Home >
Ploticus config files

A config file can optionally can be used to make certain settings that will be in effect for all ploticus invocations.

If no config file is found, standard defaults will be used. Upon execution, ploticus checks for an environment variable called PLOTICUS_CONFIG, which should contain the full path name of your config file.

If a config file is found, it will be read and processed before command line arguments are evaluated, and before script interpretation begins.

A "config file" is a completely different thing from a "script file".

Typical uses of a config file are to set up non-English month and weekday names, to set default date or numeric notations, or to use cm instead of inch as the absolute unit.

Many (but not all) of these settings can also be made from within a script using proc settings. A few can also be set from the pl command line. Presidence (from highest to lowest) is: proc settings, command line, config file.


Examples of config files set up for Spanish and Russian are located in the gallery directory, named plconfig.spanish and plconfig.russian


One parameter is specified per line (see the example below). Parameters are case-insensitive and must begin in the first column of the line. Lines beginning with // or # are taken as comments; blank lines are skipped.


If you're using a config file and want to confirm that it's being read, put the following line at the top of your config file: option: -debug (this is because the config file is processed before command line args are evaluated, so a -debug on the command line won't take effect in time).


The following parameters may be set. Parameters that are not set assume the default value, which is shown in (parentheses).

option:     option     [arg]

    Set a pl command line option (see pl(1) for discussion of supported command line options) or a prefab parameter. The given command line option will be in effect for all invocations of pl. This parameter may be used as many times as necessary. The only command line args that cannot be set this way are -prefab, -f, and -ver. Any quoting should be omitted on parameters that have embedded white space, such as rectangle=.
      option: -gif
      option: -viewer xv
      option: delim=comma
      option: rectangle= 1 1 5 5

varvalue:     varname=value

    Preset a variable to a value. This may be used as many times as desired within the config file to set various variables. This may also be used to set a variable that will be referenced later in the config file.
    Example: varvalue: MODE=normal

putenv:     varname=value

    Set an environment variable for current process and all subprocesses. This may be used as many times as desired within the config file to set various environment variables.
    Example: putenv: ERRMODE=normal

tmpdir:     dirname

    The directory that ploticus uses for temporary files. By default this is /tmp. This can also be set in pl.h.
    Example: tmpdir: /var/tmp

The remaining parameters, from here to end of page, can be set using a config file, or within a script using proc settings.

units     in | cm

    The measurement unit to be used for ploticus absolute units. Either in (inches) or cm (centimeters). Default is in. If this is set in the config file, it will be in effect when command line arguments are evaluated. If set in proc settings, it will not have any effect on command line argument evaluation.
    Example: units: cm

encodenames     yes | no

    If yes, spaces and commas can be represented in field names using an encoding scheme where a space is represented using an underscore (_) and a comma is represented using a vertical bar (|). Useful in situations where field names will be visible directly as legend labels or axis stubs. For scripts, the default is no for backward compatibility. For prefabs the default is yes. (2.30+) Example: students

enable_suscripts     yes | no

errmsgpre     tag

    Allows developer to set the first portion of all ploticus error messages to tag (it will stay in effect until explicitly set again). For example, where a web page generates multiple plots it may be useful in identifying which plot had the error.

font     fontname

    Make fontname the default font. Font names having embedded spaces will be parsed correctly (but may still be problematic). For more information see fonts.

numbernotation     standard | us | euro

    Specifies how decimal point and thousands separators will be displayed. Default is standard. The following table illustrates:
     standard           us             euro
    ----------    ------------    -------------
         79              79               79
         79.5            79.5             79,5  
       4321.79         4321.79          4321,79 
      54321          54,321           54.321
     654321.07      654,321.07       654.321,07
    1987654321    1,987,654,321    1.987.654.321

numberspacerthreshold     n

    Specifies at what numeric magnitude thousands separators will begin to be inserted. Default is 4, and this is used in the above table. If it were set to 3, the third entry in the above table would appear like this:
       4321.79         4,321.79          4.321,79 

PostScript / EPS settings

ps_latin1_encoding     yes | no
    A latin1 encoding scheme has been added to the postscript driver to make extended ascii characters consistent with other graphical formats, and this encoding is in effect by default. To disenable feature set this to no. You may want to try this if other applications are having trouble with your EPS files. (2.30+)

SVG / XML settings

Overall settings affecting SVG graphics.

xml_declaration     yes | no

    The default (yes) causes the first line of the SVG result to contain the XML declaration <?xml .. > . Use no to suppress the XML declaration line if the SVG result is to be embedded into a larger XML document. This may also be done using the -omit_xml_declaration command line argument.    

xml_encoding     method

    This may be used to set the XML character encoding method. It has no effect when xml_declaration is no. The default is iso-8859-1 which provides Latin and Western European character sets. For Unicode fonts this should be set to utf-8 (for more discussion see the Unicode section in fonts ). Equivalent to the -xml_encoding command line argument.

svg_tagparms     text

    Allows allows arbitrary text to be inserted into the opening <svg> tag.
    Example: svg_tagparms: height="5cm" width="8cm"

svg_mouseover_js     method1 | generic

    Specifies the method to use for SVG mouseover. The default is method1, which provides standalone SVG mouseover support (the SVG result will contain embedded references to javascript files GraphPopups.js and ViewBox.js). Specify generic here if you're using some other javascript strategy such as overlibmws ("method #2"). For more discussion, see the ploticus SVG manual page, mouseover section.

svg_linkparms     text

System environment

cpulimit     s

    Sets a unix resource limit on cpu time to s seconds. Default is 30 seconds. See also the -cpulimit command line option.    


dateformat     format

    Set the current date format. format must be a date format from the dates manual page that includes month, day, and year, for which arithmetic is supported. To use other arithmetic date formats (such as quarter notation) specify the format in the proc areadef xscaletype or yscaletype attribute.
    Example: dateformat: dd-mmm-yyyy    

omitweekends     omit | adjust | yes | no

    Allows date plotting as if Saturdays and Sundays did not exist. Mondays will follow Fridays directly. Useful in certain business and work-related plots.
    If omit, any Saturday or Sunday dates encountered will be considered invalid and omitted; however they will not be reported unless the -showbad command line option is used. If omit is set then Saturday or Sunday dates can generate a bad date error in some circumstances, such as when given in an axis range.
    If adjust or yes, any Saturday or Sunday dates encountered will be silently adjusted to the nearest weekday. This is more lenient than omit, and avoids the possibility of a bad date error.    

pivotyear     yy

    Set the two digit year that should be used to convert two-digit years to four-digit years. If two-digit years are used, year values that are less than the pivot year are assumed to be 21st century years. Default is 77.
    Example: pivotyear: 50    

months     list

    Specify the three-character month abbreviations to be used, all in lower case, beginning with the first month. Default is the English (jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec).
    Example (Spanish) (must all be on one line):
    months: ene feb mar abr pue jun jul ago sep oct nov dic    

months.abbrev     list

    short month names, capitalized for presentation, begining with the first month. Default is English (Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec).
    Example (Spanish) (must all be on one line):
    months.abbrev: Ene Feb Mar Abr Pue Jun Jul Ago Sep Oct Nov Dic    

months.full     list

    full month names, capitalized for presentation.
    Example (Spanish) (must all be on one line):
    months.full: Enero Febrero Marzo Abril Mayo Junio Julio Agosto Septiembre Octubre Noviembre Diciembre    

weekdays     list

    three-character weekday abbreviations, capitalized for presentation, beginning with Sunday.
    Example (French): weekdays: Dim Lun Mar Mer Jeu Ven Sam
    Example (Spanish): weekdays: Dom Lun Mar Mie Jue Vie Sab    

lazydates     month | day | both

    Allow handling of dates where the day component or the month component is not known. See dates for further discussion of lazy dates.    

strictdatelengths     yes | no

    Default is no. Use yes to ensure that malformed date values will be detected-- for example, if the date format is mm/dd/yyyy a date value such as 03/04/2001 would be ok but 3/4/2001 would result in an error. If this attribute is no, format checking is relaxed, and the latter case above would be ok.    

dtsep     character

    Date / time separator character for datetime data items. By default this is dot .. However ISO8601 uses T, eg. 29Mar03T03:16:00 .. This character should be one that never appears in the dates or times themselves.
    Example: dtsep: T


Ploticus 2.42 ... May 2013 Terms of use /