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Add text to figure using mouse


t = gtext(___)



gtext(str) inserts the text, str, at the location you select with the mouse. When you hover over the figure window, the pointer becomes a crosshair. gtext is waiting for you to select a location. Move the pointer to the location you want and either click the figure or press any key, except Enter.

gtext(str,Name,Value) specifies text properties using one or more name-value pair arguments. For example, 'FontSize',14 specifies a 14-point font.

t = gtext(___) returns an array of text objects created by gtext. Use t to modify properties of the text objects after they are created. For a list of properties and descriptions, see Text Properties. You can return an output argument using any of the arguments from the previous syntaxes.


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Create a simple line plot and use gtext to add text to the figure using the mouse.

gtext('My Plot')

Click the figure to place the text at the selected location.

Create a simple line plot and add text to the figure using the mouse. Use a red, 14-point font.

gtext('My Plot','Color','red','FontSize',14)

Click the figure where you want to display the text.

Create a simple line plot and add text to the figure using the mouse. Return the text object created, t.

t = gtext('My Plot')

Click the figure to place the text and create the text object.

t = 

  Text (My Plot) with properties:

                 String: 'My Plot'
               FontSize: 10
             FontWeight: 'normal'
               FontName: 'Helvetica'
                  Color: [0 0 0]
    HorizontalAlignment: 'left'
               Position: [4.3906 5.3950 0]
                  Units: 'data'

  Show all properties

Use t to change the font size and color of the text by setting text properties. Starting in R2014b, you can use dot notation to set properties. If you are using an earlier release, use the set function instead, such as set(t,'Color','red').

t.Color = 'red';
t.FontSize = 14;

Input Arguments

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Text to display, specified in one of these forms:

  • Character vector — Display the text with one click, for example:

    gtext('my text')

  • Cell array of character vectors — Display one row of the array with each click. For example, this code displays first with the first click and second with the second click.


    To display multiline text, specify more than one character vector per row.

    gtext({'first','new line';'second','new line'})

  • Character array — Display one row of the array with each click. Each row must contain the same number of characters, for example:


  • String array — Display one row of the array with each click. For example:


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

Name-Value Pair Arguments

Specify optional comma-separated pairs of Name,Value arguments. Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name must appear inside single quotes (' '). You can specify several name and value pair arguments in any order as Name1,Value1,...,NameN,ValueN.

Example: text(.5,.5,'my text','FontSize',14,'Color','red')

The properties listed here are only a subset. For a full list, see Text Properties.


You cannot specify the Position text property as a name-value pair during text creation. gtext ignores the specified value.

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Font size, specified as a scalar value greater than zero in point units. The default font size depends on the specific operating system and locale. One point equals 1/72 inch. To change the font units, use the FontUnits property.

Example: 12

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

Character thickness, specified as one of these values:

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

  • 'bold' — Thicker character outlines than normal

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

Font name, specified a supported font name or 'FixedWidth'. To display and print properly, you must choose a font that your system supports. The default font depends on the specific operating system and locale.

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

Example: 'Cambria'

Text color, specified as an RGB triplet or one of the color options listed in the table. The default value of [0 0 0] corresponds to black.

For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet. 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]. Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

OptionDescriptionEquivalent RGB Triplet
'red' or 'r'Red[1 0 0]
'green' or 'g'Green[0 1 0]
'blue' or 'b'Blue[0 0 1]
'yellow' or 'y'Yellow[1 1 0]
'magenta' or 'm'Magenta[1 0 1]
'cyan' or 'c'Cyan[0 1 1]
'white' or 'w'White[1 1 1]
'black' or 'k'Black[0 0 0]
'none'No colorNot applicable

Example: 'blue'

Example: [0 0 1]

Horizontal alignment of the text with respect to the x value in the Position property, specified as one of the values in this table. The vertical line indicates where the x value lies in relation to the text.

'left' (default)



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

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

  • 'latex' — Interpret characters using LaTeX markup.

  • 'none' — Display literal characters.

TeX Markup

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

When you set the Interpreter property to 'tex', the supported modifiers are as follows. Modifiers remain in effect until the end of the text. Superscripts and subscripts are an exception because they modify only the next character or the characters within the curly braces.

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

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

Character SequenceSymbolCharacter SequenceSymbolCharacter SequenceSymbol
























































































































































LaTeX Markup

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

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

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

For more information about the LaTeX system, see The LaTeX Project website at


gtext uses the ginput and text functions.

Introduced before R2006a

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