is it possible to display plots in an emacs buffer?

A.J. Rossini rossini at
Fri May 21 15:52:12 CEST 2004

Stephen is correct -- we played with the idea of inserting figures
(AucTeX will do it for \includegraphics if the LaTeX is written
properly) but then, other than "coolness", is why?  

One possible workflow, in the context of editing Sweave documents, was
to provide just that, a small screenshot of what the figure would be
(just like AucTeX does).  But it's usually too small for real data
analysis (I expand my graphics displays full screen more often than
shrinking them down).

If you can describe a few valid use-cases with plus/minus reasons,
that would be useful for us to decide whether its worth the coding

If someone supplies a patch, then it is :-).


Stephen Eglen <stephen at> writes:

>  > Lets try:
>  > is it possible to display the plots R makes inside an emacs buffer?
>  > 
>  > I hope to get the usual answer... ;-)
> Yes!
> But that's a qualified yes...  I think it is _possible_, but as far as
> I know, no-one has invested time in it.
>  > I'll explain the idea a bit more. When I am working in emacs and make a 
>  > plot, a new X11 window opens, I see the plot and to get back to emacs I 
>  > have to close or minimize the X11, I loose quite a lot of time doing 
>  > this every day. Wouldn't it be great if the plots could be displayed 
>  > directly inside an emacs buffer?
>  > 
>  > I guess opening an X11 device inside an emacs buffer is not possible (am 
>  > I right?) 
> Not sure, but doubtful this would work.  As you said already, recent
> versions of Emacs can open images, in png or other bitmap formats.
> Other Emacs applications, such as preview-latex and imaxima take
> advantage of this:
> So, your approach would be possible indeed.  However, I'd query
> whether this would be the optimal way of working.  Is your screen not
> big enough to contain both an Emacs window and a R X11 graphics
> device?  Having only one window visible on the screen at a time is a
> big constraint.  On my laptop, the default X11 device is too big so
> that it does overlap with the Emacs window, but the X11 device can be
> resized so that they both fit on the screen.
> best wishes, Stephen
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