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

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 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, 2014 at 14:39
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 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! $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2014 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. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2014 at 20:25

3 Answers 3


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.


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


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.


Maxima CAS :

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




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