## Saturday, May 19, 2012

### How to pick out the maximum and minimum points when plotting with gnuplot?

Picking out the maximum and minimum points from a data file may be useful when you want to make some explanation to your graph. It is known that GPVAL_Y_MAX (GPVAL_Y_MIN) is the maximum (minimum) value. But what is the corresponding X coordinate?

With Gnuplot 4.6 the both the x and y coordinate of maximum and minimum points can be find out easily. The method is using new command "stats". This command is used for statistic. When it is run, some statistical results will be gotten. If your data file contains two column of data, (STATS_pos_max_y, STATS_max_y) will be the coordinate of the maximum point and (STATS_pos_min_y, STATS_min_y) will be the coordinate of the minimum point.

For example, we have a data file named "data.dat" like this

```0.1     0.289010715
0.2     0.050630492
0.3     0.721247895
0.4     0.284271151
0.5     0.505051253
0.6     0.101819025
0.7     0.008466133
0.8     0.36249047
0.9     0.487576233
1.0     0.595090343
1.1     0.865255938
1.2     0.696628854
1.3     0.505899456
1.4     0.338131983
1.5     0.108034045
```

Run a gnuplot script as follows

```reset
set term png
set output "max_min.png"
stats "data.dat" u 1:2 nooutput
set xrange [STATS_min_x:STATS_max_x]
set label 1 "Maximun" at STATS_pos_max_y, STATS_max_y offset 1,-0.5
set label 2 "Minimun" at STATS_pos_min_y, STATS_min_y offset 1,0.5
plot "data.dat" w p pt 3 lc rgb"#ff0000" notitle, \
STATS_min_y w l lc rgb"#00ffff" notitle, \
STATS_max_y w l lc rgb"#00ffff" notitle
set output
```

And you will get a graph like the following one.
 Picking out the maximum and minimum points when plotting using gnuplot