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11 Apr 2009 (Updated )

Exports figures nicely to a number of vector & bitmap formats.

Editor's Notes:

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

isolate_axes(ah, vis)
%ISOLATE_AXES Isolate the specified axes in a figure on their own
% Examples:
%   fh = isolate_axes(ah)
%   fh = isolate_axes(ah, vis)
% This function will create a new figure containing the axes/uipanels
% specified, and also their associated legends and colorbars. The objects
% specified must all be in the same figure, but they will generally only be
% a subset of the objects in the figure.
% IN:
%    ah - An array of axes and uipanel handles, which must come from the
%         same figure.
%    vis - A boolean indicating whether the new figure should be visible.
%          Default: false.
% OUT:
%    fh - The handle of the created figure.

% Copyright (C) Oliver Woodford 2011-2013

% Thank you to Rosella Blatt for reporting a bug to do with axes in GUIs
% 16/3/2012 Moved copyfig to its own function. Thanks to Bob Fratantonio
% for pointing out that the function is also used in export_fig.m.
% 12/12/12 - Add support for isolating uipanels. Thanks to michael for
% suggesting it.
% 08/10/13 - Bug fix to allchildren suggested by Will Grant (many thanks!).
% 05/12/13 - Bug fix to axes having different units. Thanks to Remington
% Reid for reporting the issue.

function fh = isolate_axes(ah, vis)
% Make sure we have an array of handles
if ~all(ishandle(ah))
    error('ah must be an array of handles');
% Check that the handles are all for axes or uipanels, and are all in the same figure
fh = ancestor(ah(1), 'figure');
nAx = numel(ah);
for a = 1:nAx
    if ~ismember(get(ah(a), 'Type'), {'axes', 'uipanel'})
        error('All handles must be axes or uipanel handles.');
    if ~isequal(ancestor(ah(a), 'figure'), fh)
        error('Axes must all come from the same figure.');
% Tag the objects so we can find them in the copy
old_tag = get(ah, 'Tag');
if nAx == 1
    old_tag = {old_tag};
set(ah, 'Tag', 'ObjectToCopy');
% Create a new figure exactly the same as the old one
fh = copyfig(fh); %copyobj(fh, 0);
if nargin < 2 || ~vis
    set(fh, 'Visible', 'off');
% Reset the object tags
for a = 1:nAx
    set(ah(a), 'Tag', old_tag{a});
% Find the objects to save
ah = findall(fh, 'Tag', 'ObjectToCopy');
if numel(ah) ~= nAx
    error('Incorrect number of objects found.');
% Set the axes tags to what they should be
for a = 1:nAx
    set(ah(a), 'Tag', old_tag{a});
% Keep any legends and colorbars which overlap the subplots
lh = findall(fh, 'Type', 'axes', '-and', {'Tag', 'legend', '-or', 'Tag', 'Colorbar'});
nLeg = numel(lh);
if nLeg > 0
    set([ah(:); lh(:)], 'Units', 'normalized');
    ax_pos = get(ah, 'OuterPosition');
    if nAx > 1
        ax_pos = cell2mat(ax_pos(:));
    ax_pos(:,3:4) = ax_pos(:,3:4) + ax_pos(:,1:2);
    leg_pos = get(lh, 'OuterPosition');
    if nLeg > 1;
        leg_pos = cell2mat(leg_pos);
    leg_pos(:,3:4) = leg_pos(:,3:4) + leg_pos(:,1:2);
    ax_pos = shiftdim(ax_pos, -1);
    % Overlap test
    M = bsxfun(@lt, leg_pos(:,1), ax_pos(:,:,3)) & ...
        bsxfun(@lt, leg_pos(:,2), ax_pos(:,:,4)) & ...
        bsxfun(@gt, leg_pos(:,3), ax_pos(:,:,1)) & ...
        bsxfun(@gt, leg_pos(:,4), ax_pos(:,:,2));
    ah = [ah; lh(any(M, 2))];
% Get all the objects in the figure
axs = findall(fh);
% Delete everything except for the input objects and associated items
delete(axs(~ismember(axs, [ah; allchildren(ah); allancestors(ah)])));

function ah = allchildren(ah)
ah = findall(ah);
if iscell(ah)
    ah = cell2mat(ah);
ah = ah(:);

function ph = allancestors(ah)
ph = [];
for a = 1:numel(ah)
    h = get(ah(a), 'parent');
    while h ~= 0
        ph = [ph; h];
        h = get(h, 'parent');

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