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Software to draw graphs and other pictures?

  1. Jan 22, 2015 #1

    I would like to know which sotfware physicists (or other scientists) use to make nice pictures for presentations to students, scientists or general public. I would like to make good presentations without spending a day for drawing a simple image. For example if I want to explain Riemann integration by making several graphs with more and more rectangles under the curve, are there good programs that are modulable?

    My question focuses on graphs but it could be asked for anything, like electric circuits, molecules in chemistry or Feynman diagrams...

    Best regards.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2015 #2
    I think one problem with suggestions is that no given program will do the job equally well.
    For data visualization and graphing, something like MATLAB will be excellent. Or gnuplot, if you're cheap like me.
    For generic drawings, I personally can recommend InkSpace. It's free, but of excellent quality.
  4. Jan 23, 2015 #3
    Hello, thank you for your answer. There is no problem if different tasks are done by different programs. I am not necesary looking for one single program doing everything.

    But are you sure about MATLAB? I do not use it but I thought it was used for plotting curves and doing numerical calculations, not drawing rectangles under curves or adding color to show how integrals are related to surfaces, etc.

    I did not know InkSpace, I will take a look, thanks. :)
  5. Jan 23, 2015 #4
    Well, I was suggesting MATLAB with the idea that you would create a dummy data set, and then plot it both as a continuous line, as well as a bar plot. That way you wouldn't have to draw it yourself.
    But yeah, adding text and colors, that's better done in InkSpace.
  6. Jan 23, 2015 #5
    I like to use Kaleidograph as a graphing package. It makes great "presentation quality" plots, and has great curve fitting capabilities. Excel also has good graphing software.

    For drawing, Powerpoint is a very popular choice, with lots of functionality and ease of use.

  7. Jan 24, 2015 #6


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    any software for mac? I tried a few of the software suggested in previous questions in the forum but none of them works well...:confused:
  8. Jan 24, 2015 #7
    Well certainly, the Microsoft Office programs Powerpoint and Excel work on mac. I don't know whether Kaleidograph is available on mac, but my guess is, yes.

  9. Feb 8, 2015 #8
    InkSpace? Perhaps Inkscape.
  10. Feb 8, 2015 #9
    The R project can make some quality graphs.
    Other than that, I once drew a schematic representation of an engine using the tikz-picture in LaTeX.
    If you use latex to make such presentations, that is an option.
    It is tedious however since you have to use the proper "commands" to position individual parts.
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