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ticklabelformat - set a dynamic format of axes tick labels

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ticklabelformat - set a dynamic format of axes tick labels



18 Apr 2012 (Updated )

ticklabelformat enables setting the axes tick labels format. The format is preserved during zoom/pan

function ticklabelformat(hAxes,axName,format)
%TICKLABELFORMAT  Sets axis tick labels format
% TICKLABELFORMAT enables setting the format of the tick labels
% Syntax:
%    ticklabelformat(hAxes,axName,format)
% Input Parameters:
%    hAxes  - handle to the modified axes, such as returned by the gca function
%    axName - name(s) of axles to modify: 'x','y','z' or combination (e.g. 'xy')
%    format - format of the tick labels in sprintf format (e.g. '%.1f V') or a
%             function handle that will be called whenever labels need to be updated
%    Note: Calling TICKLABELFORMAT again with an empty ([] or '') format will revert
%    ^^^^  to Matlab's normal tick labels display behavior
% Examples:
%    ticklabelformat(gca,'y','%.6g V') - sets y axis on current axes to display 6 significant digits
%    ticklabelformat(gca,'xy','%.2f')  - sets x & y axes on current axes to display 2 decimal digits
%    ticklabelformat(gca,'z',@myCbFcn) - sets a function to update the Z tick labels on current axes
%    ticklabelformat(gca,'z',{@myCbFcn,extraData}) - sets an update function as above, with extra data
% Warning:
%    This code heavily relies on undocumented and unsupported Matlab functionality.
%    It works on Matlab 7+, but use at your own risk!
% Technical description and more details:
% Bugs and suggestions:
%    Please send to Yair Altman (altmany at gmail dot com)
% Change log:
%    2012-04-18: first version
%    2014-10-02: updated for R2014b (HG2)
% See also: sprintf, gca

    % Check # of args (we now have narginchk but this is not available on older Matlab releases)
    if nargin < 1
    elseif nargin < 3
        error('YMA:TICKLABELFORMAT:ARGS','Not enough input arguments');
    % Check input args
    if ~ishandle(hAxes) || (~isa(handle(hAxes),'axes') && ~isa(handle(hAxes),''))
        error('YMA:TICKLABELFORMAT:hAxes','hAxes input argument must be a valid axes handle');
    elseif ~ischar(axName)
        error('YMA:TICKLABELFORMAT:axName','axName input argument must be a string');
    elseif ~isempty(format) && ~ischar(format) && ~isa(format,'function_handle') && ~iscell(format)
        error('YMA:TICKLABELFORMAT:format','format input argument must be a string or function handle');
    % normalize axes name(s) to lowercase
    axName = lower(axName);
    if strfind(axName,'x')
    if strfind(axName,'y')
    if strfind(axName,'z')

% Install the new tick labels for the specified axes
function install_adjust_ticklbl(hAxes,axName,format)

    % If empty format was specified
    if isempty(format)
        % Remove the current format (revert to default Matlab format)
        set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabelMode'],'auto')
        setappdata(hAxes,[axName 'TickListener'],[])

    % Determine whether to use the specified format as a
    % sprintf format or a user-specified callback function
    if ischar(format)
        cb = {@adjust_ticklbl axName format};
        cb = format;

    % Now install axis tick listeners to adjust tick labels
    % (use undocumented feature for adjustments)
    ha = handle(hAxes);
    propName = [axName 'Tick'];
    hp = findprop(ha,propName);
        % R2014a or older
        hl = handle.listener(ha,hp,'PropertyPostSet',cb);

        % Adjust tick labels now
        %eventData.AffectedObject = hAxes;
        set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabelMode'],'manual')
        set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabelMode'],'auto')
        % R2014b or newer
        if iscell(cb)
            cb = @(h,e) feval(cb{1},h,e,cb{2:end});
        hl = addlistener(ha,propName,'PostSet',cb);
        %hl = event.proplistener(gca,findprop(gca,propName),'PostSet',cb)

        % *Tick properties don't trigger PostSet events when updated automatically in R2014b - need to use *Lim
        addlistener(ha,[axName 'Lim'],'PostSet',cb);        

        % Adjust tick labels now
        eventData.AffectedObject = hAxes;
        set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabelMode'],'manual')
        %set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabelMode'],'auto')  % causes labels not to be updated in R2014b!
    setappdata(hAxes,[axName 'TickListener'],hl)

% Default tick labels update callback function (used if user did not specify their own function)
function adjust_ticklbl(hProp,eventData,axName,format)	%#ok<INUSL>
    hAxes = eventData.AffectedObject;
    tickValues = get(hAxes,[axName 'Tick']);
    tickLabels = arrayfun(@(x)(sprintf(format,x)),tickValues,'UniformOutput',false);
    set(hAxes,[axName 'TickLabel'],tickLabels)

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