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Annotation Text Box Properties

Control annotation text box appearance and behavior

Annotation text box properties control the appearance and behavior of an annotation text box object. By changing property values, you can modify certain aspects of the text box.

Starting in R2014b, you can use dot notation to query and set properties.

t = annotation('textbox');
s = t.FontSize;
t.FontSize = 12;

If you are using an earlier release, use the get and set functions instead.

Text

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Text to display, specified as a character array, string array, cell array, or numeric value.

Example: 'my label'

Example: string('my label')

Example: {'first line','second line'}

Example: 123

To include numeric variables with text, use the num2str function. For example:

x = 42;
str = ['The value is ',num2str(x)];

To include special characters, such as superscripts, subscripts, Greek letters, or mathematical symbols use TeX markup. For a list of supported markup, see the Interpreter property.

To create multiline text:

  • Use a string array, where each element contains a line of text, such as string({'line one','line two'}).

  • Use a cell array, where each cell contains a line of text, such as {'first line','second line'}.

  • Use a character array, where each row contains the same number of characters, such as ['abc'; 'ab '].

  • Use sprintf to create text with a new line character, such as sprintf('first line \n second line'). This property converts text with new line characters to cell arrays.

Text that contains only a numeric value is converted using sprintf('%g',value). For example, 12345678 displays as 1.23457e+07.

    Note:   The words default, factory, and remove are reserved words that will not appear in text when quoted as a normal characters. To display any of these words individually, precede them with a backslash, such as '\default' or '\remove'.

Interpretation of text characters, specified as one of these values:

  • 'tex' — Interpret characters using a subset of TeX markup.

  • 'latex' — Interpret characters using LaTeX markup.

  • 'none' — Display literal characters.

TeX Markup

By default, MATLAB® supports a subset of TeX markup. Use TeX markup to add superscripts and subscripts, modify the font type and color, and include special characters in the text.

This table lists the supported modifiers with the Interpreter property set to 'tex'. Modifiers remain in effect until the end of the text. Superscripts and subscripts are an exception because they only modify the next character or the characters within the curly braces.

ModifierDescriptionExample
^{ }Superscript'text^{superscript}'
_{ }Subscript'text_{subscript}'
\bfBold font'\bf text'
\itItalic font'\it text'
\slOblique font (usually the same as italic font)'\sl text'
\rmNormal font'\rm text'
\fontname{specifier}Font name — Set specifier as the name of a font family. You can use this in combination with other modifiers.'\fontname{Courier} text'
\fontsize{specifier}Font size — Set specifier as a numeric scalar value in point units to change the font size.'\fontsize{15} text'
\color{specifier}Font color — Set specifer as one of these colors: red, green, yellow, magenta, blue, black, white, gray, darkGreen, orange, or lightBlue.'\color{magenta} text'
\color[rgb]{specifier}Custom font color — Set specifier as a three-element RGB triplet.'\color[rgb]{0,0.5,0.5} text'

This table lists the supported special characters with the Interpreter property set to 'tex'.

Character SequenceSymbolCharacter SequenceSymbolCharacter SequenceSymbol

\alpha

α

\upsilon

υ

\sim

~

\angle

\phi

Φ

\leq

\ast

*

\chi

χ

\infty

\beta

β

\psi

ψ

\clubsuit

\gamma

γ

\omega

ω

\diamondsuit

\delta

δ

\Gamma

Γ

\heartsuit

\epsilon

ɛ

\Delta

Δ

\spadesuit

\zeta

ζ

\Theta

Θ

\leftrightarrow

\eta

η

\Lambda

Λ

\leftarrow

\theta

Θ

\Xi

Ξ

\Leftarrow

\vartheta

ϑ

\Pi

Π

\uparrow

\iota

ι

\Sigma

Σ

\rightarrow

\kappa

κ

\Upsilon

ϒ

\Rightarrow

\lambda

λ

\Phi

Φ

\downarrow

\mu

µ

\Psi

Ψ

\circ

º

\nu

ν

\Omega

Ω

\pm

±

\xi

ξ

\forall

\geq

\pi

π

\exists

\propto

\rho

ρ

\ni

\partial

\sigma

σ

\cong

\bullet

\varsigma

ς

\approx

\div

÷

\tau

τ

\Re

\neq

\equiv

\oplus

\aleph

\Im

\cup

\wp

\otimes

\subseteq

\oslash

\cap

\in

\supseteq

\supset

\lceil

\subset

\int

\cdot

·

\o

ο

\rfloor

\neg

¬

\nabla

\lfloor

\times

x

\ldots

...

\perp

\surd

\prime

´

\wedge

\varpi

ϖ

\0

\rceil

\rangle

\mid

|

\vee

\langle

\copyright

©

LaTeX Markup

To use LaTeX markup, set the Interpreter property to 'latex'. Use dollar symbols around the text, for example, use '$\int_1^{20} x^2 dx$' for inline mode or '$$\int_1^{20} x^2 dx$$' for display mode.

The displayed text uses the default LaTeX font style. The FontName, FontWeight, and FontAngle properties do not have an effect. To change the font style, use LaTeX markup.

The maximum size of the text that you can use with the LaTeX interpreter is 1200 characters. For multiline text, this reduces by about 10 characters per line.

For more information about the LaTeX system, see The LaTeX Project website at http://www.latex-project.org/.

Font Style

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Text color, specified as a three-element RGB triplet, a character vector of color name, or 'none'. The default RGB triplet value of [0 0 0] corresponds to black. If you set the color to 'none', then the text is invisible.

An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1]; for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7]. This table lists the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

Long NameShort NameRGB Triplet
'yellow''y'[1 1 0]
'magenta''m'[1 0 1]
'cyan''c'[0 1 1]
'red''r'[1 0 0]
'green''g'[0 1 0]
'blue''b'[0 0 1]
'white''w'[1 1 1]
'black''k'[0 0 0]

Example: 'blue'

Example: [0 0 1]

Character slant, specified as 'normal' or 'italic'. Not all fonts have both font styles. Therefore, the italic font might look the same as the normal font.

    Note:   The 'oblique' value has been removed. Use 'italic' instead.

Font name, specified as the name of the font to use or 'FixedWidth'. To display and print properly, the font name must be a font that your system supports. The default font depends on the specific operating system and locale.

To use a fixed-width font that looks good in any locale, use 'FixedWidth'. The 'FixedWidth' value relies on the root FixedWidthFontName property. Setting the root FixedWidthFontName property causes an immediate update of the display to use the new font.

Example: 'Cambria'

Font size, specified as a scalar value greater than 0 in point units. One point equals 1/72 inch. To change the font units, use the FontUnits property.

Example: 12

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | logical

Font size units, specified as one of the values in this table.

UnitsDescription
'points'Points. One point equals 1/72 inch.
'inches'Inches.
'centimeters'Centimeters.
'characters'Based on the default uicontrol font of the graphics root object:
  • Character width = width of letter x.

  • Character height = distance between the baselines of two lines of text.

'normalized'Interpret font size as a fraction of the axes height. If you resize the axes, the font size modifies accordingly. For example, if the FontSize is 0.1 in normalized units, then the text is 1/10 of the axes height.
'pixels'

Pixels.

Starting in R2015b, distances in pixels are independent of your system resolution on Windows® and Macintosh systems:

  • On Windows systems, a pixel is 1/96th of an inch.

  • On Macintosh systems, a pixel is 1/72nd of an inch.

On Linux® systems, the size of a pixel is determined by your system resolution.

If you set both the font size and the font units in one function call, you must set the FontUnits property first so that the axes correctly interprets the specified font size.

Thickness of the text characters, specified as one of these values:

  • 'normal' — Default weight as defined by the particular font

  • 'bold' — Thicker character outlines than normal

MATLAB uses the FontWeight property to select a font from those available on your system. Not all fonts have a bold font weight. Therefore, specifying a bold font weight still can result in the normal font weight.

    Note:   The 'light' and 'demi' font weight values have been removed. Use 'normal' instead.

Text Box

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Line style of box outline, specified as one of the options listed in this table.

Line StyleDescription
'-'Solid line
'--'Dashed line
':'Dotted line
'-.'Dash-dotted line
'none'Box outline is invisible

Width of box outline, specified as a scalar numeric value in point units. One point equals 1/72 inch.

Example: 1.5

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Color of box outline, specified as a three-element RGB triplet, a character vector of a color name, or 'none'. The default RGB triplet value of [0 0 0] corresponds to black. If you set the color to 'none', then the box outline is invisible.

An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1]; for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7]. This table lists the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

Long NameShort NameRGB Triplet
'yellow''y'[1 1 0]
'magenta''m'[1 0 1]
'cyan''c'[0 1 1]
'red''r'[1 0 0]
'green''g'[0 1 0]
'blue''b'[0 0 1]
'white''w'[1 1 1]
'black''k'[0 0 0]

Example: 'blue'

Example: [0 0 1]

Color of text box background, specified as 'none', a three-element RGB triplet, or a character vector of a color name. If you set the background color to 'none', then the background is invisible.

An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1]; for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7]. This table lists the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

Long NameShort NameRGB Triplet
'yellow''y'[1 1 0]
'magenta''m'[1 0 1]
'cyan''c'[0 1 1]
'red''r'[1 0 0]
'green''g'[0 1 0]
'blue''b'[0 0 1]
'white''w'[1 1 1]
'black''k'[0 0 0]

Example: 'blue'

Example: [0 0 1]

Transparency of the background color, specified as a scalar value between 0 and 1. If the value is 1, then the color is opaque. To add transparency, set the property to a value closer to 0, where 0 is completely transparent.

Option to fit the box width and height to the text, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Resize the text box to fit the text.

  • 'off' — Wrap the text to fit the width of the text box. Wrapping can cause some of the text to extend below the text box.

If you resize a text box when in plot edit mode, or if you change the Position property, then the FitBoxToText property changes to 'off'.

The space around the text within the text box, specified as a scalar numeric value in pixel units.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | logical

Location and Size

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Size and location, specified as a four-element vector of the form [x_begin y_begin length height]. The first two elements specify the coordinates for the lower-left corner of the text box. The second two elements specify the length and height of the text box.

By default, the units are normalized to the figure. The lower-left corner of the figure maps to (0,0), and the upper-right corner maps to (1,1). To change the units, use the Units property.

    Note:   If the FitBoxToText property is set to 'on' and you change the String property, then the Position property might not reflect the latest changes until the next time the screen refreshes. To ensure that the position value reflects the latest changes, call drawnow before querying the position when working in a script or function.

Example: [0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5]

Position units, specified as one of the values in this table.

UnitsDescription
'normalized' (default)Normalized with respect to the figure, uipanel, or uitab that contains the annotation. The lower-left corner of the container maps to (0,0) and the upper-right corner maps to (1,1).
'inches'Inches.
'centimeters'Centimeters.
'characters'Based on the default system font character size.
  • Character width = width of letter x.

  • Character height = distance between the baselines of two lines of text.

'points'Points. One point equals 1/72 inch.
'pixels'

Pixels.

Starting in R2015b, distances in pixels are independent of your system resolution on Windows and Macintosh systems:

  • On Windows systems, a pixel is 1/96th of an inch.

  • On Macintosh systems, a pixel is 1/72nd of an inch.

On Linux systems, the size of a pixel is determined by your system resolution.

All units are measured from the lower-left corner of the figure window.

This property affects the Position property. If you change the units, then it is good practice to return it to the default value after completing your computation to prevent affecting other functions that assume Units is set to the default value.

If you specify the Position and Units properties as Name,Value pairs when creating the annotation text box, then the order of specification matters. If you want to define the position with particular units, then you must set the Units property before the Position property.

Horizontal alignment of the text within the text box, specified as one of the values in this table.

ValueResult
'left'

'center'

'right'

Vertical alignment of the text within the text box, specified as one of the values in this table.

ValueResult
'top'

'middle'

'bottom'

    Note:   The 'cap' and 'baseline' values are not recommended. Use the 'top' and 'bottom' values, respectively, instead.

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