How can I use a worksheet column for symbols and colors in Grapher?

Grapher has several predefined color names that can be used in a worksheet. The worksheet column can then be used for labels in a graph. The column can contain a color and a symbol.


To set the color, you can use either a predefined color or specify the color by RGB color values.
\black                   \blue                     \green                 
\cyan                    \red                      \magenta
\yellow                  \white                   \gray
\rgbrX                   \rgbgX                  \rgbbX                  \color(r,g,b,a)

In the first three \rgb strings, replace the X with a number between 0 and 255. 0 is no color and 255 is all of that color. In the \color(r,g,b,a), replace the r, g, b, and a options with a number between 0 and 255.


The important thing to remember with both the predefined color names and the RGB names is that you must have a space after the last character and before the symbol.


To determine which characters are available as symbols, you can use the Windows character map.

  1. Click the Windows start button and type charmap in the search box.
  2. In the Character Map dialog, change the Font to the desired symbol set, such as GSI Default Symbols.
  3. Select the symbol shape you want and click the Select and Copy buttons.
  4. In Grapher’s worksheet, click on the cell that should contain the symbol in the appropriate location (after the space after the color name).
  5. Click the Home | Clipboard | Paste command or press CTRL+V on the keyboard. The appropriate keyboard character for the symbol is added to the cell.


Some examples using all of these methods are below.

  • \green *
  • \rgbr200 \rgbb100 \rgbg100 C
  • \color(50, 50, 200, 255) >
  • \blue 2
  • \rgbr200 A
  • \rgbb200 \rgbg75


Once you have the appropriate entries in your data file, turn the symbols off and display labels using this column. So, say you have a line/scatter plot:

  1. Select the line/scatter plot in the Object Manager.
  2. On the Symbol page in the Property Manager, change the Symbol frequency to 0.
  3. On the Labels page, change the Label column to the column with the symbols.
  4. Set both the Horizontal alignment and the Vertical alignment to Center, so the label appears right where the symbol was.
  5. Verify the X offset and Y offset are set to 0.
  6. In the Label Format section, expand Font and set the Face to the symbol set you picked your symbols from in the character map. So, if you used GSI Default Symbols there, set the Face here to GSI Default Symbols.


Updated December 11, 2017

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