Short version: Any suggestion on an Open-Source Software alternative to Grapher/Surfer/Origin/SigmaPlot?

Details: This is not a shopping question. As a scientist I explore and plot data all the time. I have been using Grapher, Surfer, SigmaPlot and Origin... all good ones. But I want to move on to Open Software (an evolution from the point of view of open science, but that's another discussion).

Can you recommend good programs (software) within the open software realm which fits the "plotting" objective? I mean, I don't need it to do statistical analyses (I use R for that), I just want to plot data. If possible it should be usable through a GUI (ie graphically-oriented like those mentioned above, not command-line). This means I want a point-and-click approach, as I think this saves a lot of time by being more intuitive (this opinion could be challenged, but that's not the point of this question).

Also I would like a program which is "popular", ie if I don't understand something I can check forums, etc. rather than find out by myself because I'm one of the 15 users of the program..

Any suggestions? what are the most used and why? have you tried one? This question may seem more fit for other forums (softwarerecs?) but I'm looking for opinions/suggestions from users of the Academia/Research world who are not necessarily "technical enough" to sing up in softwarerecs (audio, web apps, wifi, etc.). Therefore I think the most useful answers will come from this forum and not a software-related one. I think best answers will come from professors, scientists, students, technicians, etc. who work plotting data from different disciplines while they may not care (or not know) about drivers, OS, programming, etc.

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    This seems like a much better fit at softwarerecs.stackexchange.com I can migrate it if you want. – StrongBad Apr 22 '16 at 18:07
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    If you're doing statistics in R already, why not plot in R, too? – ff524 Apr 22 '16 at 19:04
  • @ff524 some people really like guide based plotting. – StrongBad Apr 22 '16 at 22:18
  • @ff524 as I said I want something point-and-click and not command line. R has great plotting capabilities (egg ggplot2) but I find the command-line approach not very good for any graphic task. As I said, that is an opinion and can be discussed but it's not the point of the original question... – terauser Apr 25 '16 at 11:37
  • StrongBad thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I thought on posting it in softwarerecs but in this forum I am sure to be reaching exactly the users who would have good options and opinions from experience. I would use softwarerecs for more IT-related questions (a quick look yields wifi, audio, web apps, etc.) My question is really intended to learn from academia and scientific (research) worlds, as these people could be in (or can relate to) my position/need. Therefore I think the best answers will come from this forum... May I request to leave it here? – terauser Apr 25 '16 at 11:45

GNU Octave is very similar to Matlab - but open source! It has relatively good documentation (see info about plotting here).

Veusz is a well-known option. It's written in Python & QT and is fairly powerful. That said, the documentation isn't all that great (in my opinion). It's my go-to because I've gotten use to it - but there's definitely a fairly large learning curve.

There's also a variety of command-line based options, like gnuplot (very, very powerful), matplotlib (similar to gnuplot, but based around Python and Numpy), PGF/TikZ (if you like LaTeX), and probably a bunch more options I'm not thinking of right now.

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    I wouldn't suggest Octave for publication-quality plots, though. – Massimo Ortolano Apr 22 '16 at 22:33
  • @MassimoOrtolano To be 100% honest, I've never actually used it - I always use Veusz (or Lucidchart). But the Matlab similarity tends to be helpful for anyone who isn't a programmer by trade :) – tonysdg Apr 22 '16 at 22:35

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