Post-Modification of a Figure

Tutorial Video

Plotting a Basic Figure

Supposing we have the following code:

x=[1:10]';
y=2*x;
z=x.^2;
figure;
plot(x,y);
hold('on');
scatter(x,y,z);
hold('off');
figure;

We generate the following bland looking figures below:

Selecting the Figure we Wish to Modify:

Now supposing we want to go back to figure 1 and modify the existing line and scatter plot. First we will need to select figure 1. To do this we can either select figure 1 with the mouse or type:

figure(1)

Assigning the Figure, Axes and Plots to Variable Names

Now we can assign the selected figure to a variable using get current figure gcf

MyFigure=gcf

If we expand all properties we can see Children: [1×1 Axes]

We can now assign the Axes to another variable using:

MyAxes=MyFigure.Children

If we expand all properties we can see Children: [2×1 Graphics]

We can look at this in more detail using:

MyGraphics=MyAxes.Children

We can see the first value in the MyGraphics Array is the Scatter Plot and the second value is the Line Plot.

We can assign the Scatter Plot to a variable:

MyScatter=MyGraphics(1)

If we expand all properties we can see

Annotation: [1×1 matlab.graphics.eventdata.Annotation]
BeingDeleted: 'off'
BusyAction: 'queue'
ButtonDownFcn: ''
CData: [1×3 double]
CDataSource: ''
Children: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
Clipping: 'on'
CreateFcn: ''
DeleteFcn: ''
DisplayName: ''
HandleVisibility: 'on'
HitTest: 'on'
Interruptible: 'on'
LineWidth: 0.5000
Marker: 'o'
MarkerEdgeAlpha: 1
MarkerEdgeColor: 'flat'
MarkerFaceAlpha: 1
MarkerFaceColor: 'none'
Parent: [1×1 Axes]
PickableParts: 'visible'
Selected: 'off'
SelectionHighlight: 'on'
SizeData: [1×10 double]
SizeDataSource: ''
Tag: ''
Type: 'scatter'
UIContextMenu: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
UserData: []
Visible: 'on'
XData: [1×10 double]
XDataSource: ''
YData: [1×10 double]
YDataSource: ''
ZData: [1×0 double]
ZDataSource: ''

We can change these properties using dot indexing:

MyScatter.XData=[2:2:20];
MyScatter.YData=[4:4:40];
MyScatter.SizeData=[40:-4:4];
MyScatter.Marker='d';
MyScatter.LineWidth=2;
MyScatter.MarkerEdgeColor=[0,1,1];
MyScatter.MarkerEdgeAlpha=0.2;
MyScatter.MarkerFaceColor='m';
MyScatter.MarkerFaceAlpha=0.5;

We can now assign the Line Plot to a variable:

MyLine=MyGraphics(2)

If we expand all properties we can see

AlignVertexCenters: 'off'
Annotation: [1×1 matlab.graphics.eventdata.Annotation]
BeingDeleted: 'off'
BusyAction: 'queue'
ButtonDownFcn: ''
Children: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
Clipping: 'on'
Color: [0 0.4470 0.7410]
CreateFcn: ''
DeleteFcn: ''
DisplayName: ''
HandleVisibility: 'on'
HitTest: 'on'
Interruptible: 'on'
LineJoin: 'round'
LineStyle: '-'
LineWidth: 0.5000
Marker: 'none'
MarkerEdgeColor: 'auto'
MarkerFaceColor: 'none'
MarkerIndices: [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10]
MarkerSize: 6
Parent: [1×1 Axes]
PickableParts: 'visible'
Selected: 'off'
SelectionHighlight: 'on'
Tag: ''
Type: 'line'
UIContextMenu: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
UserData: []
Visible: 'on'
XData: [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10]
XDataMode: 'manual'
XDataSource: ''
YData: [2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20]
YDataSource: ''
ZData: [1×0 double]
ZDataSource: ''

Modification Using Dot Indexing

We can change these properties using dot indexing:

MyLine.Color='r';
MyLine.LineStyle=':';
MyLine.LineWidth=2;
MyLine.XData=[2:2:20];
MyLine.YData=[4:4:40];

We can now look at the full properties of MyAxes.

MyAxes

If we expand these properties we can see:

ALim: [0 1]
ALimMode: 'auto'
ActivePositionProperty: 'outerposition'
AlphaScale: 'linear'
Alphamap: [1×64 double]
AmbientLightColor: [1 1 1]
BeingDeleted: 'off'
Box: 'on'
BoxStyle: 'back'
BusyAction: 'queue'
ButtonDownFcn: ''
CLim: [0 1]
CLimMode: 'auto'
CameraPosition: [11 20 17.3205]
CameraPositionMode: 'auto'
CameraTarget: [11 20 0]
CameraTargetMode: 'auto'
CameraUpVector: [0 1 0]
CameraUpVectorMode: 'auto'
CameraViewAngle: 6.6086
CameraViewAngleMode: 'auto'
Children: [2×1 Graphics]
Clipping: 'on'
ClippingStyle: '3dbox'
Color: [1 1 1]
ColorOrder: [7×3 double]
ColorOrderIndex: 3
ColorScale: 'linear'
Colormap: [64×3 double]
CreateFcn: ''
CurrentPoint: [2×3 double]
DataAspectRatio: [9 20 1]
DataAspectRatioMode: 'auto'
DeleteFcn: ''
FontAngle: 'normal'
FontName: 'Helvetica'
FontSize: 10
FontSizeMode: 'auto'
FontSmoothing: 'on'
FontUnits: 'points'
FontWeight: 'normal'
GridAlpha: 0.1500
GridAlphaMode: 'auto'
GridColor: [0.1500 0.1500 0.1500]
GridColorMode: 'auto'
GridLineStyle: '-'
HandleVisibility: 'on'
HitTest: 'on'
Interruptible: 'on'
LabelFontSizeMultiplier: 1.1000
Layer: 'bottom'
Legend: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
LineStyleOrder: '-'
LineStyleOrderIndex: 1
LineWidth: 0.5000
MinorGridAlpha: 0.2500
MinorGridAlphaMode: 'auto'
MinorGridColor: [0.1000 0.1000 0.1000]
MinorGridColorMode: 'auto'
MinorGridLineStyle: ':'
NextPlot: 'replace'
OuterPosition: [0 0 1 1]
Parent: [1×1 Figure]
PickableParts: 'visible'
PlotBoxAspectRatio: [1 0.7896 0.7896]
PlotBoxAspectRatioMode: 'auto'
Position: [0.1300 0.1100 0.7750 0.8150]
Projection: 'orthographic'
Selected: 'off'
SelectionHighlight: 'on'
SortMethod: 'childorder'
Tag: ''
TickDir: 'in'
TickDirMode: 'auto'
TickLabelInterpreter: 'tex'
TickLength: [0.0100 0.0250]
TightInset: [0.0369 0.0540 0.0137 0.0206]
Title: [1×1 Text]
TitleFontSizeMultiplier: 1.1000
TitleFontWeight: 'bold'
Toolbar: [1×1 AxesToolbar]
Type: 'axes'
UIContextMenu: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
Units: 'normalized'
UserData: []
View: [0 90]
Visible: 'on'
XAxis: [1×1 NumericRuler]
XAxisLocation: 'bottom'
XColor: [0.1500 0.1500 0.1500]
XColorMode: 'auto'
XDir: 'normal'
XGrid: 'off'
XLabel: [1×1 Text]
XLim: [2 20]
XLimMode: 'auto'
XMinorGrid: 'off'
XMinorTick: 'off'
XScale: 'linear'
XTick: [2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20]
XTickLabel: {10×1 cell}
XTickLabelMode: 'auto'
XTickLabelRotation: 0
XTickMode: 'auto'
YAxis: [1×1 NumericRuler]
YAxisLocation: 'left'
YColor: [0.1500 0.1500 0.1500]
YColorMode: 'auto'
YDir: 'normal'
YGrid: 'off'
YLabel: [1×1 Text]
YLim: [0 40]
YLimMode: 'auto'
YMinorGrid: 'off'
YMinorTick: 'off'
YScale: 'linear'
YTick: [0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40]
YTickLabel: {9×1 cell}
YTickLabelMode: 'auto'
YTickLabelRotation: 0
YTickMode: 'auto'
ZAxis: [1×1 NumericRuler]
ZColor: [0.1500 0.1500 0.1500]
ZColorMode: 'auto'
ZDir: 'normal'
ZGrid: 'off'
ZLabel: [1×1 Text]
ZLim: [-1 1]
ZLimMode: 'auto'
ZMinorGrid: 'off'
ZMinorTick: 'off'
ZScale: 'linear'
ZTick: [-1 0 1]
ZTickLabel: ''
ZTickLabelMode: 'auto'
ZTickLabelRotation: 0
ZTickMode: 'auto'

These settings can also be adjusted:

MyAxes.Color=[165/255,165/255,165/255];

If we change the color back to white and remove the box

MyAxes.Color=[255/255,255/255,255/255];
MyAxes.Box=0;

We can change the font, the font size and make it italic:

MyAxes.FontName='Calibri';
MyAxes.FontSize=20;
MyAxes.FontAngle='italic';

We can change the Axes Locations:

MyAxes.XAxisLocation='top';
MyAxes.YAxisLocation='right';

We can change the Axes Limits to show a negative value and set the Axes Origins to be at the origin:

MyAxes.XAxisLocation='origin';
MyAxes.YAxisLocation='origin';
MyAxes.XLim=[-30,30];
MyAxes.YLim=[-60,60];

We can change the width and color of the Axes:

MyAxes.LineWidth=2;
MyAxes.XColor='m';
MyAxes.YColor='g';

We can turn on the Major Grid:

MyAxes.XGrid=1;
MyAxes.YGrid=1;

We can change the transparency of the grid:

MyAxes.GridAlpha=1;

We can also have a Minor Grid:

MyAxes.XMinorGrid=1;
MyAxes.YMinorGrid=1;
MyAxes.MinorGridColor='c';
MyAxes.MinorGridLineStyle=':';

For the Axes we have:

MyAxes.XLabel

We can change the String using:

MyAxes.XLabel.String={'x'};
MyAxes.YLabel.String={'y'};
MyAxes.Title.String={'x vs y'};

We can look at the Legend

MyAxes.Legend

Okay it says Graphic place holder. We can however type in:

legend('A','B')
MyAxes.Legend

If we click all properties we can see

AutoUpdate: 'on'
BeingDeleted: 'off'
Box: 'on'
BusyAction: 'queue'
ButtonDownFcn: @bdowncb
Children: [0×0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
Color: [1 1 1]
CreateFcn: ''
DeleteFcn: ''
EdgeColor: [0.1500 0.1500 0.1500]
FontAngle: 'italic'
FontName: 'Calibri'
FontSize: 18
FontWeight: 'normal'
HandleVisibility: 'on'
HitTest: 'on'
Interpreter: 'tex'
Interruptible: 'off'
ItemHitFcn: @defaultItemHitCallback
LineWidth: 2
Location: 'northeast'
NumColumns: 1
NumColumnsMode: 'auto'
Orientation: 'vertical'
Parent: [1×1 Figure]
PickableParts: 'visible'
Position: [0.7696 0.7163 0.1161 0.1536]
Selected: 'off'
SelectionHighlight: 'on'
String: {'A' 'B'}
Tag: 'legend'
TextColor: [0 0 0]
Title: [1×1 Text]
Type: 'legend'
UIContextMenu: [1×1 ContextMenu]
Units: 'normalized'
UserData: []
Visible: 'on'

This shows a legend in a very inconvenient place:

Now that we have the Legend we can use Dot Indexing to change it’s properties:

MyAxes.Legend.Location='SouthWest';
MyAxes.Legend.Box=1;
MyAxes.Legend.Color=[1,1,0];
MyAxes.Legend.FontName='Arial';
MyAxes.Legend.FontAngle='normal';
MyAxes.Legend.FontSize=48;

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