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Downloading DATAPLOT for MacOS

Contact Information May 2019

Alan Heckert
Statistical Engineering Division
National Institute Of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-8980
(301) 975-2899 or FTS 879-2899
alan.heckert@nist.gov
Jim Filliben
Statistical Engineering Division
National Institute Of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-8980
(301) 975-2855 or FTS 879-2855
james.filliben@nist.gov

Introduction Dataplot is a command driven program. You can optionally run Dataplot using a graphical user interface (GUI) that is implemented using the Tcl/Tk scripting language. Reference will be made below to the "command line" version and the "GUI" version.

Dataplot for MacOS is essentially a port of the Linux version and can optionally utilize several open source libraries for Linux.

Package Managers for Installing Linux Applications on MacOS There are several package managers for installing Linux libraries on MacOS. In particular, we are aware of MacPorts, Homebrew and Fink. Each of these has their advocates. Although we personally use MacPorts, that should not be considered an endorsement of MacPorts over the others. It just happens to be the one that we use. Many MacOS users, particularly those who also use Linux platforms, will have one of these package managers installed.

The installation instructions below provide instructions for the case where you have MacPorts installed and for the case where you have no package manager installled. If you already use Homebrew or Fink, then you should be able to do something similar to what we do with MacPorts. As we do not have either Homebrew or Fink installed on our systems, we do not provide the specific instructions.

At this time, we do not currently have Dataplot in the MacPorts, Homebrew or Fink repositories. Although this may happen at a later date, the primary purpose for discussing these package managers is to install dependencies that can be utilized by Dataplot.

Install Dependencies: No Linux Package Manager
Step 1a: Install Needed Dependencies If you do not use a package manager such as MacPorts, Homebrew or fink, you need to install the following dependencies.

  • gfortran/gcc

    You need to install the gfortran/gcc compilers. A binary installation can be found at

    This page gives the installation instructions. Having gfortran/gcc is required when building from source.

  • X11

    Dataplot can use X11 for generating screen graphics when Dataplot is initiated from an xterm window. To install X11, see

    This page provides a ".dmg" file to download and install.

    If you choose to not install X11, omit the X11 feature on the FEATURES line in the Makefile (discussed below).

  • AquaTerm

    Dataplot uses the AquaTerm library to generate screen graphics for the command line version of Dataplot when it is run from a standard terminal window. If AquaTerm is not installed on your system, download and run AquaTerm-1.1.1.dmg.

    If you choose to not install AquaTerm, omit the AQUA feature on the FEATURES line in the Makefile (discussed below).

If you want to generate screen graphics, you need to install at least one of X11 or Aquaterm (we recommend installing both).

If you want to run the GUI version of Dataplot, you also need to install Tcl/Tk. The ActiveState web site has a MacOS version of Tcl/Tk that has been customized to have a MacOS look and feel. However, this version of Tcl/Tk does not work well with Dataplot. If you are experienced in installing Linux applications, you can try building Tcl/Tk from source. However, if you want to use the GUI, we strongly recommend installing and using one of the package managers (MacPorts, Homebrew, fink) to install Tcl/Tk.

Install Dependencies: MacPorts Package Manager
Step 1b: Install Dependencies If you have MacPorts installed, there are several additional dependencies that you can install. For instructions on downloading and installing MacPorts, see

Assuming that you have MacPorts installed, you can install the following dependencies (some of these are optional)

  • gfortran/gcc

    You need to install the gfortran/gcc compilers. You can either install a binary version (not MacPorts) found at

    or you can install from MacPorts with the command

      sudo port install gcc8

    Installing gcc8 should also include gfortran.

  • X11

    Dataplot can use X11 for generating screen graphics when Dataplot is initiated from an xterm window. To install X11, see

    This page provides a ".dmg" file to download and install.

    Alternatively, you can install from MacPorts with the command

      sudo port install xorg xorg-libX11

  • Aquaterm

    Dataplot uses the Aquaterm library to generate screen graphics for the command line version of Dataplot when it is run from a standard terminal window. To install Aquaterm from MacPorts, enter

      sudo port install aquaterm

  • GD

    The GD graphics library is used to generate plots in the jpeg, png, gif, bmp, wbmp, and tiff image formats. You can also read images in these formats. This is an optional feature. To install GD from MacPorts, enter

      sudo port install gd2

  • readline

    The readline library supports history recall with command line editing. This is an optional feature. To install readline from MacPorts, enter

      sudo port install readline

  • libplot

    This is an older graphics library supported under Unix/Linux. Dataplot uses libplot to support some additional graphics formats not otherwise supported (netPBM bitmap, Adobe Illustrator, binary CGM, xfig). This is an optional feature. To install libplot from MacPorts, enter

      sudo port install xorg-libXaw plotutils +x11

  • tcl/tk

    Dataplot implements its GUI using the Tcl/Tk scripting language. If you are not interested in the GUI, you can skip this feature.

    The ActiveState web site provides a MacOS specific version of Tcl/Tk that has a Mac look and feel. However, the Dataplot GUI does not work well with the ActiveState MacOS specific version, so the MacPorts version is recommended. To install the MacPorts version of tcl/tk, enter

      sudo port install tcl tk
Download and Unpack the Dataplot Files
Step 2: Download and Unpack the Dataplot Files The Dataplot files are available on the following github site

Select the "Clone or Download" menu and then select the "Download ZIP" text. This will save the file

    dataplot-master.zip

Move this file to a convenient location on your system and then enter

    unzip dataplot-master.zip

Build Dataplot
Step 3: Build Dataplot After the unzip command, enter the command

    cd dataplot/src

To use the MacOS version of the Makefile, enter

    cp Makefile.mac Makefile

Check the following lines in the Makefile

  1. The "PREFIX=$(DESTDIR)/usr/local" line. If you have root permissions, you can leave this line as is or change it to "PREFIX=$(DESTDIR)/usr" if you prefer. If you do not have root permissions, we recommend changing this line to either "PREFIX=$(HOME)".

  2. The line "FEATURES = READLINE NCURSES GD TIFF CAIRO AQUA X11 MOJAVE MACPORTS" specifies what dependencies you have installed.

    There are three MacOS specific features. The AQUA feature should be included if you installed AquaTerm. The MOJAVE feature should be included if you are running Mojave and omitted otherwise (the location for the gcc header files was changed from "/usr/include" starting with Mojave, this feature adds the new path for the include files). The MACPORTS feature should be included if you installed MacPorts based dependencies (this updates the CFLAGS and LDFLAGS variables to include the MacPorts locations). If you use Homebrew or fink instead, you need to create a similar feature that specifies the locations used by these package managers. In particular, fink uses "/sw" rather than the "/opt/local" used by MacPorts.

    The remaining features should be included or omitted depending on whether the specific dependency was installed. The PLOT feature (LIBPLOT) is omitted by default. If you installed the LIBPLOT libraries, add the PLOT feature.

The INSTALL file provides additional detail (e.g., if you want to build a version that can handle larger data set sizes). However, in most cases you should not need to modify anything other than the PREFIX and FEATURES lines.

After making any needed modifications to the Makefile, enter

    make

If the Makefile does not show any errors, then do

    sudo make install

If you did not set the PREFIX line to a location that requires root permissions, then you can omit the "sudo".

Problems with Downloading or Installation If you have problems with the download or installation, contact alan.heckert@nist.gov for assistance.
Test Dataplot Installation
Step 4: Test Command Line Version of Dataplot You can test the installation of the command line version of Dataplot by entering the following commands.
    dataplot
    device 1 x11
    call minitest.dp
    exit
Even if you only intend to use the GUI version, I recommend testing the command line version first since the GUI version is in fact running the command line version.

Be sure that the directory containing the Dataplot executable is in your path. For example, if you have the executable in /usr/local/bin, you can add the following line to your .cshrc file (if you use the c-shell)

    set path=(/usr/local/bin $path)
For the Bourne shell, the comparable line for the .bashrc file is
    PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH; export PATH
Step 4b: Testithe GUI version of Dataplot To test the Dataplot GUI, enter

    xdataplot

Dataplot Configuration Files There are two configuration files that you may want to edit at some point.

  • The "/usr/local/lib/dplogf.tex" file contains a startup file that will be executed when you initiate Dataplot. This is an ASCII file containing Dataplot commands that is useful for specifying your own defaults for Dataplot. The default version for Linux is essentially a place holder (i.e., it doesn't really do anything).

    If you would like to create your own custom file , then do the following

      cp /usr/local/lib/dplogf.tex ~/dplogf.tex

    Then edit ~/dplogf.tex using any ASCII editor. If you have a dplogf.tex file in your home directory, this will override the system version.

    How much you would like to utilize dplogf.tex is a personal preference.

  • The "/usr/local/lib/frscript/xdpConfig" file is a configuration file for the GUI. In general, you will not need to edit this file. However, if you would like to create your own custom version, then

      cp /usr/local/lib/frscript/xdpConfig ~/xdpConfig

    This is an ASCII file so edit ~/xdpConfig using your preferred ASCII editor. As with dplogf.tex, a copy of xdpConfig in your home directory will override the system version. See the comments in xdpConfig for guidance in editing this file.

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Date created: 06/05/2001
Last updated: 05/10/2019

Please email comments on this WWW page to alan.heckert@nist.gov.