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Current figure handle




fig = gcf returns the current figure handle. If a figure does not exist, then gcf creates a figure and returns its handle. You can use the figure handle to query and modify figure properties. For more information, see Figure Properties.


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Set the background color and remove the toolbar for the current figure. Use the gcf command to get the current figure handle.

fig = gcf; % current figure handle
fig.Color = [0 0.5 0.5];
fig.ToolBar = 'none';

Figure containing a surface plot. The background color of the figure is blue-green and the toolbar has been removed.

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Current Figure

The current figure is the target for graphics output. It is the figure window in which graphics commands such as plot, title, and surf draw their results. It is typically the last figure created or the last figure clicked with the mouse.

User interaction can change the current figure. If you need to access a specific figure, store the figure handle in your program code when you create the figure and use this handle instead of gcf.


  • To get the handle of the current figure without forcing the creation of a figure if one does not exist, query the CurrentFigure property on the root object.

    fig = get(groot,'CurrentFigure');
    MATLAB® returns fig as an empty array if there is no current figure.

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

See Also