To follow-up on a previous question TikZ datavisualization or pgfplots?, the current release of TikZ 3.0 has a flexible datavisualization engine that creates the same kind of plots as the more mature plotting package pgfplots.

What is the current recommendation for producing complete plots in LaTeX?


1 Answer 1


Converting my comment into an answer:

As of pgf v3.0, the datavis library is released to CTAN (no longer CVS-only). So the objective answer is "use whichever you prefer". You will likely find proponents on both sides of the fence. But there is a greater user/community support base for pgfplots because, as you note, it is more mature at this point.

I personally prefer pgfplots, because datavis currently feels too verbose/pedantic for my taste. I'd rather have the pgfplots approach of "there are defaults here; customize them if/when needed". But again, this part is opinion-based. My opinion may change over time, and others have different opinions of course.

With a bit of time invested in learning, you can produce beautiful plots with either system. Happy TeXing/plotting! :-)

  • Does pedantic/verbose also imply that it enables users to make more customization?
    – Dilawar
    Sep 19, 2016 at 5:30
  • @Dilawar, I think not, as far as I could see from the Manual datavisualization and PGFplots offer different plots when no customization keys are used but you could customize one to look like the other or the other to look like the one. I think what Paul meant was that in datavis the keys are more verbal, just that. Oct 11, 2016 at 6:04
  • Has your opinion changed now that almost 3 years have passed since you wrote this answer? Would you consider the built-in data visualization library to be sufficiently mature now? How do the user/community support bases of the two alternatives compare nowadays? Have your personal preferences changed?
    – Evan Aad
    Jul 14, 2017 at 8:07
  • Also: what would you recommend to a contemporary person who has not yet learned either of these alternatives, and who can only afford time to learn one of them?
    – Evan Aad
    Jul 14, 2017 at 8:31

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