LineSpec (Line Specification)

Line specification string syntax

Description

Plotting functions accept string specifiers as arguments and modify the graph generated accordingly. Three components can be specified in the string specifiers along with the plotting command. They are:

  • Line style

  • Marker symbol

  • Color

For example:

plot(x,y,'-.or')

plots y versus x using a dash-dot line (-.), places circular markers (o) at the data points, and colors both line and marker red (r). Specify the components (in any order) as a quoted string after the data arguments. Note that linespecs are single strings, not property-value pairs.

Plotting Data Points with No Line

If you specify a marker, but not a line style, only the markers are plotted. For example:

plot(x,y,'d')

Line Style Specifiers

You indicate the line styles, marker types, and colors you want to display using string specifiers, detailed in the following tables:

SpecifierLineStyle
'-'

Solid line (default)

'--'

Dashed line

':'

Dotted line

'-.'

Dash-dot line

Marker Specifiers

Specifier

Marker Type

'+'

Plus sign

'o'

Circle

'*'

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)

    Note:   The point (.) marker type does not change size when the specified value is less than 5.

Color Specifiers

Specifier

Color

r

Red

g

Green

b

Blue

c

Cyan

m

Magenta

y

Yellow

k

Black

w

White

Related Properties

This page also describes how to specify the properties of lines used for plotting. MATLAB® graphics give you control over these visual characteristics:

  • LineWidth — Specifies the width (in points) of the line.

  • MarkerEdgeColor — Specifies the color of the marker or the edge color for filled markers (circle, square, diamond, pentagram, hexagram, and the four triangles).

  • MarkerFaceColor — Specifies the color of the face of filled markers.

  • MarkerSize — Specifies the size of the marker in points (must be greater than 0).

In addition, you can specify the LineStyle, Color, and Marker properties instead of using the symbol string. This is useful if you want to specify a color that is not in the list by using RGB triplet values. See Chart Line Properties for details on these properties and ColorSpec for more information on color.

Examples

Plot the sine function over three different ranges using different line styles, colors, and markers.

figure
t = 0:pi/20:2*pi;
plot(t,sin(t),'-.r*')
hold on
plot(t,sin(t-pi/2),'--mo')
plot(t,sin(t-pi),':bs')
hold off

Create a plot illustrating how to set line properties:

figure
plot(t,sin(2*t),'-mo',...
                'LineWidth',2,...
                'MarkerEdgeColor','k',...
                'MarkerFaceColor',[.49 1 .63],...
                'MarkerSize',10)

See Also

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