About dgraph

DataGraph works with a command line utility called dgraph that allows you to generate graphs. This is intended for automation and shell scripts and assumes some knowledge of unix commands and working in the terminal.

If you are using the Mac App store version you need to download dgraph separately, since it cannot be included in the application. To download it, use the following command:

curl -o dgraph

If you are using the version downloaded from the Visual Data Tools web site, you can use the above command or just get to it inside the DataGraph application wrapper.  In the Finder, select Go > Go to Folder (Shift-⌘-G) and enter:


If you run the dgraph utility that is inside the application wrapper, it will launch that application. If the dgraph utility is outside the application wrapper it assumes that the DataGraph application is inside the /Applications folder.

Running dgraph

There are three crucial parts to the argument list. The first is the DataGraph file that you want to use as a template. The second is the data file that you want to import into the table. The third is the output that you want to create.

dgraph action.dgraph file.txt out.pdf

Note that typically one or more of those files will have full path names, so the argument list will be a lot longer. 

What this does is to open action.dgraph and then overwrite the table with file.txt. This is done non-graphically, but what happens is exactly the same as if you select all of the visible columns in the table and then import file.txt. The output graph is saved in out.pdf. Only the current figure (the one selected when you saved the DataGraph file) is saved.

You can overwrite variables, change sizes, etc by using command line arguments. To get further explanation, use the -help flag.

dgraph -help

How dgraph works

What happens when you use the dgraph application is that the underlying DataGraph application is launched with the same arguments. It will not open any windows, and it doesn’t matter if you already have a copy of DataGraph running. When it is finished this instance of DataGraph quits.

Learn More

To learn more, watch the Automating Tasks webinar.

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