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Figure Window Always on Top

4.0 | 8 ratings Rate this file 5 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 3.83 KB File ID: #8642 Version: 1.0

Figure Window Always on Top



04 Oct 2005 (Updated )

Avoid obscuring figure windows by ensuring they always remain on top.

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My first attempt at a mex file making a simple call to the "SetWindowPos" function in the user32 library. This allows users to keep MATLAB figures on top, floating above all other windows even when focus is not on the target window.

Example ...

winontop('figure 1');

Tested on MATLAB Version (R14) Service Pack 2 running under Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Version 5.1 (Build 2600: Service Pack 2)


This file inspired Win On Top.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.1.0 (R14SP3)
Other requirements note : this version is compiled under matlab 7.1.0 producing a mexw32 file, see
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Comments and Ratings (10)
18 Jun 2013 Igor

Igor (view profile)

I've just uploaded another submission to do the same job, but based on java calls. (See "Acknowledgements" section above.)

Comment only
07 Mar 2011 Eckhard Lehmann

Great way to make windows always visible! I wish this was built into core MATLAB and available on other platforms too.

I've created a small patch to the file that allows to use other window names than "Figure X", i.e. for GUIDE windows or named figures. The original Author might want to incorporate it into his version:

< char *windowName, n = 1;
> char *windowName, *ntSwitch, n = 1;
> mxArray *windowNameProp, *numberTitleProp; /* for getting the window name */
< windowName = mxCalloc(1, sizeof(figureHandle)+8);
< sprintf(windowName, "Figure %d", figureHandle);
< if( mexGet(figureHandle, "Visible") == NULL )
> if( mexGet(figureHandle, "Visible") == NULL ) {
> }
> windowNameProp = mexGet(figureHandle, "Name");
> windowName = mxArrayToString(windowNameProp);
> numberTitleProp = mexGet(figureHandle, "NumberTitle");
> ntSwitch = mxArrayToString(numberTitleProp);
> if (strcmp(ntSwitch, "on") == 0) {
> if (strlen(windowName) == 0) {
> windowName = mxCalloc(1, sizeof(figureHandle)+8);
> sprintf(windowName, "Figure %d", figureHandle);
> } else {
> char *wBuf = windowName;
> windowName = mxCalloc(1, sizeof(figureHandle)+10+strlen(windowName));
> sprintf(windowName, "Figure %d: %s", figureHandle, wBuf);
> }
> }

14 Sep 2010 Jesse

Jesse (view profile)

A better way is to use Actual Title Buttons in Windows!

works for all windows and is free... :)

Comment only
26 May 2010 Joseph Burgel

Tried the example given above in:
MATLAB Version (R2007b) windows XP and got:
winontop('figure 1');
??? Error using ==> winontop
First input argument must be a figure handle

21 Nov 2007 Andrea Tagliasacchi

Would be nice to see a multiplatform version.
As a matter of fact, they should include a stay on top command as figure property directly.

09 Jun 2006 Valentin Kuklin

Very useful, thanks a lot.

17 Mar 2006 Russell Wyeth

Very useful. Could be even better if it could handle non-standard figure names. I was trying to use it with a custom gui with the figure name 'review', and it didn't work until I changed the name to 'Figure 1'

11 Dec 2005 Ryan Ollos

Very nice. The only thing that seems a bit confusing is the arguement 'figure 1', and i'm not sure why it was not made to just be an integer. The following apparently works:
hf = figure;
winontop(['figure' hf]);

20 Oct 2005 Bogdan Nuna

Very usefull

07 Oct 2005 Robert Bemis

John, this is wonderful.
Thank you!

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