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By default, each plot on the graph generates a corresponding entry in the key. This entry contains a plot title and a sample line/point/box of the same color and fill properties as used in the plot itself. The font and textcolor properties control the appearance of the individual plot titles that appear in the key. Setting the textcolor to "variable" causes the text for each key entry to be the same color as the line or fill color for that plot. This was the default in some earlier versions of gnuplot.

The length of the sample line can be controlled by ‘samplen‘. The sample length is computed as the sum of the tic length and <sample_length> times the character width. ‘samplen‘ also affects the positions of point samples in the key since these are drawn at the midpoint of the sample line, even if the sample line itself is not drawn.

The vertical spacing between lines is controlled by ‘spacing‘. The spacing is set equal to the product of the pointsize, the vertical tic size, and <vertical_spacing>. The program will guarantee that the vertical spacing is no smaller than the character height.

The <width_increment> is a number of character widths to be added to or subtracted from the length of the string. This is useful only when you are putting a box around the key and you are using control characters in the text. ‘gnuplot‘ simply counts the number of characters in the string when computing the box width; this allows you to correct it.

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