TOPS-20 Commands Reference Manual


Places requests in a plotter output queue.


@PLOT (FILES) /switch(es) filespec/switch(es),...


switches are keywords, chosen from the list below, indicating your choice of PLOT command options. These switches are of two kinds: job switches and file switches.

Job switches apply to all files specified in the command, no matter where you give the switches.

File switches have different effects depending on their positions in the command line: placed before all files in the command, they act as defaults for all; otherwise they affect only the nearest preceding file.

Defaults are shown in the list of switches

filespec is the specification of a file you wish to plot. You can use wildcard characters (% and *) to specify more than one file.
Summary of PLOT Command Switches (defaults in boldface)
Job Switches
(affecting the entire command)
/ACCOUNT:account Default account - your current account
/AFTER:date and/or time
/FORMS:forms name Default forms name - NORMAL
/JOBNAME:6-character name Default name - first six characters of first filename in request
/LIMIT:n Default n - calculated from length of files
/NOTE:12-character message
/PRIORITY:n Default n - 10
/UNIT:octal number
/USER:user name
File Switches
(affecting only the nearest preceding file, unless placed before all filespecs)
/COPIES:n Default n - 1
/DELETE Default for files of type .LST
/PRESERVE Default for all files except those of type .LST
PLOT Command Switches
Job Switches
(affecting the entire command)
/ACCOUNT:account specifies the account of 39 or fewer characters to charge for your plotting request. This account must be valid for your user name.

Default account - your current account. Check with INFORMATION JOB-STATUS.

/AFTER:date and/or time, or day of week (or TODAY) and/or time ensures that the job will not be plotted until after the date and/or time specified. NOV-12-79 and 18:00 illustrate two arguments to this switch. If you give both date and time, separate them with a space. When given alone, the time may be preceded by a plus sign (+), which will delay processing by the indicated length of time from the present.

Alternatively, you can give a day of the week (such as MONDAY) or TODAY as argument; then the job will not be plotted until the beginning of the following day. If you follow this argument with a plus sign and a time, the job will be further delayed by this amount.

/DESTINATION-NODE:node-name specifies the remote node on whose plotter your request is to be satisfied. Two colons (::) following the node name are optional.
/FORMS:forms name specifies, in six or fewer characters, the forms (determining the size of banner, header, and trailer sections; the paper color, width, and weight; the number of plotter steps per inch, location of the origin for plotted data, and so on.) to use for the plotting job. Using this switch may delay processing until the operator can mount the proper forms. Note that your installation may provide a different default argument to this switch.

Default forms name - NORMAL

/GENERIC allows any plotter to be used for filling the request; use this switch to override a previous /UNIT switch.


/JOBNAME:name assigns a name (of six or fewer characters) to the plotting job.

Default name - first six characters of first filename in the request

/LIMIT:n places a limit of n minutes of plotter time on the output of the plotting job.

Default limits, usually adequate, are computed from the size of the files you want plotted

/NOTE:message labels the header section of output (the section displaying the jobname) with a message or notation of up to 12 characters. The message Must be enclosed in double quotation marks if it contains spaces or non-alphanumeric characters.
tells the system whether to send a message to your terminal when the request has been satisfied.

Default argument - NO

Default argument (if switch is given) - YES

/PRIORITY:n assigns a number n, reflecting the urgency of the plot request. This n must be from 1 to 63, with larger numbers receiving earlier treatment. Note that for non-privileged users the maximum priority that can be specified is lower (usually 20), and that your installation may provide a different value both for this maximum and for the default priority.

Default n - 10

/SEQUENCE:n specifies sequence number n for the printing request, which you can use when modifying or canceling the request.
/UNIT:octal number directs your request to the plotter of the specified octal unit number.
/USER:user name specifies the user who is to be the owner of the plot request. For privileged users only.

File Switches
(affecting only the nearest preceding file, unless placed before all file specifications)
/BEGIN:n starts the plotting at page n of the file.

Default n - 0

/COPIES:n requests that n copies of the file be plotted; n must be less than or equal to 62.

Default n - 1

/DELETE deletes the file after plotting.

Default for files of type .LST

/HEADER causes a header section containing the jobname to be produced before the file itself is plotted.


designates the mode for plotting the file. ASCII treats each word of a disk file as five seven-bit bytes, and truncates each byte to six bits before plotting it. BINARY treats each word as six six-bit bytes, each of which is plotted without modification. IMAGE is the same as BINARY.
/NOHEADER prevents the production of a header section before the file.
/PRESERVE saves the file after plotting.

Default for all files except those of type .LST


Jobname, Request ID, Limit, Number of Input Files

As soon as you complete a valid PLOT command, the system responds by printing, on your terminal, the jobname, request ID number, the limit in minutes of plotter time assigned to the request, and the number of input files in the request.


Ordinary Operation - No Switches

For most purposes you can use the PLOT command with just a series of filespecs for arguments.

Switch Defaults Set by System Manager

The defaults shown in the list of switches are correct for most user sites. However, your system manager can change some of those default settings. The switches most commonly affected are: /FORMS, /HEADER and /NOHEADER, /LIMIT, and /PRIORITY.



If there are switches that you always or usually supply when using PLOT, give the SET DEFAULT PLOT command to establish them as defaults (at the current TOPS-20 command level) for the remainder of your terminal session. The switches will then behave as if you had typed them directly after the command name. You can supersede any of these default switches by actually supplying the switch, with another value, when you give the PLOT command. Put SET DEFAULT PLOT into a file of specification COMAND.CMD in your log-in directory if you want these default switches to be in effect for all levels of future terminal sessions as well.

Special Cases


You can give the special switch, /SPOOLED-OUTPUT, as sole argument to the PLOT command. This causes any spooled output accumulated so far during your terminal session to be placed in a plotter queue immediately, rather than at log-out time. The/SPOOLED-OUTPUT switch is useful only if the SET SPOOLED-OUTPUT DEFERRED command is in effect. Programs that you run (especially FORTRAN programs) may create spooled output for the plotter, or you can create it directly by giving the command, COPY filespec PLT:.

Related Commands

CANCEL for withdrawing PLOT requests
INFORMATION OUTPUT-REQUESTS for examining requests in the output queues
MODIFY for changing PLOT requests before processing has begun
SET DEFAULT PLOT for establishing default switches for subsequent PLOT commands.


  1. Plot a file.
    [Plotter job CNTR queued, request-ID 91, limit 2]
  2. Send all files having a four-character file type ending in "CTH" to the plotter. Assign a jobname to the request, and ensure they are not plotted until tomorrow. Check for the request in the output queues, and then cancel it.
    [Job HATCH Queued, Request-ID 94, Limit 3, 3 Files]
    Plotter Queue:
    Job Name  Req#  Limit  User
    --------  ----  -----  -----------
      CNTR      91      2  LAUDERDALE                    
      HATCH     94      3  ASHLEY /After:21-Jul-79 00:00
    There are 2 jobs in the queue (none in progress)
    [1 Job canceled]