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Primitive Line Properties

Control primitive line appearance and behavior

Primitive line properties control the appearance and behavior of a primitive line object. By changing property values, you can modify certain aspects of the line.

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

h = line;
s = h.LineStyle;
h.LineStyle = ':';

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

Line

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

Line StyleDescriptionResulting Line
'-'Solid line

'--'Dashed line

':'Dotted line

'-.'Dash-dotted line

'none'No lineNo line

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

Example: 0.75

Line color, specified as an RGB triplet, a character vector of a color name, or 'none'. The default RGB triplet value of [0 0 0] corresponds to black. If you 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 the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

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

Example: 'blue'

Example: [0 0 1]

Style of line corners, specified as 'round', 'miter', or 'chamfer'. This table illustrates the appearance of the different values.

'round''miter''chamfer'

The appearance of the 'round' option might look different if the Renderer property of the figure is set to 'opengl' instead of 'painters'.

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

ValueDescription
'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'

Indices of data points at which to display markers, specified as a vector of positive integers. If you do not specify the indices, then MATLAB® displays a marker at every data point.

    Note:   To see the markers, you must also specify a marker symbol.

Example: plot(x,y,'-o,'MarkerIndices',[1 5 10]) displays a circle marker at the first, fifth, and tenth data points.

Example: plot(x,y,'-x','MarkerIndices',1:3:length(y)) displays a cross marker every three data points.

Example: plot(x,y,'Marker','square','MarkerIndices',5) displays one square marker at the fifth data point.

Marker size, specified as a positive value in points.

Example: 10

Marker outline color, specified as one of these values:

  • 'auto' — Use the same color specified in the Color property.

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

  • RGB triplet or character vector of a color name — 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 the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

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

Example: [0.5 0.5 0.5]

Example: 'blue'

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 character vector of a color name — 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 the long and short color name options and the equivalent RGB triplet values.

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

Example: [0.3 0.2 0.1]

Example: 'green'

Data

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x values, specified as a vector. XData and YData must have equal lengths.

Example: 1:10

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

y values, specified as a vector. XData and YData must have equal lengths.

Example: 1:10

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

z values, specified as a vector. ZData must have the same length as XData and YData.

Example: 1:10

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

Visibility

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State of visibility, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Display the primitive line.

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

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

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

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

The Clipping property of the axes that contains the primitive line object must be set to 'on', otherwise this property has no effect. For more information about the clipping behavior, see the Clipping property of the axes.

    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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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.

User-specified tag to associate with the primitive line, specified as a character vector. 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'

Data to associate with the primitive line object, specified as any MATLAB data, for example, 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

Text used for the legend label, specified as a character vector. If you do not specify the text, then the legend uses a label of the form 'dataN'. The legend does not display until you call the legend command.

Example: 'Label Text'

This property is read only.

Control for including or excluding the primitive line from a legend, returned as an Annotation object. Set the underlying IconDisplayStyle property to one of these values:

  • 'on' — Include the primitive line in the legend (default).

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

For example, exclude a stem chart from the legend.

p = plot(1:10,'DisplayName','Line Chart');
hold on
s = stem(1:10,'DisplayName','Stem Chart');
hold off
s.Annotation.LegendInformation.IconDisplayStyle = 'off';
legend('show')

Alternatively, you can control the items in a legend using the legend function. Specify the first input argument as a vector of the graphics objects to include.

p = plot(1:10,'DisplayName','Line Chart');
hold on
s = stem(1:10,'DisplayName','Stem Chart');
hold off
legend(p)

Parent/Child

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

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

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

  • 'on' — The primitive line object handle is always visible.

  • 'off' — The primitive line object handle is invisible at all times. This option is useful for preventing unintended changes to the UI by another function. Set the HandleVisibility to 'off' to temporarily hide the handle during the execution of that function.

  • 'callback' — The primitive line object handle is visible from within callbacks or functions invoked by callbacks, but not from within functions invoked from the command line. This option blocks access to the primitive line at the command-line, but allows callback functions to access it.

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

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • Character vector 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 primitive line. If you specify this property using a function handle, then MATLAB passes two arguments to the callback function when executing the callback:

  • The primitive line object — You can access properties of the primitive 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}

Context menu, specified as a uicontextmenu object. Use this property to display a context menu when you right-click the primitive 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.

Selection state, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Selected. If you click the primitive 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 primitive line.

  • 'off' — Not selected.

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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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 primitive 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 primitive line responds to the click or if an ancestor does.

  • 'all' — Can capture mouse clicks regardless of visibility. The Visible property can be set to 'on' or 'off' and you can click a part of the primitive line that has no color. The HitTest property determines if the primitive line responds to the click or if an ancestor does.

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

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

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

  • 'off' — Trigger the callbacks for the nearest ancestor of the primitive 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 primitive line object can capture mouse clicks. If it cannot, then the HitTest property has no effect.

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 primitive 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.

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 primitive 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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Creation callback, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • Character vector 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 primitive line. Setting the CreateFcn property on an existing primitive line has no effect. You must define a default value for this property, or define this property using a Name,Value pair during primitive line creation. MATLAB executes the callback after creating the primitive 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 primitive line object — You can access properties of the primitive line object from within the callback function. You also can access the primitive 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}

Deletion callback, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle

  • Cell array containing a function handle and additional arguments

  • Character vector 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 primitive line. MATLAB executes the callback before destroying the primitive 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 primitive line object — You can access properties of the primitive line object from within the callback function. You also can access the primitive 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}

This property is read only.

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

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

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