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Dynamic, scalable zoom following the motion of the cursor; also displays the current position.

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% ZOOM2CURSOR, without arguments, will activate the current axis, create a text box showing the current position of the mouse pointer (similar to pixval), and automatically zoom the image to the location of the cursor as it is moved. The zoomed display dynamically scrolls with the motion of the cursor.
% By default, the function zooms to 50% of the image in the axis.
% Left-clicking will zoom in further, and right-clicking will zoom out.
% Shift-clicking (or simultaneously clicking the left and right mouse buttons) at any point will display the original (un-zoomed) image, as will moving the cursor outside of the current axis. The zoom percentage is restored when the mouse is moved.
% Double-clicking zooms out to the original image, modifying the zoom percentage.
% Tested under R12.1 and R13.
% Written by Brett Shoelson, Ph.D. (,
% 12/26/02
% 2/16/03; Rev 2: Program is more robust; fixes a bug when window is resized.
%Incremental increase/decrease in zoom percent (on mouseclick) has been reduced.
%ALSO: Now works with images, surfaces, lines (and thus plots), and patches (rather than just images)

Comments and Ratings (15)

Brett Shoelson

Brett Shoelson (view profile)

Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't touched this file in many years--glad you're finding it useful. Regarding your request...It took me about two minutes to modify the file to allow the specification of axes to activate. Happy to send it to you if you send me your address.


kukke swaroop

Great feature! Amazing work.
It ll be useful if it can hover and zoom on figure containing subplots. it works only for the last subplot

This way to interact with data is fantastic, truly a wonderful contribution!

I think there is a bug, or perhaps a false expectation on my part. In MATLAB 2012a on a Mac, I create a simple image and investigate it zoom2cursor:


The one white pixel in the matrix is at (50,125) but using zoom2cursor it reports the pixel to be at ~(64,117). Thoughts about this?

Brett Shoelson

Brett Shoelson (view profile)

Thanks for all the feedback.... Regarding EXIT functionality, doesn't clicking on the "x" (lower left) suffice?

Great work,
it is really useful,
Thanks for Sharing...

Very useful, thanks.
For those wondering how to exit the function, just click on 'X'.

I've found useful to create a 'exit_zoom2cursor' function.
If you're interested, comment the statement 'endbutton = ...'
And call this function:

function exit_zoom2cursor
zoomparams = getappdata(gcf,'zoomparams');
if isempty(zoomparams)

Ahmad Samy

Excellent usage of figure handles.
Waiting for your next work

Moshe Ufnik

Very elegant

Engamba Bobin

Very good work. Will help me greatly.
How do you exit, assuming you can? Or do you just have to close the figure?

paul calvert

A nice improvement would be to have an 'escape' mode to allow selecting a different figure or subplot ..or just plain 'exit' of the function....

Plamen Stoyanov

Anne Carpenter

Nice work! Just what I needed, and it works great on R14 on a Mac.

Andy Bliss

Very nice! I was contemplating writing something like this, but I was glad to find that someone else had already accomplished the daunting task.

Berthold Käferstein

Very cool utility to simplify the work with plots!

Paul Koola

Excellent feature for Visual data exploration.

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MATLAB 6.5 (R13)

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