I'm having trouble with the boxwidth option in gnuplot when trying to plot a histogramm. Here is the gnuplot script I use to plot the histogram of random numbers normally distributed:

# Parameters
n=50 # number of intervals
min=-5. # min value
max=5. # max value
width = (max-min)/n # interval width

# Function used to map a value to the intervals

# Output
set term png
set output "histogram.png"

# Graph
set xrange [min:max]
set yrange [0:]
set xtics min,(max-min)/5,max
set boxwidth width*0.9
set style fill solid 0.5
set tics out
set yzeroaxis # Add a vertical dotted line at x=0 to show centre (mean) of distribution
set xlabel "Random number"
set ylabel "Frenquency (%)"

# Count and Plot
plot "Random_numbers.txt" u (hist($1,width)):(100.0/ 10000 ) smooth freq w boxes notitle

With this script, the "boxes" are just "lines" (boxes with no width). Do you know why ?

When I remove the line "set boxwidth width*0.9", it works except that the boxes width is "width" (the boxes are touching the adjacent boxes).

Many thanks in advance !

NB : Sorry the image uploading is not working, I hope you can imagine my problem (I want to get a plot like this:

enter image description here

but in my case the boxes have no width, they are just vertical lines) ...

3 Answers 3


I would try a couple of things:

set boxwidth 0.2

And if that works, which it should, then:


Your min and max variables are floats, so you should get a floating point division when you compute width, even with an integer n, but I've noticed some unexpected behaviour from gnuplot in this regard, so it's worth a try.


Seems to work for me (gnuplot Version 4.6 patchlevel 3). You could try

set boxwidth width*0.9 absolute

which appears the same for me. There's an online gnuplot tool but I dont know how to use it.

These online demos which claim to be version 4.0 use a constant value with seemingly ok results:

set boxwidth 0.2 absolute
  • I tried to use this but it doesnt change anything unfortunetely... I have Gnuplot Version 4.0 patchlevel 0
    – JoVe
    Jul 7, 2015 at 11:47

You could try

set boxwidth 0.9 relative

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