plot [0:40] 20.0*atan(x-20.0) + 32 + sin(x)which would result in the following graph:

The problem is obvious: the function has some interesting modulation close to 0, and close to 60, but it is rather dull between these two extrema. The solution is to cut out the segment between 10, and 60, say.

What we will use is a very handy function in gnuplot 4.4, which lets the user set the position of the graph exactly. In a multiplot, we would usually set the position as

set multiplot set size 1, 0.3 set origin 0, 0.5 plot 'foo' using 1:2 set size 1, 0.2 set origin 0, 0 plot 'bar' using 3:4which produces two graphs of size 1, 0.3, and 1, 0.2, respectively, and places them in such a way that their bottom left corner is at (0, 0.5), and (0, 0). But when we say "the bottom left corner", we actually mean the whole figure, tic marks, axis labels, everything. This means at least two things. One is that if we want to break the axis using a multiplot, the ranges will not necessarily be proportional on the figure, simply because the size referred to the size of the whole graph, and not only to the plotting area. Second, if the size of the tic labels is different in the two graphs, they will no longer be aligned properly. This would happen, e.g., if we were to plot over the ranges [0:9], and [1000:10009]: the first range requires labels of width 1, while the second labels of width 5, therefore, the second graph would be narrower, and its left vertical axis shifted to the right, at least, as far as the plotting area is concerned.

In gnuplot 4.4, however, one can set the positions of the plots, and not the whole graph. This is achieved by issuing a command similar to this

set lmargin at screen 0.1which aligns the left vertical axis of the graph with the point that is at screen position 0.1 along the horizontal direction. There are three more margins, rmargin, tmargin, and bmargin, setting the right hand side, the top, and the bottom of the graph. Specifying the plot's corners explicitly removes the above-mentioned problem with the alignments.

Having said this, our script could read as follows

reset unset key bm = 0.15 lm = 0.12 rm = 0.95 gap = 0.03 size = 0.75 y1 = 0.0; y2 = 11.5; y3 = 58.5; y4 = 64.0 set multiplot set xlabel 'Time [ns]' set border 1+2+8 set xtics nomirror set ytics nomirror set lmargin at screen lm set rmargin at screen rm set bmargin at screen bm set tmargin at screen bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) set yrange [y1:y2] plot [0:40] 20.0*atan(x-20.0) + 32 + sin(x) unset xtics unset xlabel set border 2+4+8 set bmargin at screen bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) + gap set tmargin at screen bm + size + gap set yrange [y3:y4] set label 'Power [mW]' at screen 0.03, bm + 0.5 * (size + gap) offset 0,-strlen("Power [mW]")/4.0 rotate by 90 set arrow from screen lm - gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1)+abs(y4-y3) ) ) - gap / 4.0 to screen \ lm + gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) + gap / 4.0 nohead set arrow from screen lm - gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1)+abs(y4-y3) ) ) - gap / 4.0 + gap to screen \ lm + gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) + gap / 4.0 + gap nohead set arrow from screen rm - gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1)+abs(y4-y3) ) ) - gap / 4.0 to screen \ rm + gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) + gap / 4.0 nohead set arrow from screen rm - gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1)+abs(y4-y3) ) ) - gap / 4.0 + gap to screen \ rm + gap / 4.0, bm + size * (abs(y2-y1) / (abs(y2-y1) + abs(y4-y3) ) ) + gap / 4.0 + gap nohead plot [0:40] 20.0*atan(x-20.0) + 32 + sin(x) unset multiplot

The first couple of lines specify how big a figure we want to have: bm, lm, and rm are the bottom, left, and right margins, respectively. We also define the size of the gap, which we will have between the two plots. y1 through y4 are the definitions of our plot ranges. In other words, the interval between y2, and y3 will be cut out of our figure.

In the multiplot environment, we set the axes (for the bottom figure on the bottom, left, and right, while for the top figure on the top, left, and right), the axis labels (the vertical label we have to set by hand, for otherwise it would be centred on the vertical axis of the bottom or top figure, but not on the whole), and set the positions of the figures. Note that the definition used for tmargin and bmargin makes sure that the two plotted intervals are proportional. Before plotting the second curve, we also set four small headless arrows, which are meant to represent the break in the axes. It can be left out, if not desired, or they can be replaced by two dashed vertical lines.

This method can also be used, if one wants to plot a single curve or data set, but with logarithmic axis on one interval, and linear on the other.