This module can display interactive line and bar plots in the view layout. A plot chart can display one or more plot series. The plot series specifies the plot type (line, bar, scatter, scatter bar), data source (table and column for x and y data), and appearance (lines style, marker style, etc.).


  • Multiple plots types (Line, Bar, Scatter, Scatter bar), shown in standard view layouts.

  • Configurable chart and axis title, legend, grid lines.

  • Use indexes (0, 1, 2, …) or a table column for X axis values.

  • Multiple plot series can be added to a single plot chart (even showing data from different tables, with different types - plot, bar), and the same series can be added to multiple charts. The same plot chart can be shown in any plot views (even simultaneously).

  • Label can be assigned to each data point (shown in tooltip when hovering over a data point).

  • Interactive editing of data points by drag-and-drop (data in referenced table nodes is updated).

  • Interactive selection of data points (rectangular or free-hand selection).

  • Plot data and display properties are stored in the MRML scene.

  • Plot view can be embedded into module user interfaces. Plot views can emit signals back to the application as the user interacts with a plot, which allows modules to perform additional processing on the selected data points.

How to

Plot values in a table

  • Go to Tables module

  • Select or create a new table

  • Select at least one column with a numeric Data type.

    • Open Column properties section below the table to see data type of the selected column.

    • If data type is not numeric (double, float, int, …) already then choose double for floating-point values (or int for integer values), and then click Convert.

  • Click the Generate an interactive plot... button above the table to create and display a plot from the selected column(s).

If multiple columns are selected then the first numeric column will be used as x axis and others will be used as y axes (each pair will create a new series).

Multiple columns can be selected by holding down Shift or Ctrl key while clicking in the table. if at least one cell is selected in a column then the column is considered as selected.

Keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures

The following keyboard shortcuts are active when a plot view has the focus (after clicked in a plot view).

Key Operation
s switch interaction mode (pan/select points/.../move points)
r reset view to show all data series
u unselect the points selection

Mouse gestures:

  • Left mouse button: depends on interaction mode of the view

    • Pan view: pan view

    • Select points: select points using rectangular selection

    • Freehand select points: select points using free-form selection

    • Move points: move data points by drag-and-drop; this changes values in the referenced table node

  • Middle mouse button: pan view (except in pan view mode; in that case it zooms to selected rectangular region)

  • Right mouse button: zoom in/out along X and Y axes

Panels and their use

Plots module user interface has two sections, one for editing properties of charts and another for editing properties of plots.

Chart section

Choose one or more plot series in Plot data series and then adjust display settings.

Series section

  • Plot type:

    • line or bar: displays a single numeric table column as Y values.

    • scatter and scatter bar: displays two numeric table columns, one is used as X values, the other as Y values.

  • Labels column: a string column can be chosen to be used as labels on values, which are displayed when the mouse hovers over point in the plot.

  • Logarithmic scale: this feature is not tested thoroughly, need to be used with caution.

Information for developers

See examples and other developer information in Developer guide and Script repository.



  • Davide Punzo (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen)

  • Andras Lasso (PerkLab, Queen’s University)


This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement nr. 291-531.