Dim Gray DMGR 32 Light Gray
Light Blue Steel LSBL 33 Light Blue
Lime Green LGRE 34 Green
Maroon MAROON 35 Magenta
Medium Aquamarine MAQU 36 Light Cyan
Medium Blue MBLU 37 Light Blue
Medium Forest Green MFGR 38 Green
Medium Goldenrod MGLD 39 Yellow
Medium Orchid MORC 40
Medium Sea Green MSGR 41 Green
Medium Slate Blue MSBL 42 Light Blue
Medium Spring Green MSPG 43 Green
Medium Turquoise MTUR 44 Light Magenta
Medium Violet Red MVRD 45 Magenta
Midnight Blue MDBL 46 Blue
Navy NAVY 47 Blue
Orange Red ORED 48 Red
Orchid ORCHID 49 Light Magenta
Pale Green PGRE 50 Green
Pink PINK 51 Red
Plum PLUM 52 Magenta
Purple PURPLE 53 Magenta
Salmon Salmon 54 Yellow
Sea Green SGRE 55 Green
Sienna SIENNA 56 Magenta
Sky Blue SKBL 57 Light Cyan
Slate Blue SBLU 58 Blue
Spring Green SPGR 59 Green
Steel Blue STBL 60 Blue
Tan TAN 61 Brown
Thistle THISTLE 62 Yellow
Turquoise TURQ 63 Magenta
Violet VIOLET 64 Magenta
Wheat WHEAT 65 Yellow
Green Yellow GYEL 66 Green
Light Cyan LCYA 67 light Cyan
Blue2 BLU2 68 Blue
Blue3 BLU3 69
Blue4 BLU4 70 Blue
Cyan2 CYA2 71 Cyan
Cyan3 CYA3 72 Cyan
Cyan4 CYA4 73 Cyan
Green2 GRE2 74 Green
Green3 GRE3 75 Green
Green4 GRE4 76 Green
Yellow2 YEL2 77 Yellow
Yellow3 YEL3 78 Yellow
Yellow4 YEL4 79 Yellow
Orange2 ORA2 80 Yellow
Orange3 ORA3 81 Yellow
Orange4 ORA4 82 Yellow
Red2 RED2 83 Red
Red3 RED3 84 Red
Red4 RED4 85 Red
Magenta2 MAG2 86 Magenta
Magenta3 MAG3 87 Magenta
Magenta4 MAG4 88 Magenta
Light Coral LCOR 89 Red
Dark Salmon DSAL 90 Red
Light Salmon LSAL 91 Red
Crimson CRIM 92 Red
Dark Red DRED 93 Red
Light Pink LPIN 94 Red
Hot Pink HPIN 95 Red
Deep Pink DPIN 96 Red
PaleVioletRed PVRE 97 Red
Tomato TOMA 98 Red
Dark Orange DORA 99 Red
Light Yellow LYEL 100 Orange
Lemon Chifon LCHI 101 Orange
Papaya Whip PAPW 102 Orange
Mocasin MOCA 103 Orange
Peach Puff PPUF 104 Orange
Pale Goldenrod PGRO 105 Orange
Dark Khaki DKHA 106 Orange
Lavender LAVE 107 Magenta
Fuchsia FUCH 108 Magenta
Medium Purple MPUR 109 Magenta
Amethyst AMET 110 Magenta
Dark Violet DVIO 111 Magenta
Dark Magenta DMAG 112 Magenta
Indigo INDI 113 Magenta
Charteuse CHAR 114 Green
Lawn Green LAGR 115 Green
Lime LIME 116 Green
Light Green LIGR 117 Green
Olive Drab ODRA 118 Green
Olive OLIV 119 Green
Dark Sea Green DSGR 120 Green
Light Sea Green LSGR 121 Green
Dark Cyan DCYA 122 Blue
Teal TEAL 123 Blue
Pale Turquoise PTUR 124 Blue
Aqua AQUA 125 Blue
Powder Blue PBLU 126 Blue
Light Sky Blue LSKB 127 Blue
Dark Sky Blue DSKB 128 Blue
Dodger Blue DODB 129 Blue
Royal Blue RBLU 130 Blue
Dark Blue DBLU 131 Blue
Cornsilk CORN 132 Brown
Blanched Almond BLAL 133 Brown
Bisque BISQ 134 Brown
Navajo White NAVW 135 Brown
Burly Wood BWOO 136 Brown
Rosy Brown ROSB 137 Brown
Sandy Brown SANB 138 Brown
Dark Goldenrod DGRO 139 Brown
Peru PERU 140 Brown
Chocolate CHOC 141 Brown
Saddie Brown SADB 142 Brown
Snow SNOW 143 Black
Honeydew HONE 144 Black
Mint Cream MCRE 145 Black
Azure AZUR 146 Black
Alice Blue ABLU 147 Black
Ghost White GHOS 148 Black
White Smoke WSMO 149 Black
Sea Shell SEAS 150 Black
Beige BEIG 151 Black
Old Lace OLDL 152 Black
Floral White FLOR 153 Black
Ivory IVOR 154 Black
Antique White ANTI 155 Black
Linen LINE 156 Black
Misty Rose MROS 157 Black
Gainsboro GAIN 158 Black
Silver SILV 159 Black
Dark Gray DAGR 160 Black
Light Slate Gray LSLG 161 Black
Slate Gray SLGR 162 Black

Gray Scale In addition, gray scale can be specified with the following scheme.

G0 Black
G1-G99 Gray scale from black to white
G100 White

Negative Indices for Gray Scales Gray scales can also be specified with negative indices (-1 through -100). Currently, Postscript and X11 support gray scale. Other devices will map gray scale to either black or white.
Colors Can Have a Different Appearance on Different Graphics Devices Be aware that different hardware devices can render a given color quite differently. For some graphics devices, the colors are essentially fixed and Dataplot simply tries to map a Dataplot color to the closes available color on that device (in some cases, the choices are a bit arbitrary). Even for devices that support full RGB (Red, Green, Blue, each represented by an integer value in the range 0 to 255) specification (e.g., Postscript, X11, SVG), there can be differences in the colors actually rendered. Dataplot specificies a consistent set of RGB values, but this does not garauntee that the color will look the same on different hardware.
Dataplot Graph Showing Different Colors The following graphs show the Dataplot colors.

Graph in PDF format       Macro used to generate the graph

Graph in PDF format       Macro used to generate the graph

RGB Color Palettes In order to make the RGB color commands more useful, a number of RGB color palettes have been collected in the file rgb_color_schemes.txt. This file currently contains 271 color palettes:

  • The first is due to Okabe and Ito and defines a color palette that is useful for addressing color blindness.

  • The remaining palettes are the "ColorBrewer" palettes developed by Dr. Cynthia Brewer of Penn State University.

There are many color palettes that have been proposed, but these palettes should provide a good starting point for Dataplot applications. The files "rgb_color_palettes.dp" and "rgb_color_palettes_labels.dp" were added to the "programs" sub-directory. These files are used to generate a Postscript file displaying the color palettes in "rgb_color_schemes.txt".

Dataplot Graphs Showing RGB Color Palettes The following graphs show the Dataplot colors.

Graphs in PDF format       Macro used to generate the graph

Date created: 06/05/2001
Last updated: 04/29/2022

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