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Fix dashed and dotted lines in EPS export



30 Jul 2007 (Updated )

EPS of dashed and dotted lines export badly. This modifies the EPS file to fix them.

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I was very frustrated at not being able to export dashed and dotted lines in EPS format, as they come out weird. Finally I found a post somewhere on the internet that suggested editing a certain part of the EPS file to fix it. This is a function which, given the name of the EPS file, will modify the length of the 'dot', making it look better in the image.

I've found it useful to automatically add this function to my standard 'save figure' script, so it is always run.

In EPS file:
/DO { [.5 dpi2point mul 4 dpi2point mul] 0 setdash } bdef

It seems the optimal numbers to go in the EPS file depend on the thickness of the line being drawn. This code changes only the .5 which corresponds to the length of the 'dot'. The number 4 controls the space between the dots. Setting both equal to 1 seems to work well with a Matlab line thickness of 1.5.


This file inspired Export Fig.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.4 (R2007a)
Other requirements Should work on all platforms, but only tested on a mac.
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Comments and Ratings (11)
31 Jan 2014 Jeremy

Thanks! Similar to other FEX fixes I've tried, but I like the spacing between dashes and dots with this fix.

30 Aug 2012 Ansgar Schmidt-Bleker

Thank you so much!
Still I don't understand why such bugs are not corrected by Matlab right away. Using Matlab for publications is always horrible!

03 Jul 2012 nate

works great thanks!

15 Jul 2011 Martijn Henriquez  
25 Sep 2010 Gianluca Gatti

hi, does anyone know why I can't see dashed or dotted lines in matlab figures when using plot3?

17 Dec 2009 Cesare


10 Apr 2009 Oliver Woodford

See fix_lines ( for an equivalent function which automatically changes dash length according to line width.

12 Dec 2008 Oliver Woodford

This is a great idea. I haven't downloaded the file because I found the functionality first in fixPSlinestyle. However, you gave me the idea of automatically changing dash length with line width. This functionality is now available in my print_pdf and print_eps functions, so manual tinkering on a figure by figure basis is no longer needed.

05 Jul 2008 Klaas van 't Veld

Outstanding fix of a very annoying problem. I modified the script a bit to make it more flexible, adding arguments "dotlen" and "dotgap"

function fix_dottedline(filename,dotlen,gaplen)

adding these lines at the top

dotstr = ['[' num2str(dotlen)];
gapstr = ['mul ' num2str(gaplen)];

and changing the replacement operations (for both the DO and DD lines) to

thisLine = regexprep(thisLine,'[.5',dotstr);
thisLine = regexprep(thisLine,'mul 4',gapstr);

That way you can play around with dot lengths and gap lengths until everything is just perfect.

26 Apr 2008 Rich Germuska

Nice one.

For those still using legacy versions e.g. 6.0 release 12, just replace strfind() with findstr() as appropriate.

Works nicely on WinXP Pro.

09 Apr 2008 Ronco Badsmith

This is a great fix. Thanks for the upload!

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