View License

Download apps, toolboxes, and other File Exchange content using Add-On Explorer in MATLAB.

» Watch video

Highlights from

3.3 | 6 ratings Rate this file 17 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 5.56 KB File ID: #7426 Version:
image thumbnail



Jiro Doke (view profile)


12 Apr 2005 (Updated )

Plot a set of data with two different axes.

| Watch this File

File Information

PLOT2AXES(X, Y, 'Param1', 'Value1', ...) plots X versus Y with secondary axes. The following parameters are accepted [default values]:
  xloc ['top']: location of secondary X-axis
  yloc ['right']: location of secondary Y-axis
  xscale [1]: scaling factor for secondary X-axis (scalar)
  yscale [1]: scaling factor for secondary Y-axis (scalar)

xscale and yscale can also be an anonymous function that describes the relationship between the 2 axes, such as the equation relating Celsius and Fahrenheit: @(x) 5/9*(x-32)

  xlim [NaN NaN]
  ylim [NaN NaN]:
xlim/ylim in the primary axes (secondary is adjusted accordingly). The default is naturally selected by the plotting function.

PLOT2AXES(@FUN, ...) uses the plotting function @FUN instead of PLOT to produce the plot. @FUN should be a function handle to a plotting function, e.g. @plot, @semilogx, @semilogy, @loglog ,@stem, etc. that accepts the syntax H = FUN(...). Optional arguments accepted by these plotting functions are also allowed (e.g. PLOT2AXES(X, Y, 'r*', ...))

[AX, H] = PLOT2AXES(...) returns the handles of the primary and secondary axes (in that order) in AX, and the handles of the graphic objects in H.

Right-click on the axes to bring up a context menu for adding grids to the axes.

The actual data is plotted in the primary axes. The primary axes lie on top of the secondary axes. After the execution of this function, the primary axes become the current axes. If the next plot replaces the axes, the secondary axes are automatically deleted.

When you zoom and pan, the secondary axes will automatically adjust itself (only available on R2006b or later). For older releases of MATLABĀ®, there will be a "Fix Axes" menu, which let's you adjust the limits.

PLOT2AXES('FixAxes') fixes the secondary limits of all figures created using plot2axes.

Example 1:
  x = 0:.1:1;
  y = x.^2 + 0.1*randn(size(x));
  [ax, h] = plot2axes(x, y, 'ro', 'yscale', 25.4);
  title('Length vs Time');
  ylabel(ax(1), 'inch');
  ylabel(ax(2), 'millimeter');
  xlabel('time (sec)');

Example 2:
  x = 1:10;
  y = 50*rand(size(x));
  [ax, h] = plot2axes(x, y, 'ro', 'yscale', @(x) 5/9*(x-32), ...
      'xscale', 2.20);
  xlabel(ax(1), 'kg'); ylabel(ax(1), 'Fahrenheit');
  xlabel(ax(2), 'lb'); ylabel(ax(2), 'Celcius');

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.9 (R2009b)
Other requirements Tested R14 - R2009b
Tags for This File   Please login to tag files.
Please login to add a comment or rating.
Comments and Ratings (8)
31 Jan 2014 Emilie

Emilie (view profile)

This is great, just what I was looking for! But (a stupid) question - how do I modify the line style and color properties of the line I've now plotted?

Comment only
26 Feb 2009 Yuri K

Yuri K (view profile)

When you add large enough title to the primary axes (which is current), it get shifted down, but not the secondary axes. If title applied to the secondary axes, no shift, but the title may appear too high. Took me some time to figure out the problem. Anyway, great function. Thanks

02 Mar 2006 Jiro Doke

Kevin: I have uploaded an updated version that should let you plot on a uipanel.

Sloane: Yes, that is a limitation. I have indicated in the help text that the axes relation must be linear.

Comment only
28 Feb 2006 Kevin Turner

For the most part, this is a great tool. However, in cases where the parent of the current axes is not a figure (i.e. in a GUI application the parent may be a uipanel), then the function will not work as is.

30 Nov 2005 Sloane Wiktorowicz

Runs into trouble when having inversely proportional axes (e.g., wavelength on bottom and energy on top), because one axis must be reversed. This can be overcome by editing the function plotxx.

18 Aug 2005 Frode Seland

13 Jul 2005 Garner Izru


27 Apr 2005 adi sayoga


28 Apr 2005

v1.2 - remove tick labels for secondary axes if no scaling factors are specified. Also, fixed bug in matching the scaling type (linear or log).
v1.3 - added the 'Fix Axes' menu for adjusting the secondary axes limits after zooming.

16 Jun 2005

Added option for specifying an equation for XScale and YScale

30 Dec 2009 1.1

Added auto adjust of axes limits (works R2006b and later). Now works with nonlinear scaling. Added ability to add grids interactively. Use of function handles instead of strings.

01 Sep 2016

Updated license

Contact us