Gnuplot是一个命令行的交互式绘图工具（command-driven interactive function plotting program）。用户通过输入命令，可以逐步设置或修改绘图环境，并以图形描述数据或函数，使我们可以借由图形做更进一步的分析。
gnuplot是由Colin Kelly和Thomas Williams于1986年开始开发的科学绘图工具，支持二维和三维图形。它的功能是把数据资料和数学函数转换为容易观察的平面或立体的图形，它有两种工作方式，交互式方式和批处理方式，它可以让使用者很容易地读入外部的数据结果，在屏幕上显示图形，并且可以选择和修改图形的画法，明显地表现出数据的特性。
Gnuplot is a portable command-line driven graphing utility for linux, OS/2, MS Windows, OSX, VMS, and many other platforms. The source code is copyrighted but freely distributed (i.e., you don t have to pay for it). It was originally created to allow scientists and students to visualize mathematical functions and data interactively, but has grown to support many non-interactive uses such as web scripting. It is also used as a plotting engine by third-party applications like Octave. Gnuplot has been supported and under active development since 1986.
Gnuplot supports many types of plots in either 2D and 3D. It can draw using lines, points, boxes, contours, vector fields, surfaces, and various associated text. It also supports various specialized plot types.
Gnuplot supports many different types of output: interactive screen terminals (with mouse and hotkey input), direct output to pen plotters or modern printers, and output to many file formats (eps, fig, jpeg, LaTeX, metafont, pbm, pdf, png, postscript, svg, ...). Gnuplot is easily extensible to include new output modes. Recent additions include an interactive terminal based on wxWidgets and the creation of mousable graphs for web display using the HTML5 canvas element.