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I'm looking for a (hopefully cheap/free) software that could plot functions for academic use.

Until this point, I used MATLAB as a primary tool to draw graphs. Although it 'could' plot any functions I need, actually I feel it is often too tedious and time-consuming to make a nice-looking plot by manipulating scripts.

Something with a simple and formal UI and the capacity to draw implicit/parametric functions would be ideal. Also, I don't care spending a few dollars on good software; so any suggestions would be welcome(except i do care about hundreds of dollars so please leave out Mathematica) :)

Thanks in advance

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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes implicit equations are hard to plot in the usual softwares. I use Surfex for this. Pretty simple to use and produces nice looking plots. $\endgroup$ – OR. Mar 28 '14 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Are u student or employe at university? In both cases Wolfram Mathematica will be most probably offered via your university with free license. I certainly suggest you to use it since other software is either numerical as Matlab or agebraic but less capable as Maple. I used all of them for some time but Mathematica inspired me most =D... Besides, the documentation is really really good! $\endgroup$ – C-Star-W-Star Mar 28 '14 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Mathematica also comes bundled with raspberry-pi computers now for free, so that's a petty cheap way to get it legally. Non commercial license of course. $\endgroup$ – Kai Sikorski Apr 5 '14 at 20:25
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If you are a Mac user, Apple bundles for free a really neat mathematical graphing application called Grapher which you can find in the Applications/Utilities folder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapher

It does everything you ask, including implicit, polar, parametric, fancy 3d plots and animations, live 3D rotations, ... with an elegant user interface too.

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I've found the Java Graphers by David Lippman very quick and easy if you don't want to use a bona-fide math software package.

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Maxima CAS :

  1. implicit plot : standard or draw package
  2. parametric plot

HTH

Adam

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