I ran a large bootstrap simulation to gather data which I would now like to include in my paper. Currently, I have the data in an Excel spreadsheet so I could get a quick overview of what my results were. The data consists of the following:

  • 2000 samples, where each sample has an "average" and "95% confidence" value
  • The average values are plotted as the blue line in this graph from Excel
  • The positive error bars show the outermost data point after the largest 2.5% values were removed (the 95% confidence value).
  • Note: I am not trying to reproduce the exact style of this plot. I am only interested in producing the best representation of the data for my paper.

Example graphics from Excel

Specific questions:

  1. How would you represent the data and produce a similar graphical representation in LaTeX?
  2. In total there are 3 of these Excel graphs, representing simulations under 3 different conditions. It would be nice to have the option of plotting all 3 results on the same graph. How might this be achieved?
  • 2
    is it possible to provide data to demonstrate with examples ? May 2, 2013 at 19:27
  • 1
    Not a TeX related question...
    – Rod
    May 2, 2013 at 21:42
  • @Rod The first question explicitly contains "in LaTeX". Aug 3, 2015 at 9:16

2 Answers 2


1: Column wise: x y error. pgfplots can produce such graphs. For this amount of data lualatex should be used (pdftex might produce a memory overrun and/or consume much time)

2: Possible with a custom environment e.g. But since you should use a different file for every data set, a simple copy and paste would do.


There are numerous ways to plot the data and include the graph (in a pretty way) into a LaTeX document. The way to do so strongly depends on your personal taste. My favorite 3 are (for all three of them you'll need to export your data into a text-based format, say csv).

  1. Use pgfplots. Very pretty looking graphs, but I am not sure it is the best idea for large datasets.

  2. Use MATLAB, plot in a usual way, then export using matlabfrag and include into LaTeX document using pstool.

  3. Use gnuplot. Then export using tikz terminal. A nice example is here.

When you have made your choice, ask a more specific question to get a more specific answer.

  • you really want to go for gnuplot with this one. However, it might make sense to reduce the number of data point while trying to retain the information. Compiling the tikz file without increasing memory limits (they are set to low by default imho) is not the only issue. The pdf files become really hard to digest depending on the viewer and although giving brilliant quality might be really sluggish to scroll trough. I consider this a valid "tex-related" question although we need sample data. Use fabricated data if the contents are sensitive in terms of publishing.
    – nonsense
    May 2, 2013 at 22:04
  • Actually, in this particular case I would either consider reducing the number of points or would make a high resolution PNG (1200dpi) of the graph area and would put it inside vector axes.
    – amorua
    May 3, 2013 at 6:19

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