User Guide
Reference
Examples
Download
Github

Getting Started

Welcome to clip! This page will guide you through creating a simple first plot and then give you pointers to more in-depth documentation. If you don't have clip installed on your machine yet, please take a look at the Installation page first.

In essence, clip is an automated drawing program; it reads an input text file containing a list of drawing instructions and then outputs a result image.

Step 1: First lines

Being a highly visual tool, clip is best explained by example, so here is a minimal example file to get you started. Paste the contents to a file called example_chart.clp:

class: plot;

lines {
  data-x: list(100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900);
  data-y: list(1.2 1.8 1.3 1.6 1.5 1.3 1.8 1.9 2.0);
  limit-y: 0 3;
  limit-x: 0 1000;
  marker-shape: pentagon;
  marker-size: 8pt;
}

You can then run the script through clip using the following command:

$ clip --in example_chart.clp --out example_chart.svg

After running the example, open the output file example_chart.svg. It should look similar to the one below:

Example Chart

Let's analyze the clip script we just ran. The first line of a clip script normally contains a (class ...) declaration. The class controls which module is used to interpret the subsequent expressions. In this example, we are using the plot module. Once the plotting module is loaded, the remainder of the script contains a list of plotting commands.

In the next line, we call a command named lines with a number of keyword arguments. The exact meaning of each of the arguments doesn't matter for now; the specifics are documented on the reference page of the command and you can probably guess what most of them do anyway.

Step 2: Adding axes

To make this into a proper plot, we have to add some axes. For that, we extend the script with a call to the axes command. Add this to the beginning of the file:

axes {
  limit-y: 0 3;
  limit-x: 0 1000;
  label-format-x: scientific();
  label-placement-x: linear-interval(100 100 900);
}

After re-running clip on the updated script, the output should now look much more like the kind of chart we know and love:

Example Chart

When adding the axes command to the script, make sure to add it before the existing, lines command. The order of statements in clip is significant. Commands generally draw over the output of earlier commands, so changing the order of commands will generally give a different result.

Step 3: Adding the legend

To close things out on this example, we're going to add an explanatory legend to our chart using the legend command. Simply add the snippet from below to the file:

legend {
  position: bottom left;

  item {
    label: "Example Data";
    marker-shape: pentagon;
  }
}

Also, let's get rid of the duplicate limit-x and limit-y arguments. This leaves us with this final script:

class: plot;

axes {
  limit-y: 0 3;
  limit-x: 0 1000;
  label-format-x: scientific();
  label-placement-x: linear-interval(100 100 900);
}

lines {
  data-x: list(100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900);
  data-y: list(1.2 1.8 1.3 1.6 1.5 1.3 1.8 1.9 2.0);
  limit-y: 0 3;
  limit-x: 0 1000;
  marker-shape: pentagon;
  marker-size: 8pt;
}

legend {
  position: bottom left;

  item {
    label: "Example Data";
    marker-shape: pentagon;
  }
}

Running the above file through clip again should now yield the following final result:

Example Chart

The next steps

In the interest of keeping this Getting Started page short and easy to digest, this is it for now. You have seen how to create a simple plot using clip -- the rest is just adding more elements to your file and fine-tuning the appearance of individual elements using the arguments described in the documentation of each individual command.

For more information, please take a look at the remaining documentation chapters, in particular at the Examples page and the documentation pages for the individual commands.

Edit this page on GitHub