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Draws multiple plots of identical size on a single frame.


load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl"  ; This library is automatically loaded
                                                          ; from NCL V6.2.0 onward.
                                                          ; No need for user to explicitly load.

	procedure gsn_panel (
		wks       : graphic,  
		plots [*] : graphic,  
		dims  [*] : integer,  
		res   [1] : logical   



A Workstation identifier. The identifier is one returned either from calling gsn_open_wks or calling create to create a Workstation object.


An array of plot identifiers, each one created by using one of the many gsn functions, or by calling create to create a View object.


An array of integers indicating the configuration of the plots on the frame. dims can either be two integers representing the number of rows and columns of the paneled plots, or a list of integers representing the number of plots per row.


A variable containing an optional list of resources to apply to the paneled plots, attached as attributes. Set to True if you want the attached attributes to be applied, and False if you either don't have any resources to set, or you don't want the resources applied.


This procedure draws multiple plots of identical size on a single frame. The plots are drawn from left to right, top to bottom. If the plots are not the same size, then unexpected results may occur.

The configuration of the plots on the frame are specified via the dims parameter. The default is for dims to represent the number of rows and columns of the plots. If the resource gsnPanelRowSpec is set to True, then dims will represent the number of plots per row.

This procedure works best if each plot is same size or very close to the same size. The first valid plot in the list will be the one used to determine the scale factor for resizing all the plots. For plots that are very different in size, it is better to use the resources vpXF, vpYF, vpWidthF, and vpHeightF to position and resize each plot. See example 20 on the panel applications page. If your plots are close to the same size, you can use the resource gsnPanelScalePlotIndex to indicate which plot is used to determine the scale factor for resizing all the plots.

When using gsn_panel you should not set gsnMaximize to True in the resource lists that control the look of the individual plots. When paneling, gsnMaximize should only be set in the panel resource list.

If any of the plots are missing, then the location where the plot would normally be will be blank.

There are many resources specific to this procedure. See the gsnPanel resources for a full list.

Common labelbar

A panel feature is to turn on a common labelbar by setting the special panel resource gsnPanelLabelBar to True.

gsn_panel assumes that all of your plots are representable by the same labelbar, so you want to make sure that each plot has the same contour levels. You can use cnLevelSelectionMode and its associated resources to accomplish this. Also, you'll want to set the lbLabelBarOn resource to False for each individual plot before you panel them, so you don't get both individual labelbars and a panel labelbar.

Weird quirk: if you have an array that holds all of your plot ids, the labelbar information is retrieved from the last valid plot in this array, even if you are plotting only a subset of plots from this array.

Some resources you can use to control labelbar appearance:

Main title

To add a main title, use gsnPanelMainString resource. This resource was introduced in V6.4.0; you must use the old "txString" resource if you have an older version. Other "gsnPanelMain" resources are also recognized in V6.4.0. Here are a few:

For older versions of NCL, the "txString" is recognized as a special resource for this procedure, and not in the normal way that txString is normally used.

Some resources you can use to control the main title appearance:

Figure strings

You can add individual figure strings to each paneled plot by setting the special gsnPanelFigureStrings resource to an array of labels. They will be applied to the plots from top to bottom, left to right.

Some resources you can use to control the figure strings:

Plot Rotation

If you want to change the rotation of the plots to landscape or portrait mode for PS or PDF, you need to set gsnMaximize to True, and then set gsnOrientation to "landscape" or "portrait".

Paneling control

There are special resources that you can use in gsn_panel to control the location and appearance of paneled plots:

By default, the paneled plots will fill up as much of a unit square as possible. To force the paneling to only use part of the unit square, set one or more of the following resources:

The X,Y location of the top left corner of each paneled plot is calculated by gsn_panel. You can change these locations with the following resources:

To increase or decrease the amount of white space between paneled plots, use the resources:


If gsn_panel is not behaving as expected, you can set the gsnPanelDebug to True. This will cause a bunch of output to be printed by gsn_panel indicating what X, Y positions (vpXF and vpYF) and height, width (vpHeightF and vpWidthF) values are being set for each plot.

You can then use this information to do your own paneling using vp* resources, and bypass gsn_panel entirely. Of course, if you are generating a common labelbar or title, you will need to construct these yourself.

For several panel examples, see the suite of panel plot examples in the applications section.

See Also

Special gsn resources


Run the script below for a couple of simple panel examples:

load "$NCARG_ROOT/lib/ncarg/nclscripts/csm/gsn_code.ncl"

  PI = 3.14159
  x  = ispan(1,64,1)
  y1 = sin(PI*x/32.)
  y2 = cos(PI*x/32.)
  y3 = sin(PI*x/64.)

  wks = gsn_open_wks("x11","panel")

  xyres          = True
  xyres@gsnDraw  = False
  xyres@gsnFrame = False

  xyres@xyLineColor = "red"
  xy1 = gsn_y(wks,y1,xyres)

  xyres@xyLineColor = "blue"
  xy2 = gsn_y(wks,y2,xyres)

  xyres@xyLineColor = "green"
  xy3 = gsn_y(wks,y3,xyres)

; Panel the plots, first using rows x columns, then using
; number of plots per row
  panel_res                       = True
  panel_res@gsnPanelMainString         = "rows x columns"  ; use "txString" for older versions
  panel_res@gsnPanelFigureStrings = (/"A","B","C"/)

  panel_res@gsnPanelMainString         = "plots per row" ; use "txString" for older versions
  panel_res@gsnPanelRowSpec = True


For some application examples, see the suite of panel plot examples.