How do I make it go?

Hi everyone! Used to use GraphViz years ago on Mac. Giving it another go now. The Mac version won’t install for me. Which is fine, I installed it on my Windows PC instead. But… I can’t find anything in the documentation on how to actually RUN it. There’s docs on dot files, there’s a doc on the format to use for command line arguments… but is there a guide anywhere on how to actually generate a graph? What’s the command?

Thanks, -A

[sorry if this is too simplified for you, I don’t know your background]
Graphviz is a set of programs & interfaces, but I will assume you want to start with the dot program.
Dot is described here
Dot is “old school” - it is not interactive - no gui.

  1. Using any editor you like (maybe notepad to start), create a dot input file.
  2. start the windows cmd shell or powershell
  3. type dot -c ## just once to make sure dot will be ready to run
  4. to use dot , each time type: dot -Tpng yourfile.gv >yourfile.png ## this assumes you want a png output. It also assumes your input file suffix is .gv
  5. look at the output with a web browser , Paint , or any photo display program

Ah, thanks!
In the whole documentation on the website, it’s almost never mentioned that “dot” is the executable that generates graphs. Did not even know that the “dot” manual was going to be the useful one.

Graphviz was started about the same time that GUIs and bitmap displays began appearing. Over the years, we considered providing a GUI, but we never had the people resources to build one without heavily cutting into our research work on visualization algorithms. Check out the Resources page, which has some pointers to 3rd party GUIs for Graphviz.

In addition to the various layout programs, Graphviz provides a variety of other graph-based tools. One reason we are committed to a command-line interface is the ability to combine these various tools into pipelines or scripts to accomplish automatically much more complicated tasks on graphs.

That said, there is probably a need for a starter document that addresses these points, basically encapsulating what Steve wrote above, followed by a discussion of using Graphviz in pipelines and scripts, all with examples, followed by a pointer to the Resources page.

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Thanks, erg!

A “getting started” page of some sort, I think could be really useful! I hadn’t even realized that the Resources page had GUIs, it’s all pretty buried. I got a VSCode plugin, and it works great!

But that was after a lot of digging and finally being pointed in the right direction. The Download page just has me download the executable and doesn’t even mention that third party tools exist. I had begun to wonder if the project was abandoned. I had actually abandoned trying to get it to work several months ago, and had come back to give it another chance.

Aside from that, I do find graphviz to be a hugely useful tool with an easy syntax that works really well.

Thanks again! -A