What is PlotReader?

PlotReader is a plot digitizer. It is a Windows program that enables you to retrieve data point coordinates from an image (scanned, photographed or other) that contains a plot. You simply open or paste a plot image in PlotReader, set 2 calibration points per axis, and click all points you want coordinates for. PlotReader will then calculate the original plot coordinates, and allows you to export these to file or clipboard.

Main features:

PlotReader is not a program that automatically retrieves point coordinates by processing an image; you manually click the points you need.

Who would use PlotReader?

Anyone who needs the (numeric) data coordinates from a plot, but does not have access to the original raw data. Scientific articles tend to show only plots, not data point coordinates. Now, anyone with access to such an article can easily obtain good estimates for the original data series.

Originally, I developed PlotReader with applications in the field of theoretical biology in mind. In this field, one often depends on raw data from published experiments in order to calibrate models. PlotReader allows scientists to retrieve these data directly from figures published in articles and reports.

System requirements

Download PlotReader

PlotReader is free. You can download the latest version, 1.55, here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain data from figures in PDF documents?

PlotReader cannot open PDF files directly. The best way to digitize a plot in PDF format is to open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader or a comparable program, set the program to full screen and zoom in on the figure so it fills the window. Then press Alt-Print Screen to save a screenshot to the clipboard. You can then paste this image in PlotReader.


If you encounter bugs, or have any questions or comments regarding PlotReader, send an e-mail to plotreader@xs4all.nl.

Version history

1.55 (November 19, 2010) 1.50 (November 3, 2010) 1.40 (January 13, 2006) 1.35 (December 10, 2004) 1.30 (October 16, 2004) 1.25 (September 26, 2004) 1.10 (August 31, 2004) 1.01 (August 30, 2004) 1.0 (August 30, 2004)

Last update: November 19, 2010. Copyright Jorn Bruggeman.