Meet Plots: A Mathematical Graph Plotting App for Linux Desktop

Plots is an open source graph plotting application that makes it easy to visualize mathematical formulae. You can use it for trigonometric, hyperbolic, exponential and logarithmic functions along with arbitrary sums and products.

Plot mathematical graphs with Plots on Linux

Plots is a simple application inspired by graph plotting web apps like Desmos. It allows you to plot graphs of different math functions, which you can enter interactively, as well as customizing the color of your plots.

Written in Python, Plots takes advantage of modern hardware using OpenGL. It uses GTK 3 and thus integrates well with the GNOME desktop.

fourier graph plots

Using plots is straightforward. To add a new equation, click the plus sign. Clicking the trash icon deletes the equation. There is also the option to undo and redo. You can also zoom in and zoom out.

Graph plotting apps for Linux

The text box where you type is equation friendly. The hamburger menu has a ‘help’ option to access the documentation. You’ll find useful tips on how to write various mathematical notations here. You can also copy-paste the equations.

plots app linux

In dark mode, the sidebar equation area turns dark but the main plotting area remains white. I believe that’s by design perhaps.

You can use multiple functions and plot them all in one graph:

multiple equations plots

I found it crashing while trying to paste some equations it could not understand. If you write something that it cannot understand or conflicts with existing equations, all plots disappear, Removing the incorrect equation brings back the plot.

No option to export the plots or copy them to clipboard unfortunately. You can always take screenshots in Linux and use the image in your document where you have to add the graphs.

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Installing Plots on Linux

Plots has different installation options available for various kinds of distributions.

Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10 users can take advantage of the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apandada1/plots
sudo apt update
sudo apt install plots

For other Debian based distributions, you can install it from the deb file available here.

For Arch users, Plots has been added to AUR after this article was published.

Apart from that, you can also use the Flatpak package or install it using Python.

If interested, you may check out the source code on its GitHub repository. If you like the application, please consider giving it a star on GitHub.


The primary use case for Plots is for students learning math or related subjects, but it can be useful in many other scenarios. I know not everyone would need that but surely helpful for the people in the academics and schools.

I would have liked the option to export the images though. Perhaps the developers can add this feature in the future releases.

Do you know any similar applications for plotting graphs? How does Plots stack up against them?

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  • I have been unable to install plots in linux mint 19.3. Software Manager just runs without ending (hanging?).
    Running the deb file gives an error message indicating unresolved dependencies. It seems that plots is only available for ubuntu version 20 and later. Pretty useless situation, IMO. Not all linux users are avid version updaters. I’m happy with 19.3.

  • I don’t know why, but plots crashes as soon as I open it in Kubuntu 20.04… I was very excited to use it… Please help me Abhishek!

    • Hi, Plots developer here, if you could create an issue on the GitHub repo, we could try and work out what’s going on :)

      • Hi sir,

        I don’t know how to post an issue in GitHub. Sorry sir, I’m a newbie :)

        I installed plots via PPA, tried to run it, nothing seems to happen (Kubuntu). That’s all I know sir.

        I even tried in elementary OS, which has support to flatpak packages, but the same happened there.

        It’d be a very great help if you guide me here sir :)

  • You should really have mentioned the longstanding default FOSS plotting program: gnuplot. Other than graphically showing the equations, it can do all of this and so much more. It’s definitely worth learning gnuplot if you make plots more than once a year.

    • Hi, Plots developer here. Thanks for making this package, just got a few suggestions!

      Currently the script only installs the python packages, so there are a few extra files which need to be installed by the PKGBUILD: the icons, the .desktop file, the metainfo file, the help files, and the OTF file for the Latin Modern Math font (which is used for displaying the equations). The font file is not in the main Plots repository, and has to be downloaded separately.

      The Flatpak build file should serve as an example (com.github.alexhuntley.Plots.json). If you need any help, please feel free to email me: my address is on my GitHub profile.