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.
PlotReader can obtain images from file (JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, WMF, EMF),
clipboard (bitmap or vector format), scanner or camera. [Windows XP SP1 or higher,
Vista or 7 is needed for image retrieval from scanner or camera.]
PlotReader automatically corrects for tilt. Thus, scans performed at an angle
present no problem.
PlotReader can zoom in on the image, with a maximum of 400%. This allows for
highly accurate results.
PlotReader can deal with logarithmically scaled axes.
PlotReader can automatically locate the center of clicked data points, allowing
fast data entry without requiring high user accuracy.
Data point coordinates are exported to a text file or the clipboard. You have
full control over number formatting and number separators. Thus, PlotReader
output can be used by any data-processing program (e.g. Excel).
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.
Windows 98, ME, NT 4, 2000, XP, Vista or 7
The Microsoft .NET framework 2.0 or higher, freely available
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.55 (November 19, 2010)
1.50 (November 3, 2010)
Improved data point centering: increased performance, selected area is
visualized while mouse button is pressed, centering works on vector images.
Fixed scanning functionality (Windows XP SP1 and higher).
Various minor user interface tweaks.
1.40 (January 13, 2006)
Added: automatic location of data point centers using a magic wand/flood fill algorithm.
Changed: updated user interface with more modern controls and icons.
Changed: PlotReader is now freeware.
1.35 (December 10, 2004)
Added: settings are remembered across runs (including: marker type/size,
colors, text output settings).
Added: option to sort points.
Added: option to hide image navigator.
Changed: less cluttered start-up screen (controls are hidden until image is opened).
Changed: slightly more modern toolbar icons.
Fixed: scroll bars no longer disappear under certain conditions when opening
1.30 (October 16, 2004)
Added: caret-based selection of data points.
Added: toolbar for common functions (e.g. open, paste, save, copy).
Added: option to specify number of decimals used for output.
Added: zoom control (to navigator).
Added: statusbar now reflects mouse function.
Fixed: changes to multiple-point selections through control- and
shift-keys now works according to Microsoft Office rules.
1.25 (September 26, 2004)
Added: navigator-control for easy scrolling.
Added: control over output (number formatting, number separator).
Added: option to copy data point coordinates to clipboard.
Fixed: tab-order of controls is now as expected from user
Fixed: no longer crashes when zoom-to-fit is active and PlotReader is
1.10 (August 31, 2004)
Added: option to import image from scanner or camera (Windows XP only).
Added: option to paste image from clipboard.
Added: option to set colors used in PlotReader interface.
Added: support for multiple-point selections.
Added: support for scrolling image by dragging with mouse button.
Added: 'About PlotReader' dialog.
Added: MSI-based setup application for PlotReader installation.
Changed: default marker type now is 'cross' (previously 'fat cross').
Fixed: now supports Windows XP visual styles wherever possible.
First publicly released evaluation version.
1.01 (August 30, 2004)
Added: support for logarithmically scaled axes.
Added: full checking of axes calibration (points specified?, coordinates
entered?, axes not parallel?, log coordinates positive?), and clear, complete
warnings if calibration is incorrect.
1.0 (August 30, 2004)
Changed: axes are now drawn through calibration points, rather than at x=0 and
Last update: November 19, 2010. Copyright Jorn Bruggeman.