Monday, August 15, 2011

Extracting data from published figures

A key aspect of science is comparing your results with those of earlier work. This may seem basic but people do not do it as much as they should. For example, theorists should be comparing their results to actual experimental data.

But this post is just concerned with the mundane practicalities. In the "old days" one would ask experimentalists to send an electronic version of the data. Now it is possible to just extract the data from figures in papers.

A relatively easy way is using DataThief. Last week I downloaded it and found within 2 hours I had figured out how to use it and could produce graphs with my theoretical curves compared to the experimental data.

I welcome ideas on alternatives.


  1. Didn't "old school" guys extract it directly from the ppt files? (After there was such a thing as ppt files)

  2. If you have a mac you could try GraphClick ( It's a really nice software.

  3. Or if you like free things, Plot Digitizer is good.

  4. engauge is also good. I find it easier than datathief.

  5. Hello all,

    To extract data from a database using the massextract utility, you must specify the data that you want to extract from the database using an extraction-filter file. The extraction filter that you use depends on the type of data that you want to extract. Thanks a lot....

    Data Extraction Tool

  6. You are right that key aspect of science is comparing your results with those of earlier work and thanks for telling about DataTheif.I am surely going to try this.
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