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3.25.31 label

Arbitrary labels can be placed on the plot using the ‘set label‘ command.


      set label {<tag>} {"<label text>"} {at <position>}
                {left | center | right}
                {norotate | rotate {by <degrees>}}
                {font "<name>{,<size>}"}
                {front | back}
                {textcolor <colorspec>}
                {point <pointstyle> | nopoint}
                {offset <offset>}
      unset label {<tag>}
      show label

The <position> is specified by either x,y or x,y,z, and may be preceded by ‘first‘, ‘second‘, ‘graph‘, ‘screen‘, or ‘character‘ to select the coordinate system. See ‘coordinates‘ for details.

The tag is an integer that is used to identify the label. If no <tag> is given, the lowest unused tag value is assigned automatically. The tag can be used to delete or modify a specific label. To change any attribute of an existing label, use the ‘set label‘ command with the appropriate tag, and specify the parts of the label to be changed.

The <label text> can be a string constant, a string variable, or a string- valued expression. See ‘strings‘, sprintf, and gprintf.

By default, the text is placed flush left against the point x,y,z. To adjust the way the label is positioned with respect to the point x,y,z, add the justification parameter, which may be ‘left‘, ‘right‘ or ‘center‘, indicating that the point is to be at the left, right or center of the text. Labels outside the plotted boundaries are permitted but may interfere with axis labels or other text.

If ‘rotate‘ is given, the label is written vertically (if the terminal can do so, of course). If ‘rotate by <degrees>‘ is given, conforming terminals will try to write the text at the specified angle; non-conforming terminals will treat this as vertical text.

Font and its size can be chosen explicitly by ‘font "<name>{,<size>}"‘ if the terminal supports font settings. Otherwise the default font of the terminal will be used.

Normally the enhanced text mode string interpretation, if enabled for the current terminal, is applied to all text strings including label text. The ‘noenhanced‘ property can be used to exempt a specific label from the enhanced text mode processing. The can be useful if the label contains underscores, for example. See ‘enhanced text‘.

If ‘front‘ is given, the label is written on top of the graphed data. If ‘back‘ is given (the default), the label is written underneath the graphed data. Using ‘front‘ will prevent a label from being obscured by dense data.

‘textcolor <colorspec>‘ changes the color of the label text. <colorspec> can be a linetype, an rgb color, or a palette mapping. See help for colorspec and palette. ‘textcolor‘ may be abbreviated ‘tc‘.

   `tc default` resets the text color to its default state.
   `tc lt <n>` sets the text color to that of line type <n>.
   `tc ls <n>` sets the text color to that of line style <n>.
   `tc palette z` selects a palette color corresponding to the label z position.
   `tc palette cb <val>` selects a color corresponding to <val> on the colorbar.
   `tc palette fraction <val>`, with 0<=val<=1, selects a color corresponding to
       the mapping [0:1] to grays/colors of the palette.
   `tc rgb "#RRGGBB"` selects an arbitrary 24-bit RGB color.

If a <pointstyle> is given, using keywords ‘lt‘, ‘pt‘ and ‘ps‘, see style, a point with the given style and color of the given line type is plotted at the label position and the text of the label is displaced slightly. This option is used by default for placing labels in ‘mouse‘ enhanced terminals. Use ‘nopoint‘ to turn off the drawing of a point near the label (this is the default).

The displacement defaults to 1,1 in pointsize units if a <pointstyle> is given, 0,0 if no <pointstyle> is given. The displacement can be controlled by the optional ‘offset <offset>‘ where <offset> is specified by either x,y or x,y,z, and may be preceded by ‘first‘, ‘second‘, ‘graph‘, ‘screen‘, or ‘character‘ to select the coordinate system. See ‘coordinates‘ for details.

If one (or more) axis is timeseries, the appropriate coordinate should be given as a quoted time string according to the timefmt format string. See xdata and timefmt.

The EEPIC, Imagen, LaTeX, and TPIC drivers allow \\ in a string to specify a newline.

Label coordinates and text can also be read from a data file (see labels).


To set a label at (1,2) to "y=x", use:

      set label "y=x" at 1,2

To set a Sigma of size 24, from the Symbol font set, at the center of the graph, use:

      set label "S" at graph 0.5,0.5 center font "Symbol,24"

To set a label "y=x^2" with the right of the text at (2,3,4), and tag the label as number 3, use:

      set label 3 "y=x^2" at 2,3,4 right

To change the preceding label to center justification, use:

      set label 3 center

To delete label number 2, use:

      unset label 2

To delete all labels, use:

      unset label

To show all labels (in tag order), use:

      show label

To set a label on a graph with a timeseries on the x axis, use, for example:

      set timefmt "%d/%m/%y,%H:%M"
      set label "Harvest" at "25/8/93",1

To display a freshly fitted parameter on the plot with the data and the fitted function, do this after the fit, but before the ‘plot‘:

      set label sprintf("a = %3.5g",par_a) at 30,15
      bfit = gprintf("b = %s*10^%S",par_b)
      set label bfit at 30,20

To display a function definition along with its fitted parameters, use:

      fit f(x) 'datafile' via a,b
      set label GPFUN_f at graph .05,.95
      set label sprintf("a = %g", a) at graph .05,.90 
      set label sprintf("b = %g", b) at graph .05,.85

To set a label displaced a little bit from a small point:

      set label 'origin' at 0,0 point lt 1 pt 2 ps 3 offset 1,-1

To set a label whose color matches the z value (in this case 5.5) of some point on a 3D splot colored using pm3d:

      set label 'text' at 0,0,5.5 tc palette z

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