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Scatter Series Properties

Control scatter series appearance and behavior

Scatter series properties control the appearance and behavior of scatter series object. By changing property values, you can modify certain aspects of the scatter series.

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

s = scatter(1:10,1:10);
m = s.Marker;
s.Marker = '*';

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

Markers

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Marker symbol, specified as one of the options listed in this table:

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

Marker outline color, specified as one of these values:

  • 'flat' — Colors defined by the CData property.

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

  • RGB triplet or character vector of color name — Specify a custom 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' — No color, which makes the interior invisible.

  • 'flat' — Colors defined by the CData property.

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

  • RGB triplet or character vector of a color name— Specify a custom 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'

Marker edge transparency, specified as a scalar in the range [0,1]. A value of 1 is opaque and 0 is completely transparent. Values between 0 and 1 are semitransparent.

Example: s.EdgeAlpha = 0.5;

Marker face transparency, specified as a scalar in the range [0,1]. A value of 1 is opaque and 0 is completely transparent. Values between 0 and 1 are semitransparent.

Example: s.FaceAlpha = 0.5;

Width of marker edge, specified as a positive value in point units.

Example: 0.75

Data

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x values, specified as a scalar or a vector. The scatter plot displays an individual marker for each value in XData.

The input argument X to the scatter and scatter3 functions set the x values. XData and YData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1 2 4 2 6]

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

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

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

Example: 'x'

y values, specified as a scalar or a vector. The scatter plot displays an individual marker for each value in YData.

The input argument Y to the scatter and scatter3 functions set the y values. XData and YData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1 3 3 4 6]

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

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

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

Example: 'y'

z values, specified as a scalar or a vector.

  • For 2-D scatter plots, ZData is empty by default.

  • For 3-D scatter plots, the input argument Z to the scatter3 function sets the z values. XData, YData, and ZData must have equal lengths.

Example: [1 2 2 1 0]

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

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

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

Example: 'z'

Marker colors, specified as one of these values:

  • RGB triplet — Use the same color for all the markers in the plot. 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, [0.5 0.6 0.7].

  • Three-column matrix of RGB triplets — Use a different color for each marker in the plot. Each row of the matrix defines one color. The number of rows must equal the number of markers.

  • Vector — Use a different color for each marker in the plot. Specify CData as a vector the same length as XData. Linearly map the values in the vector to the colors in the current colormap.

Example: [1 0 0; 0 1 0; 0 0 1]

Variable linked to CData, specified as a character vector containing a MATLAB workspace variable. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the CData.

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

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

Marker sizes, specified in one of these forms:

  • Scalar — Use the same size for all of the markers.

  • Vector — Use a different size for each marker. Specify SizeData as a vector the same length as XData.

Specify the values in point units, where one point equals 1/72 inch. To specify a marker that has an area of one square inch, use a value of 72^2.

Example: 50

Variable linked to SizeData, specified as a character vector containing a MATLAB workspace variable. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the SizeData.

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

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

Radius values, specified as a vector. ThetaData and RData must be vectors of equal length.

This property applies only to polar axes.

Variable linked to RData, specified as a character vector containing a MATLAB workspace variable name. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the RData.

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

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

This property applies only to polar axes.

Angle values, specified as a vector. ThetaData and RData must be vectors of equal length.

This property applies only to polar axes.

Variable linked to ThetaData, specified as a character vector containing a MATLAB workspace variable name. MATLAB evaluates the variable in the base workspace to generate the RData.

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

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

This property applies only to polar axes.

Visibility

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State of visibility, specified as one of these values:

  • 'on' — Display the scatter series.

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

Clipping of the scatter series object to the axes limits, specified as one of these values:

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

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

The Clipping property of the axes that contains the scatter series 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 'scatter'. 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 scatter series, 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 scatter series 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 scatter series from a legend, returned as an Annotation object. Set the underlying IconDisplayStyle property to one of these values:

  • 'on' — Include the scatter series in the legend (default).

  • 'off' — Do not include the scatter series 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 scatter series, specified as an axes, polar axes, group, or transform object.

The scatter series has no children. You cannot set this property.

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

  • 'on' — The scatter series object handle is always visible.

  • 'off' — The scatter series 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 scatter series 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 scatter series at the command-line, but allows callback functions to access it.

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

  • The scatter series object — You can access properties of the scatter series 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 scatter series. 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 scatter series 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 scatter series.

  • '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 scatter series 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 scatter series responds to the click or if an ancestor does.

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

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

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

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

    Note:   HitTestArea has been removed. Use PickableParts instead.

Extents of clickable area for scatter series, specified as one of these values:

  • 'off' — Click the scatter series plot to select it. This is the default value.

  • 'on' — Click anywhere within the extent of the scatter series plot to select it, that is, anywhere within the rectangle that encloses the scatter series plot.

Example: 'off'

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

    Note:   There are two callback states to consider:

    • The running callback is the currently executing callback.

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

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

If the ButtonDownFcn callback of the scatter series 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 scatter series 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 scatter series. Setting the CreateFcn property on an existing scatter series has no effect. You must define a default value for this property, or define this property using a Name,Value pair during scatter series creation. MATLAB executes the callback after creating the scatter series 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 scatter series object — You can access properties of the scatter series object from within the callback function. You also can access the scatter series 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 scatter series. MATLAB executes the callback before destroying the scatter series 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 scatter series object — You can access properties of the scatter series object from within the callback function. You also can access the scatter series 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 scatter series, returned as 'off' or 'on'. MATLAB sets the BeingDeleted property to 'on' when the delete function of the scatter series begins execution (see the DeleteFcn property). The BeingDeleted property remains set to 'on' until the scatter series no longer exists.

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

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