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Adjust error bar width

4.9 | 24 ratings Rate this file 41 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 1.86 KB File ID: #22826 Version: 1.3
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Adjust error bar width


Arnaud Laurent (view profile)


29 Jan 2009 (Updated )

Adjust error bars width in an errorbar plot to a ratio of the x-axis or a length (x-axis units).

Editor's Notes:

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

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File Information

function errorbar_tick(h,w,xtype)
ERRORBAR_TICK Adjust the width of errorbars

ERRORBAR_TICK(H) adjust the width of error bars with handle H. Error bars width is given as a ratio of X axis lenght (1/80).

ERRORBAR_TICK(H,W) adjust the width of error bars with handle H. The input W is given as a ratio of X axis lenght (1/W). The result is independant of the x-axis units. A ratio between 20 and 80 is usually fine.

ERRORBAR_TICK(H,W,'UNITS') adjust the width of error bars with handle H. The input W is given in the units of the curent x-axis.


This file inspired Set Errorbar Width And Thickness, Update Error Bar Widths Automatically On Figure Resize, Eb Ticklength, Grouped Bar Plots With Error Bars, and Superbar.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.5 (R2007b)
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Comments and Ratings (38)
22 Sep 2016 Kai Chan

doesn''t work

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10 Feb 2016 Farzaneh

it does not work in matlab R2015a. any solutions?

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23 Jul 2015 Wardo

Wardo (view profile)

I have used this in the past, but it does not seem to work with MATLAB R2015a.

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11 May 2015 RowlandPG


The same as Tamas and Charlie, I too cannot save the plot in any way with the altered lengths, even attempting to print it to pdf reverts the lengths to automatic.

Does anyone have a workaround for this?

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25 Mar 2015 Cheikh Modou Noreyni Fall

very good for the submission.

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20 Mar 2015 Nessima kaabeche

I would like to know if it is possible to include error bars with specific values on each point? (not a percentage)

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07 Mar 2015 Tamas

Tamas (view profile)

Hi Matt,

For a non-experienced user, this file is a blessing to use with log graphs, however, I'm struggling with the same problem as Charlie - the changed ticks reset when trying to save the file. Do you have any workaround for this by any chance?

26 Feb 2015 Charlie Demene

Hi Matt

Thank you for your update Matt. Works well in 2014b as long as you don't want to save the figure... When you save it (tried png, eps, fig) the size of the ticks go back to original. Any idea?

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20 Feb 2015 Adam Goldsmith

Very simple and works really well, however it receives four stars because I did have issues with a script breaking because of this. The issue turned out to be that the script would try to execute the command before the figure was generated, resulting in an error. Adding pause(1) before the errorbar_tick command solved this.

30 Jan 2015 Matt

Matt (view profile)

In order to get this file working with 2014b you can replace the original if/else statement from the "Plot error bars" portion with the following:

if strcmpi(flagtype,'errorbar') % ERRORBAR(...)

x = h.Bar.VertexData(1,:); % Retrieve bar xdata from errorbar
dp = length(x)/3; % 3 data points per error bar
m = 1; % Multiplier for addition/subtraction
for ii = 1:dp
m = -1*m; % Switch between subtraction and addition
x(dp+ii:dp:end) = x(ii)+m*w/2; % Change xdata with respect to the chosen ratio
h.Bar.VertexData(1,1:end) = x;


error('Please enter an ErrorBar object!');


The .VertexData is an undocumented property of the .Bar object (which is also undocumented), used to draw the actually 'error bars' of an ErrorBar object. The first row of VertexData is somewhat of an equivalent to the 'xdata' property currently used by this function.

27 Dec 2014 Tobia vendrametto

It seems a great and useful function, but it is not working with 2014b version.

x = get(hh(2),'xdata');

hh = [ ] and so the error. But I cannot solve it. =(
Can someone?


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21 Nov 2014 Adam

Adam (view profile)

Always loved this function, but seems to be broken by 2014b :-(

10 Nov 2014 John Trimper

I've used/loved this function for years, but something's going wrong for me tonight. Also the first time I've used it with MatLab 2014b (64bit).

With x values of [1:4], errorbar_tick is moving my 4th point over to an x-value of .08, so the updated series of x values becomes [1 2 3 .08]. I'm totally boggled. Any ideas?

04 Nov 2014 Cengiz Gunay


28 Oct 2014 Josef Pörnbachr

17 Jul 2014 Arnab Banerjee

Works great. For a graph with many errorbar plots this works:
>> h = get(gca,'Children');
>> % h is an array of plot handles
>> errorbar_tick(h(n),200); % etc.

21 Nov 2013 Dan

Dan (view profile)

Works great for my linear axis. Thanks for sharing.

12 May 2013 LDELBENE

What about if the x axis is in log scale?

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08 Feb 2013 J

J (view profile)

This function is really helpful!

Note that if you simply find and replace "x" with "y" throughout the code, it then works on horizontal error bars generated by, for example, errorbar_x.


15 Oct 2012 Emily

Emily (view profile)

15 Aug 2012 Amanda Whitmire

I really like this function, but I wish it also worked on horizontal error bars (FEX function herrorbar). Otherwise, this is very handy.

03 Jul 2012 Min Liu

Solved my long-standing problem. Thank you~

26 Mar 2012 James Herman

21 Nov 2011 Felipe G. Nievinski

You might want to insert this at line # 39:

if ~isscalar(h)
arrayfun(@(h) errorbar_tick(h,w,xtype), h);

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15 Nov 2011 Felipe G. Nievinski

It's great that this function operates on the handle output by the errorbar function, rather than duplicating what the errorbar function already does.

30 Aug 2011 Frank Coumans

27 Jul 2011 Tom Etzer

26 Mar 2011 Lin Li

Lin Li (view profile)

27 Jul 2010 Anton Daneyko

06 Jul 2010 Tim DuBois

11 Jun 2010 Tobias

Tobias (view profile)

Thanks for sharing your solution! It works fine as long as I one have one error bar series in a plot but I can't get it to work when I have more (as in> errorbar, hold on, errorbar). Do you have a fix for this?

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14 Feb 2010 Max

Max (view profile)

Works great! Thanks a lot!

13 Dec 2009 alex m

alex m (view profile)

good idea, but I'm new to matlab and am unsure of the variables h and xtype, could someone post an example?

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08 Oct 2009 Dan Knudsen

Thanks very much! Easy to use and works great.

One quick tip, which is relatively obvious but might be nice to add to the help: If you'd like to get rid of the ticks entirely, it's as easy as calling: errorbar_tick(h,0,'units')

14 Aug 2009 Arnaud Laurent

Arnaud Laurent (view profile)

Re: thanks for your input Sathish, you're right the script wasn't made for log scale. I'll update the file to take care of that.

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31 Jul 2009 Sathish Krishnan

cool job!! but the feature does not retain when I change linear scale to log scale(i.e. the width is wider in log scale and is uncontrollable)

04 Jun 2009 Joey Doll

18 Mar 2009 Moritz

Moritz (view profile)

Nice work! This has driven me crazy in the past, but not any more .

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02 Feb 2009 1.1

Header updated with examples, screenshot provided

02 Feb 2009 1.2

Screenshot updated

06 Feb 2009 1.3

The function has been updated to enable the use of a length as an input.
A new screenshot was made.

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