What is the difference between plotting and drawing? I am a foreigner and I have been doing maths for years. Sometimes, I feel that difference but if someone suddenly asks me about it, I cannot describe that feeling.

2 Answers 2


Pictures are always drawn and never plotted. Artists draw. Architects draw blueprints. Engineers draw schematics.

Graphs and charts may be drawn or plotted. The implication is that a plot is exact or somehow determined, where a drawing can be freeform. I would use "plot" when asking math students to make exact graphs, e.g., "Plot y = x2 for x = -5..+5." If I asked a student to "draw the graph of y = x2", then the graph can be rough.

Plotting is also associated with planning a course of action. On a ship you can "plot a course".

There are also computer printers called "plotters" which draw pictures by moving a pen (or something else, like a knife).

  • Artists draw. Conspirators plot.
    – MT_Head
    May 19, 2012 at 21:07
  • When I was like 6th grade I plot functions like |x^2-3x| with ease using pencil and paper. May 22, 2012 at 8:23
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    This may not be my place to say it, but be careful of looking for love in the wrong places. Like sarcasm, it degrades during transmission. May 22, 2012 at 9:27

My mother is an engineer. She is making projects about heating and air-conditioning systems of different buildings. I used to draw for her when I was like 12th grade. Put it simple drawing is the processes of creating the drawing- the dwg file with AutoCAD, while plotting is done after that. To plot one file you need driver of the printer or plotter you will use to print your drawing, hence it is different operation- to make one dwg file compatible with particular printer/plotter before printing the file.

Well I have graduated from one of the best Math High school in Europe. So plotting is the processes of drawing the function with set parameters aka how smooth you want it, how many points you will use and ect.

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