User Guide

Clip is an open-source program designed to help users create illustrations and charts using data from the command line. It’s perfect for people who are comfortable with the terminal and want to avoid the graphical user interface’s hassle. 


Getting Started with Clip

The first step is installing Clip. Since Clip is built on Python, it presupposes that you have Python installed on your system. Python’s wide adoption and support make Clip accessible on various platforms. Installation is managed through Python’s package manager, pip. Launch your command line interface and execute the following command:


pip install clip


This command fetches the latest version of Clip and installs it along with its dependencies. Confirming the installation can be done by running clip –version, which should display the current version of Clip installed on your system.

No additional configuration is required to start using Clip. It is designed to work out of the box, simplifying its usage so you can focus on creating rather than configuring. As you progress, you might want to explore some of Clip’s customization options, which can be adjusted according to your specific needs.

Clip supports numerous chart types, such as bar charts, line graphs, and pie charts. Here’s how you can quickly generate a simple bar chart:

Open your command line interface and type


clip “bar_chart(data=[15, 30, 7, 22], labels=[‘Q1’, ‘Q2’, ‘Q3’, ‘Q4′], title=’Quarterly Sales’)”


This line tells Clip to draw a bar chart with the provided quarterly sales data. The labels correspond to each quarter, and the title on top of the chart reads “Quarterly Sales”. Clip processes this instruction and renders your chart, displaying it immediately if you have configured a default viewer or saved it in a specified format like PNG.

The syntax involves specifying the chart type followed by a set of parentheses containing the data and styling options like colors, labels, and titles. Clip provides a flexible styling system that allows you to customize the appearance according to your preferences or branding requirements.

Clip allows the combination of multiple visual elements to create complex illustrations. Learning how to script these commands effectively opens up possibilities for automating the generation of comprehensive reports or visual data explorations.


Creating Multi-page Reports

The initial stage of report creation involves defining the purpose of the document and understanding the information it needs to convey. This groundwork will guide the selection of data and the type of visualizations you incorporate.

Clip Multi-page ReportWith a firm grasp of what the report needs to achieve, you will script commands in Clip to generate the required charts and graphs. Each part of your data set will potentially need a different type of visualization to express it clearly. Trends over time are often best represented by line charts, while comparisons of categories can be effectively shown with bar charts.

Clip’s command-line interface facilitates the quick generation of these visual aids. Creating a pie chart to illustrate market share or a histogram to show distribution characteristics involves straightforward Clip commands that incorporate data directly from your databases or spreadsheet tools.

Automating tasks reduces repetitive manual work and minimizes the risk of errors. You can fetch the latest data, generate updated charts, and prepare sections of the report without manual intervention. This proves invaluable in dynamic environments such as financial markets, logistic operations, or online retail business analytics where data updates continuously.

Clip needs to be complemented with a tool that can assemble these graphics into a document with additional textual analysis and explanations. Tools like FPDF or ReportLab in Python allow you to script the inclusion of images, text, and graphics into a multi-page PDF file.

You construct the document by programmatically adding pages, inserting the visual content, and overlaying it with text that provides context and interpretation. Each page is crafted to present its part of the report’s narrative, ensuring that the transition between sections is smooth and logical.

Including elements such as embedded hyperlinks, dynamic charts that viewers can manipulate, or even annexes that users can download for further exploration can enhance the user experience. These elements make the report a tool to interact with.


The Script

Create a new Python file and import the necessary modules:


import clip

from fpdf import FPDF


We’ll also use the fpdf package to combine individual charts into a single PDF document. Make sure to install it via pip:


pip install fpdf


Define functions to generate individual charts using Clip. We’ll create a bar chart, a line chart, and a pie chart for our report:


def generate_bar_chart():“bar_chart(data=[10, 20, 30, 40, 50], ” +

             “labels=[‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’], ” +

             “title=’Bar Chart Example’)”, output=’bar_chart.png’)


def generate_line_chart():“line_chart(data=[5, 15, 25, 35, 45], ” +

             “labels=[‘Jan’, ‘Feb’, ‘Mar’, ‘Apr’, ‘May’], ” +

             “title=’Line Chart Example’)”, output=’line_chart.png’)


def generate_pie_chart():“pie_chart(data=[30, 20, 50], ” +

             “labels=[‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘Z’], ” +

             “title=’Pie Chart Example’)”, output=’pie_chart.png’)


Create a function to compile these charts into a multi-page report using FPDF.


def create_pdf_report():

    pdf = FPDF()


    # Title Page


    pdf.set_font(“Arial”, size=24)

    pdf.cell(200, 50, txt=”Multi-Page Data Report”, ln=True, align=’C’)


    # Summary Page


    pdf.set_font(“Arial”, size=15)

    pdf.multi_cell(200, 10, txt=”This report demonstrates multiple data visualizations using Clip. ” +

                                “Below are the charts generated.”)


    # Bar Chart Page


    pdf.image(‘bar_chart.png’, x=10, y=10, w=190)


    # Line Chart Page


    pdf.image(‘line_chart.png’, x=10, y=10, w=190)


    # Pie Chart Page


    pdf.image(‘pie_chart.png’, x=10, y=10, w=190)


    # Conclusion Page


    pdf.set_font(“Arial”, size=15)

    pdf.multi_cell(200, 10, txt=”In conclusion, this report showcased a series of data visualizations ” +

                                “generated using the Clip command line illustration processor.”)




Tie everything together in the main part of the Python script.


if __name__ == “__main__”:






Running this Python script will produce a multi-page PDF report containing the generated charts.


Tips for Advanced Scripting with Clip

Instead of manually updating data for each report, you can write scripts that pull the latest data from databases, APIs, or even web scraping. This ensures your visualizations are always based on the most current information available.

To automatically retrieve data from a web API:


import requests


def fetch_data(api_url):

    response = requests.get(api_url)

    if response.status_code == 200:

        return response.json()


        raise Exception(f”Failed to fetch data: {response.status_code}”)


This script connects to a given API URL, retrieves the data, and returns it in JSON format, which you can then process and use for your Clip visualizations.

After data is fetched dynamically, it can be incorporated into your Clip commands to generate up-to-date visualizations automatically. Consider a dynamic line chart that pulls data points from a web API:


def generate_dynamic_line_chart(data):

    clip_cmd = f”line_chart(data={data[‘values’]}, labels={data[‘labels’]}, title=’Dynamic Line Chart’)”, output=’dynamic_line_chart.png’)


api_url = “”

data = fetch_data(api_url)



This ensures that every time the script is run, the latest data drives the generation of charts.

Implementing error handling helps ensure that your script can gracefully manage unexpected situations without crashing. Using Python’s try-except blocks can catch and handle errors efficiently:


def safe_generate_chart():


        data = fetch_data(“”)


    except Exception as e:

        print(f”An error occurred: {e}”)




If fetching the data or generating the chart fails, the error is caught, and an informative message is printed. This helps in diagnosing issues without stopping the script’s execution abruptly.

Scheduling scripts to run at specific times can automate periodic report generation. On Unix-like systems, you can use cron, while Windows users can leverage Task Scheduler. 


0 0 * * * /usr/bin/python3 /path/to/


Scheduling your scripts, you ensure reports are generated regularly without manual intervention, keeping stakeholders continuously informed with the latest data.

Clip offers numerous parameters for adjusting aesthetics, such as colors, fonts, sizes, and more. Utilize these features to tailor your charts to your specific needs or branding guidelines.

Customizing bar chart colors and adding a subtitle might look like this:


clip “bar_chart(data=[15, 30, 45], labels=[‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’], title=’Custom Bar Chart’, subtitle=’Subtitle Example’, colors=[‘#FF5733’, ‘#33FF57’, ‘#3357FF’])”


These adjustments are more aligned with your presentation standards.

Advanced users need to integrate Clip scripting into larger data processing pipelines. This might involve using workflow management tools like Apache Airflow or Luigi, which can orchestrate complex systems where Clip scripts are one component among many.

Using Airflow you could define a task to generate reports within a broader workflow:


from airflow import DAG

from airflow.operators.python_operator import PythonOperator

from datetime import datetime


def run_clip_script():

    import subprocess[“python3”, “/path/to/”])


default_args = {

    ‘owner’: ‘user’,

    ‘start_date’: datetime(2023, 1, 1),



dag = DAG(‘clip_report_generation’, default_args=default_args, schedule_interval=’@daily’)


generate_report_task = PythonOperator(





You create a more cohesive and automated data processing and reporting system, ensuring seamless operations.


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