Free plotter | Download Product Review - CNET

Free plotter

Plot precise data points on image files with this free tool.

Digitize It by Alcasa is a free tool for extracting digital plotting data from image files. It has many uses, such as plotting points when the source data isn't available. It's easy to use; simply click on an image with your mouse to plot the point. Collected data can be pasted directly to Excel.

We extracted the zipped download and installed Digitize It, which opened with an interface that is similar in style to graphics editors but notable for floating options and tool tips boxes within the main window. The toolbar icons are mostly familiar with the addition of tools to sort plots by XY or YX values, AutoRead points, and other controls unique to the Digitize It's function. The program can acquire images from scanners, capture screen images, and paste clipboard data as well as import data or load locally stored image data in BMP, ICO, WMF, JPG, and GIF formats. We clicked Picture and selected Import, and then browsed to a digital snapshot. We could zoom and rotate the image as well as set the scale by clicking opposite corners to provide precise scaling data. To plot image data, we simply clicked at any point in the image, and the point appeared in the Data Points table, numbered sequentially and listing the X- and Y-axis to several decimal points. We could easily re-sort the Data Points list, edit it, and save it for a variety of uses, including replotting by other programs. The tabbed Options dialog let us set Axis Scale, the color coding for the AutoRead tool, Interpolation settings, and Pointer options. The tool tips box offered Recommended Procedures in a brief, step-by-step form, and there's a good Help file, though some Vista and Windows 7 users may need to open the Help file from the program folder because of a known issue with later editions of Windows. Digitize It actually bothers to explain it clearly, a welcome surprise.

We found Digitize It to be a precise instrument that is easy to use and easy to recommend, too. It's a great tool for students and practitioners of mathematics, geography, biometrics, anatomy, archaeology, land surveying, construction, and many other fields and disciplines.

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