Chart Line Properties

Control chart line appearance and behavior

Chart line properties control the appearance and behavior of a chart line object. By changing property values, you can modify certain aspects of the line. Use dot notation to refer to a particular object and property:

h = plot(1:10);
c = h.Color;
h.Color = 'red';

Line

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LineStyleLine style'-' (default) | '--' | ':' | '-.' | 'none'

Line style, specified as one of the line style strings listed in this table.

StringLine StyleResulting Line
'-'Solid line

'--'Dashed line

':'Dotted line

'-.'Dash-dotted line

'none'No lineNo line

LineWidthLine width0.5 (default) | positive value

Line width, specified as a positive value in point units. If the line has markers, then the line width also affects the marker edges.

Example: 0.75

ColorLine color[0 0 0] (default) | RGB triplet | color string | 'none'

Line color, specified as an RGB triplet, a color string, or 'none'. The default RGB triplet value of [0 0 0] corresponds to black. If you specify the Color as 'none', then the line 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 RGB triplet values that have equivalent color strings.

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]

AlignVertexCentersSharp vertical and horizontal lines'off' (default) | 'on'

Sharp vertical and horizontal lines, specified as 'off' or 'on'.

If the associated figure has a GraphicsSmoothing property set to 'on' and a Renderer property set to 'opengl', then the figure applies a smoothing technique to plots. In some cases, this smoothing technique can cause vertical and horizontal lines to appear uneven in thickness or color. Use the AlignVertexCenters property to eliminate the uneven appearance.

  • 'off' — Do not sharpen vertical or horizontal lines. The lines might appear uneven in thickness or color.

  • 'on' — Sharpen vertical and horizontal lines to eliminate an uneven appearance.

    Note:   You must have a graphics card that supports this feature. To see if the feature is supported, type opengl info. If it is supported, then the returned fields contain the line SupportsAlignVertexCenters: 1.

Markers

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MarkerMarker symbol'none' (default) | marker string

Marker symbol, specified as one of the marker strings listed in this table. By default, the chart line object does not display markers. Specifying a marker symbol adds markers at each data point or vertex.

StringMarker Symbol
'o'Circle
'+'Plus sign
'*'Asterisk
'.'Point
'x'Cross
'square' or 's'Square
'diamond' or 'd'Diamond
'^'Upward-pointing triangle
'v'Downward-pointing triangle
'>'Right-pointing triangle
'<'Left-pointing triangle
'pentagram' or 'p'Five-pointed star (pentagram)
'hexagram' or 'h'Six-pointed star (hexagram)
'none'No markers

Example: '+'

Example: 'diamond'

MarkerSizeMarker size6 (default) | positive value

Marker size, specified as a positive value in point units.

Example: 10

MarkerEdgeColorMarker outline color'auto' (default) | 'none' | RGB triplet | color string

Marker outline color, specified as one of these values:

  • 'auto' — Use the same color as the Color property.

  • 'none' — Use no color, which makes unfilled markers invisible.

  • RGB triplet or color string — Use the specified color.

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 RGB triplet values that have equivalent color strings.

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: [0.5 0.5 0.5]

Example: 'blue'

MarkerFaceColorMarker fill color'none' (default) | 'auto' | RGB triplet | color string

Marker fill color, specified as one of these values:

  • 'none' — Use no color, which makes the interior invisible.

  • 'auto' — Use the same color as the Color property for the axes.

  • RGB triplet or color string — Use the specified color.

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 RGB triplet values that have equivalent color strings.

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: [0.3 0.2 0.1]

Example: 'green'

Plotted Data

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XDatax valuesvector

x values, specified as a vector.

  • For 2-D line plots, if you do not specify the x values, then MATLAB® uses the indices of YData as the x values for the plot. XData and YData must have equal lengths.

  • For 3-D line plots, if you do not specify the x values, then MATLAB uses the indices of ZData as the x values for the plot. XData, YData, and ZData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1:10]

YDatay valuesvector

y values, specified as a vector. For 2-D line plots, XData and YData must have equal lengths. For 3-D line plots, XData, YData, and ZData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1:10]

ZDataz valuesvector

z values for the 3-D line plot, specified as a vector. XData, YData, and ZData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1:10]

XDataSourceVariable linked to XData'' (default) | string containing MATLAB workspace variable name

Variable linked to XData, specified as a string containing a MATLAB workspace variable name. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the XData.

By default, there is no linked variable so the value is an empty string, ''. If you link a variable, then MATLAB does not update the XData values immediately. To force an update of the data values, use the refreshdata function.

    Note:   If you change one data source property to a variable that contains data of a different dimension, you might cause the function to generate a warning and not render the graph until you have changed all data source properties to appropriate values.

Example: 'x'

YDataSourceVariable linked to YData'' (default) | string containing MATLAB workspace variable name

Variable linked to YData, specified as a string containing a MATLAB workspace variable name. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the YData.

By default, there is no linked variable so the value is an empty string, ''. If you link a variable, then MATLAB does not update the YData values immediately. To force an update of the data values, use the refreshdata function.

    Note:   If you change one data source property to a variable that contains data of a different dimension, you might cause the function to generate a warning and not render the graph until you have changed all data source properties to appropriate values.

Example: 'y'

ZDataSourceVariable linked to ZData'' (default) | string containing MATLAB workspace variable name

Variable linked to ZData, specified as a string containing a MATLAB workspace variable name. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the ZData.

By default, there is no linked variable so the value is an empty string, ''. If you link a variable, then MATLAB does not update the ZData values immediately. To force an update of the data values, use the refreshdata function.

    Note:   If you change one data source property to a variable that contains data of a different dimension, you might cause the function to generate a warning and not render the graph until you have changed all data source properties to appropriate values.

Example: 'z'

XDataModeSelection mode for XData'auto' (default) | 'manual'

Selection mode for XData, specified as one of these values:

  • 'auto' — Use the indices of the values in YData (or ZData for 3-D plots).

  • 'manual' — Use manually specified values. To specify the values, set the XData property or specify the input argument X to the plotting function.

Visibility

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VisibleVisibility of chart line'on' (default) | 'off'

Visibility of chart line, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Display the chart line.

  • 'off' — Hide the chart line without deleting it. You still can access the properties of an invisible chart line object.

ClippingClipping of chart line to axes limits'on' (default) | 'off'

Clipping of chart line to the axes limits, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Do not display parts of the chart line that are outside the axes limits.

  • 'off' — Display the entire chart line, even if parts of it appear outside the axes limits. Parts of the chart line might appear outside the axes limits if you create a plot, set hold on, freeze the axis scaling, and then create the chart line that is larger than the original plot.

EraseMode(removed) Technique to draw and erase objects'normal' (default) | 'none' | 'xor' | 'background'

    Note:   EraseMode has been removed. You can delete code that accesses the EraseMode property with minimal impact. If you were using EraseMode to create line animations, use the animatedline function instead.

Technique to draw and erase objects, specified as one of these values:

  • 'normal' — Redraw the affected region of the display, performing the three-dimensional analysis necessary to correctly render all objects. This mode produces the most accurate picture, but is the slowest. The other modes are faster, but do not perform a complete redraw and, therefore, are less accurate.

  • 'none' — Do not erase the object when it is moved or destroyed. After you erase the object with EraseMode,'none', it is still visible on the screen. However, you cannot print the object because MATLAB does not store any information on its former location.

  • 'xor' — Draw and erase the object by performing an exclusive OR (XOR) with the color of the screen beneath it. This mode does not damage the color of the objects beneath it. However, the object color depends on the color of whatever is beneath it on the display.

  • 'background' — Erase the object by redrawing it in the axes background color, or the figure background color if the axes Color property is 'none'. This damages objects that are behind the erased object, but properly colors the erased object.

MATLAB always prints figures as if the EraseMode property of all objects is set to 'normal'. This means graphics objects created with EraseMode set to 'none', 'xor', or 'background' can look different on screen than on paper. On screen, MATLAB mathematically combines layers of colors and ignores three-dimensional sorting to obtain greater rendering speed. However, MATLAB does not apply these techniques to the printed output. Use the getframe command or other screen capture applications to create an image of a figure containing nonnormal mode objects.

Identifiers

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TypeType of graphics object'line'

This property is read only.

Type of graphics object, returned as 'line'. Use this property to find all objects of a given type within a plotting hierarchy, for example, searching for the type using findobj.

TagUser-specified tag'' (default) | string

Tag to associate with the chart line, specified as a string. Tags provide a way to identify graphics objects. Use this property to find all objects with a specific tag within a plotting hierarchy, for example, searching for the tag using findobj.

Example: 'January Data'

UserDataData to associate with chart line[] (default) | scalar, vector, or matrix | cell array | character array | table | structure

Data to associate with the chart line object, specified as a scalar, vector, matrix, cell array, character array, table, or structure. MATLAB does not use this data.

To associate multiple sets of data or to attach a field name to the data, use the getappdata and setappdata functions.

Example: 1:100

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | logical | char | struct | table | cell

DisplayNameText used by legend'' (default) | string

Text used by the legend, specified as a string. The text appears next to an icon of the chart line.

  • If you specify text for the chart line object as an input argument to the legend function, then the legend uses the specified text and updates the DisplayName.

  • If you do not specify text for the chart line object as an input argument to the legend function, then the legend uses the text in the DisplayName property. If the DisplayName property does not contain any text, then the legend generates a string. The string has the form 'dataN', where N is the number assigned to the chart line object based on its location in the list of legend entries.

If you edit interactively the string in an existing legend, then MATLAB updates the DisplayName to the edited string.

Example: 'Text Description'

AnnotationLegend icon display styleAnnotation object

This property is read only.

Legend icon display style, returned as an Annotation object. Use this object to include or exclude the chart line from a legend.

  1. Query the Annotation property to get the Annotation object.

  2. Query the LegendInformation property of the Annotation object to get the LegendEntry object.

  3. Specify the IconDisplayStyle property of the LegendEntry object to one of these values:

    • 'on' — Include the chart line object in the legend as one entry (default).

    • 'off' — Do not include the chart line object in the legend.

    • 'children' — Include only children of the chart line object as separate entries in the legend.

If a legend already exists and you change the IconDisplayStyle setting, then you must call legend to update the display.

Parent/Child

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ParentParent of chart lineaxes object | group object | transform object

Parent of chart line, specified as an axes, group, or transform object.

ChildrenChildren of chart lineempty GraphicsPlaceholder array

The chart line has no children. You cannot set this property.

HandleVisibilityVisibility of object handle'on' (default) | 'off' | 'callback'

Visibility of object handle in the Children property of the parent, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — List the chart line object.

  • 'off' — Do not list the chart line object. Use this option to hide object handles when a callback invokes a function that could damage the GUI, such as evaluating a user-typed string.

  • 'callback' — List the chart line object in the Children property of the parent from within callbacks or functions invoked by callbacks, but not from within functions invoked from the command line. Use this option to protect a GUI from command-line users, while allowing callbacks to have access to objects.

If the chart line object is not listed in the Children property of the parent, then functions that obtain object handles by searching the object hierarchy or querying handle properties cannot return it. This includes get, findobj, gca, gcf, gco, newplot, cla, clf, and close.

Hidden object handles are still valid. Set the root ShowHiddenHandles property to 'on' to list all object handles regardless of their HandleVisibility property setting.

Interactive Control

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ButtonDownFcnMouse-click callback'' (default) | function handle | cell array | string

Mouse-click callback, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • String that is a valid MATLAB command or function, which is evaluated in the base workspace (not recommended)

Use this property to execute code when you click the chart line. If you specify this property using a function handle, then MATLAB passes two arguments to the callback function when executing the callback:

  • The chart line object — You can access properties of the chart line object from within the callback function.

  • Event data — This argument is empty for this property. Replace it with the tilde character (~) in the function definition to indicate that this argument is not used.

For more information on how to use function handles to define callback functions, see Callback Definition.

    Note:   If the PickableParts property is set to 'none' or if the HitTest property is set to 'off', then this callback does not execute.

Example: @myCallback

Example: {@myCallback,arg3}

UIContextMenuContext menuuicontextmenu object

Context menu, specified as a uicontextmenu object. Use this property to display a context menu when you right-click the chart line. Create the context menu using the uicontextmenu function.

    Note:   If the PickableParts property is set to 'none' or if the HitTest property is set to 'off', then the context menu does not appear.

SelectedSelection state'off' (default) | 'on'

Selection state, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Selected. If you click the chart line when in plot edit mode, then MATLAB sets its Selected property to 'on'. If the SelectionHighlight property also is set to 'on', then MATLAB displays selection handles around the chart line.

  • 'off' — Not selected.

SelectionHighlightDisplay of selection handles when selected'on' (default) | 'off'

Display of selection handles when selected, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Display selection handles when the Selected property is set to 'on'.

  • 'off' — Never display selection handles, even when the Selected property is set to 'on'.

Callback Execution Control

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PickablePartsAbility to capture mouse clicks'visible' (default) | 'none'

Ability to capture mouse clicks, specified as one of these values:

  • 'visible' — Can capture mouse clicks when visible. The Visible property must be set to 'on' and you must click a part of the chart line that has a defined color. You cannot click a part that has an associated color property set to 'none'. If the plot contains markers, then the entire marker is clickable if either the edge or the fill has a defined color. The HitTest property determines if the chart line responds to the click or if an ancestor does.

  • 'none' — Cannot capture mouse clicks. Clicking the chart line passes the click to the object below it in the current view of the figure window. The HitTest property of the chart line has no effect.

HitTestResponse to captured mouse clicks'on' (default) | 'off'

Response to captured mouse clicks, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Trigger the ButtonDownFcn callback of the chart line. If you have defined the UIContextMenu property, then invoke the context menu.

  • 'off' — Trigger the callbacks for the nearest ancestor of the chart line that has a HitTest property set to 'on' and a PickableParts property value that enables the ancestor to capture mouse clicks.

    Note:   The PickableParts property determines if the chart line object can capture mouse clicks. If it cannot, then the HitTest property has no effect.

InterruptibleCallback interruption'on' (default) | 'off'

Callback interruption, specified as 'on' or 'off'. The Interruptible property determines if a running callback can be interrupted.

    Note:   There are two callback states to consider:

    • The running callback is the currently executing callback.

    • The interrupting callback is a callback that tries to interrupt the running callback.

    Whenever MATLAB invokes a callback, that callback attempts to interrupt a running callback. The Interruptible property of the object owning the running callback determines if interruption is allowed. If interruption is not allowed, then the BusyAction property of the object owning the interrupting callback determines if it is discarded or put in the queue.

If the ButtonDownFcn callback of the chart line is the running callback, then the Interruptible property determines if it another callback can interrupt it:

  • 'on' — Interruptible. Interruption occurs at the next point where MATLAB processes the queue, such as when there is a drawnow, figure, getframe, waitfor, or pause command.

    • If the running callback contains one of these commands, then MATLAB stops the execution of the callback at this point and executes the interrupting callback. MATLAB resumes executing the running callback when the interrupting callback completes. For more information, see Interrupt Callback Execution.

    • If the running callback does not contain one of these commands, then MATLAB finishes executing the callback without interruption.

  • 'off' — Not interruptible. MATLAB finishes executing the running callback without any interruptions.

BusyActionCallback queuing'queue' (default) | 'cancel'

Callback queuing specified as 'queue' or 'cancel'. The BusyAction property determines how MATLAB handles the execution of interrupting callbacks.

    Note:   There are two callback states to consider:

    • The running callback is the currently executing callback.

    • The interrupting callback is a callback that tries to interrupt the running callback.

    Whenever MATLAB invokes a callback, that callback attempts to interrupt a running callback. The Interruptible property of the object owning the running callback determines if interruption is allowed. If interruption is not allowed, then the BusyAction property of the object owning the interrupting callback determines if it is discarded or put in the queue.

If the ButtonDownFcn callback of the chart line tries to interrupt a running callback that cannot be interrupted, then the BusyAction property determines if it is discarded or put in the queue. Specify the BusyAction property as one of these values:

  • 'queue' — Put the interrupting callback in a queue to be processed after the running callback finishes execution. This is the default behavior.

  • 'cancel' — Discard the interrupting callback.

Creation and Deletion Control

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CreateFcnCreation callback'' (default) | function handle | cell array | string

Creation callback, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • String that is a valid MATLAB command or function, which is evaluated in the base workspace (not recommended)

Use this property to execute code when you create the chart line. Setting the CreateFcn property on an existing chart line has no effect. You must define a default value for this property, or define this property using a Name,Value pair during chart line creation. MATLAB executes the callback after creating the chart line and setting all of its properties.

If you specify this callback using a function handle, then MATLAB passes two arguments to the callback function when executing the callback:

  • The chart line object — You can access properties of the chart line object from within the callback function. You also can access the chart line object through the CallbackObject property of the root, which can be queried using the gcbo function.

  • Event data — This argument is empty for this property. Replace it with the tilde character (~) in the function definition to indicate that this argument is not used.

For more information on how to use function handles to define callback functions, see Callback Definition.

Example: @myCallback

Example: {@myCallback,arg3}

DeleteFcnDeletion callback'' (default) | function handle | cell array | string

Deletion callback, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • String that is a valid MATLAB command or function, which is evaluated in the base workspace (not recommended)

Use this property to execute code when you delete the chart line. MATLAB executes the callback before destroying the chart line so that the callback can access its property values.

If you specify this callback using a function handle, then MATLAB passes two arguments to the callback function when executing the callback:

  • The chart line object — You can access properties of the chart line object from within the callback function. You also can access the chart line object through the CallbackObject property of the root, which can be queried using the gcbo function.

  • Event data — This argument is empty for this property. Replace it with the tilde character (~) in the function definition to indicate that this argument is not used.

For more information on how to use function handles to define callback functions, see Callback Definition.

Example: @myCallback

Example: {@myCallback,arg3}

BeingDeletedDeletion status of chart line'off' (default) | 'on'

This property is read only.

Deletion status of chart line, returned as 'on' or 'off'. MATLAB sets the BeingDeleted property to 'on' when the delete function of the chart line begins execution (see the DeleteFcn property). The BeingDeleted property remains set to 'on' until the chart line no longer exists.

Check the value of the BeingDeleted property to verify that the chart line is not about to be deleted before querying or modifying it.

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