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Figure Properties

Control appearance and behavior of figure window

Figures are windows that contain graphics or user interface components. Figure properties control the appearance and behavior of a particular instance of a figure. To modify aspects of a figure, change property values.

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

fig = figure;
u = fig.Units;
fig.Units = 'inches';

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

Figure Appearance

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The figure window background color, specified as an RGB triplet, a predefined color name, or 'none'. If you specify 'none', the figure background color appears black on screen, but if you print it, the background prints as though the figure window is transparent.

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]

Data Types: double | char

Interactive figure docking, specified as one of the following:

  • 'on' — Figure can be docked in the MATLAB® desktop. The Desktop > Dock Figure menu item and the Dock Figure button in the menu bar are enabled.

  • 'off' — MATLAB disables the Desktop > Dock Figure menu item and does not display the figure dock button.

    You cannot set the DockControls property to 'off' if the WindowStyle is set to 'docked'.

Figure menu bar display, specified as 'figure' or 'none'. The MenuBar property enables you to display or hide the default menus at the top of a figure window. Specify 'figure' to display the menu bar. Specify 'none' to hide it.

This property affects only default menus, and does not affect menus defined with the uimenu command.

Menu bars do not appear in figures whose WindowStyle property is set to 'Modal'. If a figure containing uimenu children is changed to 'Modal', the uimenu children still exist in the Children property of the figure. However, the uimenus do not display while WindowStyle is set to 'Modal'.

    Note:   If you do not want to display the default menus in the figure, then set this property to 'none' when you create the figure.

Figure name, specified as a character vector.

Example: figure('Name','Results') sets the figure name to 'Results'.

By default, the figure name is 'Figure n', where n is an integer. When you specify the Name property, the figure title becomes 'Figure n: name'. If you want only the Name value to appear, set IntegerHandle or NumberTitle to 'off'.

Figure window title number, specified as 'on' or 'off'. The NumberTitle property determines whether MATLAB includes the label Figure n in the title bar, where n is the figure Number property value.

If you set IntegerHandle to 'off', then a number does not display in the figure window title, regardless of the NumberTitle property setting.

Figure toolbar display, specified as one of the following:

  • 'auto' — Uses the same value as the MenuBar property.

  • 'figure' — Toolbar displays.

  • 'none' — Toolbar does not display.

This property affects only the default toolbar. It does not affect other toolbars such as, the Camera Toolbar or Plot Edit Toolbar. Selecting Figure Toolbar from the figure View menu sets this property to 'figure'.

Toolbars do not appear in figures whose WindowStyle property is set to 'Modal'. If a figure containing a toolbar is changed to 'Modal', the tool bar children still exist in the Children property of the figure. However, the toolbar does not display while WindowStyle is set to 'Modal'.

    Note:   If you want to hide the default tool bar, then set this property to 'none' when you create the figure.

Figure visibility, specified as 'on' or 'off'. The Visible property determines whether the figure displays on the screen. If the Visible property of a figure is set to 'off', the entire figure is invisible, but you can still specify and access its properties.

Changing the size of an invisible figure triggers the SizeChangedFcn callback when the figure becomes visible.

    Note   Changing the Visible property of a figure does not change the Visible property of its child components even though hiding the figure prevents its children from displaying.

This property has no effect on figures.

Axes and Plot Appearance

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Axes graphics smoothing, specified as 'on' or 'off'. Smoothing reduces the appearance of jagged lines in an axes graphic. MATLAB applies a smoothing technique to an axes graphic (and the axes rulers) if GraphicsSmoothing is set to 'on', and either of these conditions is true:

  • The Renderer property is set to 'painters'.

  • The Renderer property is set to 'opengl' and your hardware card supports OpenGL®.

If your axes graphic contains mostly vertical or horizontal lines, consider setting the GraphicsSmoothing property to 'on' and the line or lines AlignVertexCenters property to 'on'. The smoothing technique sacrifices some sharpness for smoothness, which might be particularly noticeable in such graphics.

    Note:   Graphics smoothing has no affect on text. MATLAB smooths text regardless of the value of the GraphicsSmoothing property.

Rendering method used for screen display and printing, specified as one of these values:

  • 'opengl' — OpenGL renderer. This option enables MATLAB to access graphics hardware if it is available on your system. The OpenGL renderer displays objects sorted in front to back order, as seen on the monitor. Lines always draw in front of faces when at the same location on the plane of the monitor.

  • 'painters' — Painters renderer. This option works well for axes in a 2-D view. In 2-D, the Painters renderer sorts graphics objects by child order (order specified). In 3-D, the Painters renderer sorts objects in front to back order. However, it might not correctly draw intersecting polygons in 3-D.

    Note:   The 'zbuffer' option has been removed. Use 'opengl' or 'painters' instead.

OpenGL Hardware and Software Implementations

OpenGL is available on all computers that run MATLAB since a software version of OpenGL is built-into MATLAB. However, if you have graphics hardware that supports a hardware-accelerated version of OpenGL, then MATLAB automatically uses the hardware-accelerated version to increase performance.

In some cases, MATLAB automatically uses software OpenGL even if a hardware version is available. For example, MATLAB uses the software version if it detects graphics hardware with known driver issues or detects that you are using a virtual machine or remote desktop on Windows®.

MATLAB issues a warning if it cannot find a usable OpenGL library.

Software OpenGL Selection

To switch from hardware to software OpenGL, do the following:

  • On Linux® systems, start MATLAB with the command matlab -softwareopengl.

  • On Windows systems, execute the command opengl software in MATLAB or start MATLAB with the command matlab -softwareopengl.

  • On Macintosh systems, software OpenGL is not supported.

The following software versions are available:

  • On Linux systems, MATLAB uses the software implementation of OpenGL that is included in the MATLAB distribution.

  • On Windows, OpenGL is available as part of the operating system. If you experience problems with OpenGL, contact your graphics driver vendor to obtain the latest qualified version of OpenGL.

  • On Macintosh systems, software OpenGL is not available.

Determine OpenGL Library Version

To determine the version and vendor of the OpenGL library that MATLAB is using on your system, type the following command at the MATLAB prompt:

opengl info

The returned information contains a line that indicates if MATLAB is using software OpenGL (Software = true) or hardware-accelerated OpenGL (Software = false).

This command also returns a list of extensions to the OpenGL specification that are available with the particular library MATLAB is using. Include this information if you report a bug.

Be aware that issuing the opengl info command causes MATLAB to initialize OpenGL.

XServer Connection Lost

When using Linux, if there is a break in the connection to the XServer, MATLAB can crash with a segmentation violation . If this happens, ensure that the system has the latest XServer installed.

On a Linux system, you also can try upgrading the OpenGL driver or starting MATLAB with software OpenGL using this command:

 matlab -softwareopengl

Renderer selection, specified as:

  • 'auto' — MATLAB selects the rendering method for printing and screen display based on the size and complexity of the graphics objects in the figure.

  • 'manual' — MATLAB uses the renderer specified with the Renderer property.

MATLAB sets the RendererMode property to 'manual' if you explicitly set the Renderer property to 'painters' or 'opengl'.

Color and Transparency Mapping

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Transparency map for Axes content, specified as an array of finite alpha values that progress linearly from 0 to 1. The size of the array can be m-by-1 or 1-by-m. MATLAB accesses alpha values by their index in the vector. Alphamaps can be any length.

Alphamaps affect the rendering of objects created with the surface, image, and patch functions, but do not affect other graphics objects.

Color map for axes content of a figure, specified as an m-by-3 array of RGB (red, green, blue) triplets that define m individual colors.

Example: figure('Colormap',[1 0 1; 0 0 1; 1 1 0]) sets the color map to three colors: magenta, blue, and yellow.

MATLAB accesses these colors by their row number.

Color maps affect the rendering of objects created with the surface, image, and patch functions, but generally do not affect other graphics objects.

Location and Size

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Location and size of the figure, excluding borders, title bar, menu bar, and tool bars. This property value is specified as a four-element vector of the form [left bottom width height].

This table describes each element in the Position vector.

ElementDescription
leftDistance from the left edge of the primary display to the inner left edge of the figure window. This value can be negative on systems that have more than one monitor.

If the figure is docked, then this value is relative to the Figure panel within the MATLAB desktop.
bottomDistance from the bottom edge of the primary display to the inner bottom edge of the figure window. This value can be negative on systems that have more than one monitor.

If the figure is docked, then this value is relative to the Figure panel within the MATLAB desktop.
widthDistance between the right and left inner edges of the figure.
heightDistance between the top and bottom inner edges of the figure.

All measurements are in units specified by the Units property.

You cannot specify the figure Position property when the figure is docked.

To place the full window, including the borders, title bar, menu bar, tool bars, use the OuterPosition property.

    Note:   The Windows operating system enforces a minimum figure window width. If you specify a width below that value, the figure will display at the Windows minimum width.

Location and size of the figure, including borders, title bar, menu bar, and tool bars. This property value is specified as a vector of the form [left bottom width height].

This table describes each element in the vector.

ElementDescription
leftDistance from the left edge of the primary display to the outer left edge of the figure window. This value can be negative on systems that have more than one monitor.

If the figure is docked, then this value is relative to the Figure panel within the MATLAB desktop.
bottomDistance from the bottom edge of the primary display to the outer bottom edge of the figure window. This value can be negative on systems that have more than one monitor.

If the figure is docked, then this value is relative to the Figure panel within the MATLAB desktop.
widthDistance between the right and left outer edges of the figure.
heightDistance between the top and bottom outer edges of the figure.

All measurements are in units specified by the Units property.

You cannot specify the figure OuterPosition property when the figure is docked.

    Note:   The Windows operating system enforces a minimum figure window width. If you specify a width below that value, the figure will display at the Windows minimum width.

Location and size of the figure, excluding borders, title bar, menu bar, and tool bars. This property value is specified as a vector of the form [left bottom width height]. All measurements are in units specified by the Units property.

This property value is identical to the Position property value.

Units of measurement, specified one of the values from this table.

Units ValueDescription
'pixels' (default)

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.

'normalized'These units are normalized with respect to the parent container. The lower-left corner of the container maps to (0,0) and the upper-right corner maps to (1,1).
'inches'Inches.
'centimeters'Centimeters.
'points'Points. One point equals 1/72nd of an inch.
'characters'

These units are based on the default uicontrol font of the graphics root object:

  • Character width = width of the letter x.

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

To access the default uicontrol font, use get(groot,'defaultuicontrolFontName') or set(groot,'defaultuicontrolFontName').

MATLAB measures all units from the lower left corner of the parent object.

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

The order in which you specify the Units and Position properties has these effects:

  • If you specify the Units before the Position property, then MATLAB sets Position using the units you specify.

  • If you specify the Units property after the Position property, MATLAB sets the position using the default Units. Then, MATLAB converts the Position value to the equivalent value in units you specify.

Window resize mode, specified as:

  • 'on' — Users can resize the figure window.

  • 'off' — Users cannot resize the figure window. The figure window does not display any resizing controls.

Callback function that executes when the figure size changes, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Define this callback function when you want to customize a UI layout beyond what the Position and Units properties provide.

The SizeChangedFcn callback executes under these circumstances:

  • The figure becomes visible for the first time.

  • The figure is visible while its drawable area changes. The drawable area is the area inside the outer bounds of the figure.

  • The figure becomes visible for the first time after its drawable area changes. This situation occurs when the drawable area changes while the figure is invisible, and then it becomes visible later.

These are some of the important characteristics of the SizeChangedFcn callback and some recommended best practices:

  • Consider delaying the display of the figure until after all the variables that the figure's SizeChangedFcn uses are defined. This practice can prevent the figure's SizeChangedFcn callback from returning an error. To delay the display of the figure, set its Visible property to 'off'. Then, set the Visible property to 'on' after you define the variables that your SizeChangedFcn callback uses.

  • Use the gcbo function in your SizeChangedFcn code to get the figure object that the user is resizing.

Example: Uicontrol That has Constant Height

Use the SizeChangedFcn callback to constrain the size of UI components. For instance, create a program file called sbar.m that contains the following code.

If you are using R2014b or later, use dot notation to set and query properties:

function sbar(src,callbackdata)
   u = findobj(gcbo,'Tag','StatusBar');
   fig = gcbo;
   old_units = fig.Units;
   fig.Units = 'pixels';
   sbar_units = u.Units;
   u.Units = 'pixels';
   figpos = fig.Position;
   upos = [1 figpos(4) - 20 figpos(3) 20];
   u.Position = upos;
   u.Units = sbar_units;
   fig.Units = old_units;
   u.Visible = 'on';
end

If you are using R2014a or an earlier release, use this code instead.

function sbar(src,callbackdata)
   u = findobj(gcbo,'Tag','StatusBar');
   fig = gcbo;
   old_units = get(fig,'Units');
   set(fig,'Units','pixels');
   sbar_units = get(u,'Units');
   set(u,'Units','pixels');
   figpos = get(fig,'Position');
   upos = [1 figpos(4) - 20 figpos(3) 20];
   set(u,'Position',upos);
   set(u,'Units',sbar_units);
   set(fig,'Units',old_units);
   set(u,'Visible','on');
end

After saving sbar.m, run this code in the Command Window:

f = figure('Visible','off','SizeChangedFcn',@sbar); 
u = uicontrol('Style','edit','Tag','StatusBar');
f.Visible = 'on';
% For R2014a and earlier: set(f,'Visible','on');

The sbar function maintains a 20-pixel uicontrol height and sets the uicontrol width equal to the width of the figure. Notice the use of the findobj function to retrieve the uicontrol object. This function also calls the gcbo function to access the figure object.

Data Types: function_handle | cell | char

Callback function that executes when the figure size changes, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

    Note:   Use of the ResizeFcn property is not recommended. It might be removed in a future release. Use SizeChangedFcn instead.

Data Types: function_handle | cell | char

Multiple Plots

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Directive on how to add next plot, specified as 'add', 'new', 'replace', or 'replacechildren'.

This table describes the effects of each value.

Property ValueEffect
'new'

Creates a new figure and uses it as the current figure.

'add'

Adds new graphics objects without clearing or resetting the current figure.

'replacechildren'

Removes all axes objects who are not hidden before adding new objects. Does not reset figure properties.

Equivalent to using the clf command.

'replace'

Removes all axes objects and resets figure properties to their defaults before adding new graphics objects.

Equivalent to using the clf reset command.

Consider using the newplot function to handle the NextPlot property. For more information, see the axes NextPlot property and Prepare Figures and Axes for Graphs.

Interactive Control

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    Note:   The behavior of the Selected property changed in R2014b, and it is not recommended. It no longer has any effect on figures. This property might be removed in a future release.

    Note:   Use of the figure SelectionHighlight property is not recommended. This property might be removed in a future release.

This property has no effect on figures.

Callback Execution Control

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

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 the 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 into a queue.

If a figure callback is the running callback, then the Interruptible property determines if it can be interrupted by another callback. The Interruptible property has two possible values:

  • 'on' — A callback can interrupt the running callback. The interruption occurs at the next point where MATLAB processes the queue, such as when there is a drawnow, figure, getframe, waitfor, or pause.

    • 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.

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

  • 'off' — A callback cannot interrupt the running callback. MATLAB finishes executing the running callback without any interruptions. This is the default behavior.

    Note:   Callback interruption and execution behave differently in these situations:

    • If the interrupting callback is a DeleteFcn, CloseRequestFcn, or SizeChangedFcn callback, then the interruption occurs regardless of the Interruptible property value.

    • If the running callback is currently executing the waitfor function, then the interruption occurs regardless of the Interruptible property value.

    • Timer objects execute according to schedule regardless of the Interruptible property value.

    • MATLAB does not save the state of properties or the display when an interruption occurs. For example, the handle returned by the gca or gcf command might change when another callback executes.

See Interrupt Callback Execution for an example that shows how the Interruptible and BusyAction properties affect the behavior of a program.

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

The BusyAction property of the source of the interrupting callback determines how MATLAB handles its execution. The BusyAction property has these values:

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

  • 'cancel' — Do not execute the interrupting callback.

Whenever MATLAB invokes a callback, that callback always attempts to interrupt an executing callback. The Interruptible property of the object whose callback is running determines if interruption is allowed. If Interruptible is set to:

  • on — Interruption occurs at the next point where MATLAB processes the queue. This is the default.

  • off — The BusyAction property (of the object owning the interrupting callback) determines if MATLAB enqueues or ignores the interrupting callback.

See Interrupt Callback Execution for an example that shows how the BusyAction and Interruptible properties affect the behavior of a program.

Ability to become current object, specified as 'on' or 'off':

  • Setting the value to 'on' allows the figure to become the current object when the user clicks on it. A value of 'on' also allows the figure CurrentObject property and the gco function to report the figure as the current object.

  • Setting the value to 'off' sets the figure CurrentObject property to an empty GraphicsPlaceholder array when the user clicks on the figure.

Keyboard Control

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The last key pressed in the figure, returned as a character. Use the CurrentCharacter property to obtain user input.

The callback function that executes when a user presses a key, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: figure('KeyPressFcn',@myfun) specifies the key-press callback function as a function handle.

Example: figure('KeyPressFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the key-press callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback function executes when the figure window has focus and the user presses a key. If you do not define a function for this property, MATLAB passes key presses to the Command Window. Repeated key presses retain the focus of the figure, and the function executes with each key press. If the user presses multiple keys at approximately the same time, MATLAB detects the key press for the last key pressed.

If you specify this property as a function handle (or cell array containing a function handle), MATLAB passes an object containing callback data as the second argument to the callback function. This object contains the properties described in the following table. You can access these properties inside the callback function using dot notation.

Property

Contents

Character

The character that displays as a result of pressing the key or keys. The character can be empty or unprintable.

Modifier

A cell array containing the names of one or more modifier keys that are being pressed (such as , control, alt, shift). On Macintosh computers, the cell array contains 'command' when the command modifier key is pressed.

Key

The key being pressed, identified by the (lowercase) label on the key, or a descriptive word.

SourceThe object that has focus when the user presses the key.
EventnameThe action that caused the callback function to execute.

Pressing modifier keys affects the callback data in the following ways:

  • Modifier keys can affect the Character property, but do not change the Key property.

  • Certain keys, and keys modified with Ctrl, put unprintable characters in the Character property.

  • Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and several other keys, do not generate Character property data.

You also can query the CurrentCharacter property of the figure to determine which character the user pressed.

Key press callback function, specified as one of these values

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: figure('KeyReleaseFcn',@myfun) specifies the key-release callback function as a function handle.

Example: figure('KeyReleaseFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the key-release callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback function executes when the figure object has focus and the user releases a key.

If you specify this property as a function handle (or cell array containing a function handle), MATLAB passes an object containing callback data as the second argument to the callback function. This object contains the properties described in the following table. You can access these properties inside the callback function using dot notation.

Property

Description

Examples:

a

=

Shift

Shift-a

Character

Character interpretation of the key that was released.

'a'

'='

''

'A'

Modifier

Current modifier, such as 'control', or an empty cell array if there is no modifier

{1x0 cell}

{1x0 cell}

{'shift'}

{'shift'}

Key

The key being released, identified by the (lowercase) label on the key, or a descriptive word.

'a'

'equal'

'shift'

'a'

SourceThe object that has focus when the user presses the key.figurefigurefigurefigure
EventnameThe action that caused the callback function to execute.'KeyRelease''KeyRelease''KeyRelease''KeyRelease'

Pressing modifier keys affects the callback data in the following ways:

  • Modifier keys can affect the Character property, but do not change the Key property.

  • Certain keys, and keys modified with Ctrl, put unprintable characters in the Character property.

  • Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and several other keys, do not generate Character property data.

You can also query the CurrentCharacter property of the figure to determine which character the user pressed.

Key-press callback function for the figure window, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: figure('WindowKeyPressFcn',@myfun) specifies the key-press callback function as a function handle.

Example: figure('WindowKeyPressFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the key-press callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about writing callback functions and specifying them as property values, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

The WindowKeyPressFcn callback executes whenever a key press occurs while the figure (or any of its children) has focus.

If you specify this property as a function handle (or cell array containing a function handle), MATLAB passes an object containing callback data as the second argument to the callback function. This object contains the properties described in the following table. You can access these properties inside the callback function using dot notation.

Property

Contents

Character

The character displayed as a result of pressing the key. The character which can be empty or unprintable

Modifier

A cell array containing the names of one or more modifier keys being pressed (such as control, alt, shift). On Macintosh computers, it contains 'command' when pressing the command modifier key.

Key

The key being pressed, identified by the (lowercase) label on the key, or a descriptive word.

SourceThe object that has focus when the user presses the key.
EventnameThe action that caused the callback function to execute.

Key-release callback function for the figure window, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: f = figure('WindowKeyReleaseFcn',@myfun) specifies the key-release callback function as a function handle.

Example: f = figure('WindowKeyReleaseFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the key-release callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback executes whenever a key release occurs while the figure window or any of its children has focus.

If you specify this property as a function handle (or cell array containing a function handle), MATLAB passes an object containing callback data as the second argument to the callback function. This object contains the properties described in the following table. You can access these properties inside the callback function using dot notation.

Property

Contents

Character

The character displayed as a result of the releasing the key or keys. The character which can be empty or unprintable.

Modifier

A cell array containing the names of one or more modifier keys being released (such as control, alt, shift). On Macintosh computers, it contains 'command' when releasing the command modifier key.

Key

The key being released, identified by the (lowercase) label on the key, or a descriptive .

SourceThe object that has focus when the user releases the key.
EventnameThe action that caused the callback function to execute.

Mouse Control

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Button-press callback function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback executes whenever the user clicks a mouse button while the pointer is in the figure window, but not over a child object such as a uicontrol, uipanel, axes, or axes child.

See the figure's SelectionType property to determine whether modifier keys are also pressed.

Location of mouse pointer, returned as a two-element vector. The CurrentPoint property contains the coordinates (x, y) of the mouse pointer, measured from the lower left corner of the figure (in units determined by the Units property).

The coordinates indicate the location of the last mouse click, unless there is a WindowButtonMotionFcn callback defined for the figure. If the WindowButtonMotionFcn callback is defined, then the coordinates indicate the last location of the mouse pointer.

    Note:   If you use the values returned by the CurrentPoint property to plot points, the coordinate values might contain rounding error.

CurrentPoint and Cursor Motion

MATLAB updates CurrentPoint before executing callback functions defined for the figure WindowButtonMotionFcn and WindowButtonUpFcn properties. This enables you to query CurrentPoint from these callback functions. It behaves like this:

  • If you define a callback function for the WindowButtonMotionFcn property or the WindowButtonUpFcn property, then MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property only when the user presses the mouse button within the figure window.

  • If you define a callback function for the WindowButtonMotionFcn property, then MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property just before executing the callback. The WindowButtonMotionFcn property executes only within the figure window, unless the user presses the mouse button within the figure and keeps the mouse button down while moving the pointer around the screen. In this case, the function executes (and MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property) anywhere on the screen until the user releases the mouse button.

  • If you define a callback function for the WindowButtonUpFcn property, then MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property just before executing the callback. The WindowButtonUpFcn callback executes only while the pointer is within the figure window, unless the user presses the mouse button within the window and releases the mouse button anywhere on the screen. In this case, the function executes, preceded by an update of the CurrentPoint property value.

  • If you add a uicontrol or uitable component to the figure, then MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property when the user right-clicks the component, or when they left-click the component while the Enable property of that component is 'off' or 'inactive'.

In some situations (such as when the WindowButtonMotionFcn callback takes a long time to execute and the user moves the pointer very rapidly), the CurrentPoint property might not reflect the actual location of the pointer, but rather the location at the time when the WindowButtonMotionFcn callback began execution.

The root PointerLocation property contains the location of the pointer updated synchronously with pointer movement. However, the location is measured with respect to the screen, not a figure window.

Mouse selection type, returned as 'normal', 'extend' , 'alt' , or 'open'. MATLAB maintains this property to provide information about the last mouse-button press that occurred within the figure window. This information indicates the type of selection made. Selection types are actions that MATLAB generally associates with particular responses from the user interface software (for example, single-clicking a graphics object places it in move or resize mode; double-clicking a file name opens it, and so on).

The value of this property depends on the type of mouse click and the user's operating system.

Selection Type

Microsoft® Windows

Linux

Mac

'normal'

Click left mouse button.

Click left mouse button.

Click left mouse button.

'extend'

Either of the following:

  • Shift-click left mouse button.

  • Click both left and right mouse buttons.

Either of the following:

  • Shift-click left mouse button.

  • Click middle mouse button.

Any one of the following:

  • Shift-click left mouse button.

  • Click middle mouse button.

  • Click both left and right mouse buttons.

'alt'

Control-click left mouse button or click right mouse button.

Control-click left mouse button or click right mouse button.

Control-click left mouse button or click right mouse button.

'open'

Double-click any mouse button.

Double-click any mouse button.

Double-click any mouse button.

    Note:   For a list box (uicontrol), the second click of a double-click sets the SelectionType property to 'open'.

Button press callback function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: figure('WindowButtonDownFcn',@myfun) specifies the button-press callback function as a function handle.

Example: figure('WindowButtonDownFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the button-press callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback executes before all other ButtonDownFcn callbacks within the figure.

    Note:   When using a two-button or three-button mouse on Macintosh systems, right-button and middle-button presses are not always reported. This happens only when a new figure window appears under the mouse cursor and the user clicks the mouse without first moving the mouse. In this circumstance, for the WindowButtonDownFcn callback to work, the user needs to do one of the following:

    • Move the mouse after the figure is created, and then click any mouse button.

    • Press Shift or Ctrl while clicking the left mouse button to perform the Extend and Alternate selection types.

    Pressing the left mouse button (or single mouse button) works without having to take either of the above actions.

For information on how callbacks interact, see the Interruptible and BusyAction properties.

Mouse-motion callback function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback function executes whenever the user moves the pointer within the figure window.

    Note:   On some systems, the WindowButtonMotionFcn callback executes when MATLAB creates a figure, even though there has been no mouse motion within the figure.

Your callback functions might need to update the display by calling the drawnow or pause function, which causes MATLAB to process all callbacks in the queue. Processing the callback queue can cause your callback function to be reentered. Design your code to handle reentrancy and do not depend on global variables that might change state during reentrance.

For information on how callbacks interact, see the Interruptible and BusyAction properties.

Example: Coding Window Button Callback Functions

This example shows how to code all three window button callback functions so that the user can draw lines using mouse motions.

Copy and save the following code to a file on a writable folder on your system. Then, run the code. Click the left mouse button in the axes and move the cursor. Left-click to define the line end point. Right-click to end drawing mode.

function window_motion_test
figure('WindowButtonDownFcn',@wbdcb)
ah = axes('SortMethod','childorder');
axis ([1 10 1 10])
title('Click and drag')
   function wbdcb(src,callbackdata)
     seltype = src.SelectionType;
     % This code uses dot notation to set properties
     % Dot notation runs in R2014b and later.
     % For R2014a and earlier: seltype = get(src,'SelectionType');
     if strcmp(seltype,'normal')
        src.Pointer = 'circle';
        cp = ah.CurrentPoint;
        % For R2014a and earlier: 
        % set(src,'Pointer','circle');
        % cp = get(ah,'CurrentPoint');
        xinit = cp(1,1);
        yinit = cp(1,2);
        hl = line('XData',xinit,'YData',yinit,...
        'Marker','p','color','b');
        src.WindowButtonMotionFcn = @wbmcb;
        src.WindowButtonUpFcn = @wbucb;
        % For R2014a and earlier: 
        % set(src,'WindowButtonMotionFcn',@wbmcb);
        % set(src,'WindowButtonUpFcn',@wbucb);

     end    
 
        function wbmcb(src,callbackdata)
           cp = ah.CurrentPoint;
           % For R2014a and earlier: 
           % cp = get(ah,'CurrentPoint');
           xdat = [xinit,cp(1,1)];
           ydat = [yinit,cp(1,2)];
           hl.XData = xdat;
           hl.YData = ydat;
           % For R2014a and earlier: 
           % set(hl,'XData',xdat);
           % set(hl,'YData',ydat);
           drawnow
        end
   
        function wbucb(src,callbackdata)
           last_seltype = src.SelectionType;
           % For R2014a and earlier: 
           % last_seltype = get(src,'SelectionType');
           if strcmp(last_seltype,'alt')
              src.Pointer = 'arrow';
              src.WindowButtonMotionFcn = '';
              src.WindowButtonUpFcn = '';
              % For R2014a and earlier:
              % set(src,'Pointer','arrow');
              % set(src,'WindowButtonMotionFcn','');
              % set(src,'WindowButtonUpFcn','');
           else
              return
           end
        end
  end
end

Button-release callback function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

Example: figure('WindowButtonUpFcn',@myfun) specifies the button-release callback function as a function handle.

Example: figure('WindowButtonUpFcn',{@myfun,x}) specifies the button-release callback function as a cell array. In this case, the function accepts the input argument, x.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback function executes whenever a user releases a mouse button.

The button-up callback is associated with the figure window in which a previous button-down action occurred. Therefore, the pointer need not be in the figure window when the user releases the button to generate the button-up callback.

If the callback functions defined by the WindowButtonDownFcn or WindowButtonMotionFcn properties contain drawnow commands or call other functions that contain drawnow commands and the Interruptible property is set to 'off', then the WindowButtonUpFcn callback might not be called. You can prevent this situation by setting the Interruptible property to 'on'.

Your callback functions might need to update the display by calling the drawnow or pause function, which causes MATLAB to process all callbacks in the queue. Processing the queue can cause your callback function to be reentered. For example, a drawnow command in the WindowButtonUpFcn callback might result in the WindowButtonUpFcn callback being called again before the first call has finished. Design your code to handle reentrancy and do not depend on global variables that might change state during reentrance.

You can use the Interruptible and BusyAction figure properties to control how callbacks interact.

Mouse-scroll-wheel callback, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback executes when the user moves the mouse-scroll-wheel while the figure has focus. MATLAB executes the callback with each single mouse-scroll-wheel click.

Be aware that it is possible for another object to capture the mouse-scroll-wheel movement from MATLAB. For example, if the figure contains Java® or ActiveX® control objects that are listening for mouse-scroll-wheel movements, then these objects can capture the activity and prevent the WindowScrollWheelFcn callback from executing.

WindowScrollWheelFcn Callback Data

When the callback is a function handle (or cell array containing a function handle), MATLAB passes an object containing callback data as the second argument to the callback function. This object contains the properties described in the following table. You can access these properties inside the callback function using dot notation.

Property

Contents

VerticalScrollCount

A positive or negative integer that indicates the number of mouse-scroll-wheel clicks. Positive values indicate clicks of the wheel scrolled in the down direction. Negative values indicate clicks of the wheel scrolled in the up direction.

VerticalScrollAmount

The current system setting for the number of lines that are scrolled for each click of the scroll wheel. If the mouse property setting for scrolling is set to One screen at a time, the VerticalScrollAmount property is 1.

Effects on Other Properties

The WindowScrollWheelFcn property value has the following effects on these properties:

  • CurrentObject property — The WindowScrollWheelFcn property has no effect on the CurrentObject property.

  • CurrentPoint property — If there is no callback defined for the WindowScrollWheelFcn property, then MATLAB does not update the CurrentPoint property as the user turns the scroll wheel. However, if there is a callback defined for the WindowScrollWheelFcn property, then MATLAB updates the CurrentPoint property just before executing the callback. This enables you to determine the point at which the mouse scrolling occurred.

  • SelectionType property — The WindowScrollWheelFcn property has no effect on the SelectionType property.

Values Returned by VerticalScrollCount

When a user moves the mouse scroll wheel by one click, MATLAB increments the count by +/- 1, depending on the direction of the scroll (scroll down being positive). When MATLAB calls the WindowScrollWheelFcn callback, the counter resets. In most cases, this means that the absolute value of the returned value is 1. However, if the WindowScrollWheelFcn callback takes a long enough time to return or the user spins the scroll wheel very fast, or both, then the returned value can have an absolute value greater than one.

The actual value returned by VerticalScrollCount property is the algebraic sum of all mouse-scroll-wheel clicks that occurred since last processed. This enables your callback to respond correctly to the user action.

Example: Code WindowScrollWheelFcn Callback

This example creates a graph and enables users to use the mouse scroll wheel to change the range over which MATLAB evaluates a mathematical function. In addition, it updates the graph to reflect the new limits as the user turns the scroll wheel.

Copy and save the function to a writable folder on your system. Then, run the code. Mouse over the figure and scroll your mouse wheel.

function scroll_wheel
% Illustrates how to use WindowScrollWheelFcn property
%
   f = figure('WindowScrollWheelFcn',@figScroll,'Name','Scroll Wheel Demo');
   x = [0:.1:40];
   y = 4.*cos(x)./(x+2);
   a = axes; 
   h = plot(x,y);
   title('Rotate the scroll wheel')
   function figScroll(src,callbackdata)
      if callbackdata.VerticalScrollCount > 0 
         xd = h.XData;
         % This code uses dot notation to set properties
         % Dot notation runs in R2014b and later.
         % For R2014a and earlier: xd = get(h,'XData');
         inc = xd(end)/20;
         x = [0:.1:xd(end)+inc];
         re_eval(x)
      elseif callbackdata.VerticalScrollCount < 0 
         xd = h.XData;
         % For R2014a and earlier: xd = get(h,'XData');
         inc = xd(end)/20;
         x = [0:.1:xd(end)-inc+.1]; % Don't let xd = 0;
         re_eval(x)
      end
   end

   function re_eval(x)
      y = 4.*cos(x)./(x+2);
      h.YData = y;
      h.XData = x;
      a.XLim = [0 x(end)];
      % For R2014a and earlier: 
      % set(h,'YData',y);
      % set(h,'XData',x);
      % set(a,'XLim',[0 x(end)]);
      drawnow
   end
end

Figure context menu, specified as a uicontextmenu object. Use this property to display a context menu when the user right-clicks on the figure. Create the context menu using the uicontextmenu function.

Window Control

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Figure close request callback function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This callback executes whenever a user attempts to close a figure window. You can, for example, display a dialog box to ask a user to confirm or cancel the close operation or to prevent users from closing a figure that contains a UI.

The basic mechanism is:

  1. A user issues the close or close all command from the command line, closes the figure from the computer window manager menu, or closes the figure by quitting MATLAB.

  2. The close operation executes the function defined by the figure CloseRequestFcn property. The default function is closereq.

    The closereq function unconditionally deletes the current figure, destroying the window. The closereq function takes advantage of the fact that the close command makes each figure specified as an argument the current figure before calling its respective close request function.

The closereq function honors the ShowHiddenHandles property setting during figure deletion and does not delete hidden figures.

Unless the close request function calls the delete or close function, MATLAB never closes the figure. (You can call delete(f) from the command line if you have created a window with a nondestructive close request function.)

Example: Code CloseRequestFcn to Display Dialog Box

This example shows how to code the close request function to display a question dialog box asking the user to confirm the close operation. Save the code to a writable folder on your system.

function my_closereq(src,callbackdata)
% Close request function 
% to display a question dialog box 
   selection = questdlg('Close This Figure?',...
      'Close Request Function',...
      'Yes','No','Yes'); 
   switch selection, 
      case 'Yes',
         delete(gcf)
      case 'No'
      return 
   end
end

Now, create a figure specifying my_closereq for the CloseRequestFcn:

figure('CloseRequestFcn',@my_closereq)

Close the figure window and the question dialog box displays.

Figure window behavior, specified as one of the following:

  • 'normal' — The figure window is independent of other windows, and the other windows are accessible while the figure is displaying.

  • 'modal' — The figure displays on top of all existing figure windows, making them inaccessible as long as the top figure exists and remains modal. However, any new figures created after a modal figure will display.

    When multiple modal windows exist, the most recently created window keeps focus and stays above all other windows until it becomes invisible, or is returned to a normal window style, or is deleted. At that time, focus reverts to the window that last had focus.

  • 'docked' — The figure displays in the desktop or a document window. When the WindowStyle property is set to 'docked', you cannot set the DockControls property to 'off'.

    Note:   These are some important characteristics of the WindowStyle property and some recommended best practices:

    • When you create UI windows, always specify the WindowStyle property. If you also want to set the Resize, Position, or OuterPosition properties of the figure, then set the WindowStyle property first.

    • You can change the WindowStyle property of a figure at any time, including when the figure is visible and contains children. However on some systems, setting this property might cause the figure to flash or disappear and reappear, depending on the system's implementation of normal and modal windows. For best visual results, set the WindowStyle property at creation time or when the figure is invisible.

    • Calling reset on a figure does not change the value of the WindowStyle property.

Modal Window Style Behavior

When WindowStyle is set to 'modal', the figure window traps all keyboard and mouse actions over all MATLAB windows as long as the windows are visible. Windows belonging to applications other than MATLAB are unaffected.

Typing Ctrl+C when a modal figure has focus causes that figure to revert to a 'normal' WindowStyle property setting. This allows the user to type at the command line.

Figures with the WindowStyle property set to 'modal' and the Visible property set to 'off' do not behave modally until MATLAB makes them visible. Therefore, you can hide a modal window for later reuse, instead of destroying it.

Modal figures do not display uimenu children, built-in menus, or toolbars. But, it is not an error to create uimenus in a modal figure or to change the WindowStyle property setting to 'modal' on a figure with uimenu children. The uimenu objects exist and the figure retains them. If you reset the figure's WindowStyle property to 'normal', the uimenus display.

Creation and Deletion Control

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This property is read only.

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

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

Figure creation function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

This property specifies a callback function to execute when MATLAB creates the figure. MATLAB initializes all figure property values before executing the CreateFcn callback. If you do not specify the CreateFcn property, then MATLAB executes a default creation function.

Use the gcbo function in your CreateFcn code to get the handle to the figure that is being created.

Setting the CreateFcn property on an existing figure has no effect.

    Note:   Do not call copyobj or textwrap (which calls copyobj) inside a CreateFcn. Copying the figure object causes the CreateFcn callback to execute repeatedly.

Figure deletion function, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression. For example, 'disp(''hello world'')' calls the disp function. MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback property value as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see How to Specify Callback Property Values.

The DeleteFcn property specifies a callback function to execute when MATLAB deletes the figure (for example, when the end user deletes the figure). MATLAB executes the DeleteFcn callback before destroying the properties of the figure. If you do not specify the DeleteFcn property, then MATLAB executes a default deletion function.

Use the gcbo function in your DeleteFcn code to get the handle to the figure that is being deleted.

Identifiers

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Target axes in the current figure, specified as an axes object. MATLAB sets this property to the figure's current axes object. In all figures for which axes children exist, there is always a current axes. The current axes does not have to be the topmost axes, and setting an axes to be the current axes does not restack it above all other axes. If a figure contains no axes, the get(gcf,'CurrentAxes') command returns an empty array.

Query the CurrentAxes property to get the current axes object without forcing the creation of an axes if one does not exist.

Most recently selected component in the Figure, specified as an object. MATLAB sets the CurrentObject property to the last object the user clicked. This object is the front-most object in the view. You can use this property to determine which object a user has selected.

An object's HitTest property controls whether that object can become the CurrentObject.

Clicking an object whose HandleVisibility property is off (such as axis labels and title) causes the CurrentObject property to be set to empty. To avoid returning an empty value when users click a hidden object, set HitTest property of the hidden object to 'off'.

Moving the cursor over objects does not update the CurrentObject. Users must click objects to update this property. See the CurrentPoint property for related information.

If you are looking for a quick way to access the current object, consider using the gco command.

FIG-file name, specified as a character vector. GUIDE uses this property to store the name of the UI layout file that it saves. If you are not working in GUIDE, then the FileName property is empty.

Example: figure('FileName','myguifile.fig') sets the FIG-file name to myguifile.fig.

Ability to assign figure number, specified as 'on' or 'off'.

If you set the IntegerHandle property to 'on', MATLAB finds the lowest integer value not used by an existing figure and sets the Number property to that value. If you delete a figure, MATLAB can reuse the number on a new figure window.

If you set the IntegerHandle property to 'off', MATLAB does not assign an integer value to the figure and sets the Number property to an empty array ([]).

This property is read only.

Figure number, returned as an integer or empty array. You can refer to a figure using this value. For example, figure(2) makes the figure with a Number property value of 2 the current figure.

If the IntegerHandle property is set to 'off', Number is an empty array.

If IntegerHandle is 'on', the Number property value is an integer value. If a figure is deleted, MATLAB reuses that figure's number for the next figure window created.

This property is read only.

Type of Figure object, returned as 'figure'. Use this property to find all objects of a given type within a plotting hierarchy.

Figure identifier, specified as a character vector. This value to serves as an identifier for the figure. When you need access to the figure elsewhere in your code, you can use the findobj function to search for the figure based on the Tag value.

Example: figure('Tag','plotwindow') creates a figure whose tag identifier is 'plotwindow'.

Data to associate with the figure object, specified as any array. Specifying UserData can be useful for sharing data values within and across UIs. See Share Data Among Callbacks for more information.

Example: [1 2 3]

Example: 'April 21'

Example: struct('value1',[1 2 3],'value2','April 21')

Example: {[1 2 3],'April 21'}

Parent/Child

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Figure parent, returned as a root object.

Children of the figure, returned as an empty GraphicsPlaceholder or a 1-D array of objects.

You cannot add or remove children using the Children property of the figure. Use this property to view the list of children or to reorder the children. The order of the children in this array reflects the front-to-back order (stacking order) of the components on the screen.

To add a child to this list, set the Parent property of the child component to be the figure object.

Objects with the HandleVisibility property set to 'off' do not list in the Children property. For more information, see the HandleVisibility property description.

Visibility of figure object, specified as 'on', 'callback', or 'off'.

This property determines whether a figure is in its parent's (the root's) list of children. HandleVisibility is useful for preventing command-line users from accidentally drawing into, or deleting a figure that contains only user interface components (such as a dialog box).

If an object is not in its parent's list of children, functions that find objects by searching the object hierarchy or querying properties cannot return that object. Such functions include get, findobj, gca, gcf, gco, newplot, cla, clf, and close.

When the HandleVisibility property value is restricted using the 'callback' or 'off' settings, the object does not appear in the parent object Children property, figures do not appear in the root CurrentFigure property, objects do not appear in the root CallbackObject property or in the figure CurrentObject property, and axes do not appear in their parent CurrentAxes property.

Set the root ShowHiddenHandles property to 'on' to make all objects visible, regardless of their HandleVisibility settings (this does not affect the values of the HandleVisibility properties).

Pointers

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Pointer symbol, specified as one of the symbol names in the following table or as 'custom'. The appearance of the symbol is operating-system dependent.

Symbol Name

Resulting Symbol (System Dependent)

'arrow'

'ibeam'

'crosshair'

'watch' (busy system)

'topl' or 'botr'

'topr' or 'botl'

'circle'

'cross'

'fleur'

'left' or 'right'

'top' or 'bottom'

'hand'

    Note:   The 'fullcrosshair' option was removed in R2014b.

Custom Pointer Symbol

To create a custom pointer symbol, set the Pointer property to 'custom' and use the PointerShapeCData property to define the symbol. See the PointerShapeCData property for more information.

Custom pointer symbol, specified as a 32-by-32 matrix (for a 32-by-32 pixel pointer) or as a 16-by-16 matrix (for a 16-by-16 pixel pointer). The figure uses this pointer symbol when you set the Pointer property to 'custom'.

Each element in the matrix defines the brightness level for 1 pixel in the pointer. Element (1,1) of the matrix corresponds to the pixel in the upper left corner in the pointer. Set the matrix elements to one of these values:

  • 1 — Black pixel.

  • 2 — White pixel.

  • NaN — Transparent pixel, such that underlying screen shows through.

Active pixel of the pointer, specified as a two-element vector. The vector contains the row and column indices of a particular element in the PointerShapeCData matrix that corresponds to the desired active pixel. The default value of [1 1] corresponds to the pixel in the upper left corner of the pointer.

If you specify a value outside the range of the PointerShapeCData matrix, then the pointer uses the default active pixel of [1 1] instead.

This property applies only when the Pointer property is set to 'custom'.

Printing and Saving

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Figure size and location on page when printing or saving, specified as a four-element vector of the form [left bottom width height].

  • left and bottom values — Control the distance from the lower left corner of the page to the lower left corner of the figure. These values are ignored when saving a figure to a nonpage format, such as a PNG or EPS format.

  • width and height values — Control the figure size. If the width and height values are too large, then the figure might not reach the specified size. If the figure does not reach the specific size, then any UI components on the figure, such as uicontrols or a uitable, might not save or print as expected.

The PaperUnits property determines the units of measurement of the PaperPosition values. Consider setting the PaperUnits property to 'normalized'. This setting enables MATLAB to automatically size the figure to occupy the same relative amount of the printed page, regardless of the page size.

Example: figure('PaperPosition',[.25 .25 8 6]) set the figure's size and location for printing to [.25 .25 8 6].

Directive to use displayed figure size when printing or saving, specified as either 'auto' or 'manual'.

  • 'auto' — Printed or saved figure size matches the displayed figure size. The width and height values of the PaperPosition property equal the figure size on the display. The left and bottom values center the figure. If the figure size changes on the display, the PaperPosition property automatically updates to the appropriate size and location values.

  • 'manual' — Printed or saved figure size might not match the displayed figure size. Use this option if you want to print or save the figure using a size that differs from the display, or if you do not want the figure centered on the printed or saved page. Set the PaperPosition property to the desired size and location. If the figure size changes on the display, the PaperPosition property does not automatically update.

To generate output that has the same size and resolution (DPI) as the displayed figure, set the PaperPositionMode property of the figure to 'auto' and save the figure using print with the -r0 option. The -r0 option ensures that the output resolution is the same as the display resolution. If the resolutions are different, then the generated output size matches the displayed figure size in measured units (inches, centimeters, points), but not in pixels. For example, if the display resolution is 100 DPI, then a 4-by-5 inch figure is 400-by-500 pixels. If the output resolution is 200 DPI, then the printed or saved figure is the same size in inches, but 800-by-1000 pixels.

    Note:   Starting in R2016a, the default value is 'auto'. Previously, the default value was 'manual'.

To change the default value, use one of these techniques.

  • Set a print preference. Print preferences persist across MATLAB sessions. You can set the print preference to either 'auto' or 'manual', for example:

    matlab.graphics.internal.setPrintPreferences('DefaultPaperPositionMode','manual')
    To query the current print preference value, use the following command. If you set a preference, the command returns 'auto' or 'manual'. If you did not set a preference, the command returns 'unset'.
    matlab.graphics.internal.getPrintPreferences

  • Set the default value on the root object. This option affects only new figures in the current MATLAB session, for example:

    set(groot,'defaultFigurePaperPositionMode','manual')

Figure background color when saving or printing, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Change the figure background and axes background colors to white.

  • 'off' — Use the same colors as the colors on the display. To change the figure background color on the display, use the Color property of the figure. To change the axes background color, use the Color property of the axes.

Standard page sizes when printing the figure or saving it to a paged format (PDF and PostScript® formats), specified as one of the values in this table. Specifying the PaperType property sets the PaperSize property to the corresponding page size.

Value

Page Size (Width x Height)

'usletter'

8.5-by-11 in (default in US)

'uslegal'

8.5-by-14 in

'tabloid'

11-by-17 in

'a0'

84.1-by-118.9 cm

'a1'

59.4-by-84.1 cm

'a2'

42-by-59.4 cm

'a3'

29.7-by-42 cm

'a4'

21-by-29.7 cm (default in Europe and Asia)

'a5'

14.8-by-21 cm

'b0'

102.9-by-145.6 cm

'b1

72.8-by-102.8 cm

'b2'

51.4-by-72.8 cm

'b3'

36.4-by-51.4 cm

'b4'

25.7-by-36.4 cm

'b5'

18.2-by-25.7 cm

'arch-a'

9-by-12 in

'arch-b'

12-by-18 in

'arch-c'

18-by-24 in

'arch-d'

24-by-36 in

'arch-e'

36-by-48 in

'a'

8.5-by-11 in

'b'

11-by-17 in

'c'

17-by-22 in

'd'

22-by-34 in

'e'

34-by-43 in

'custom'

Custom page size. Specifying a non-standard page size using the PaperSize property sets PaperPosition to this value.

Custom page size when printing the figure or saving it to a paged format (PDF and PostScript formats), specified as a two-element vector of the form [width height]. In the United States, the default value is [8.5 11]. In Europe and Asia, the default value is [21 29.7].

    Note:   If you are saving the figure to a file, the PaperSize property only affects PDF and PostScript file formats. Other file formats ignore this property. Use the PaperPosition property to control the size of the saved figure.

The PaperUnits property determines the units of measurement for the PaperSize property. You cannot set the PaperSize property if the PaperUnits property is set to 'normalized'. Attempting to do so results in an error.

Specifying the PaperSize property sets the PaperType property to the corresponding type, if one exists, or to 'custom' otherwise.

Orientation of page when printing figure or saving it to a paged format (PDF and PostScript formats), specified as one of these values:

  • 'portrait' — Orient the longest page dimension vertically.

  • 'landscape' — Orient the longest page dimension horizontally.

See the orient function for more information.

Units used for PaperSize and PaperPosition, specified as one of these values:

  • 'inches' — Value in inches. This is the default when the locale is the United States.

  • 'normalized' — Normalized units. The lower left corner of the page maps to (0,0) and the upper right corner maps to (1,1).

  • 'centimeters' — Value in centimeters. This is the default when the locale is Europe or Asia.

  • 'points' — Value in points. One point equals 1/72 of an inch.

    Note:   If you change the value of the PaperUnits property, it is good practice to return the property to its original value after completing your computation so as not to affect other functions that assume the PaperUnits property has not changed.

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