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stem

Plot discrete sequence data

  • Plot discrete sequence data

Description

Vector and Matrix Data

example

stem(Y) plots the data sequence, Y, as stems that extend from a baseline along the x-axis. The data values are indicated by circles terminating each stem.

  • If Y is a vector, then the x-axis scale ranges from 1 to length(Y).

  • If Y is a matrix, then stem plots all elements in a row against the same x value, and the x-axis scale ranges from 1 to the number of rows in Y.

example

stem(X,Y) plots the data sequence, Y, at values specified by X. The X and Y inputs must be vectors or matrices of the same size. Additionally, X can be a row or column vector and Y must be a matrix with length(X) rows.

  • If X and Y are both vectors, then stem plots entries in Y against corresponding entries in X.

  • If X is a vector and Y is a matrix, then stem plots each column of Y against the set of values specified by X, such that all elements in a row of Y are plotted against the same value.

  • If X and Y are both matrices, then stem plots columns of Y against corresponding columns of X.

example

stem(___,"filled") fills the circles. Use this option with any of the input argument combinations in the previous syntaxes.

example

stem(___,LineSpec) specifies the line style, marker symbol, and color.

Table Data

example

stem(tbl,yvar) plots the specified variable from the table against the row indices of the table. If the table is a timetable, the specified variable is plotted against the row times of the timetable. To plot one set of y-values, specify one variable for yvar. To plot multiple sets of y-values, specify multiple variables for yvar. (since R2022b)

example

stem(tbl,xvar,yvar) plots the variables xvar and yvar from the table tbl. You can specify one or multiple variables for xvar and yvar. If both arguments specify multiple variables, they must specify the same number of variables. (since R2022b)

Additional Options

example

stem(___,Name,Value) modifies the stem chart using one or more Name,Value pair arguments.

example

stem(ax,___) plots into the axes specified by ax instead of into the current axes (gca). The option, ax, can precede any of the input argument combinations in the previous syntaxes.

example

h = stem(___) returns a vector of Stem objects in h. Use h to modify the stem chart after it is created.

Examples

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Create a stem plot of 50 data values between -2π and 2π.

figure
Y = linspace(-2*pi,2*pi,50);
stem(Y)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Data values are plotted as stems extending from the baseline and terminating at the data value. The length of Y automatically determines the position of each stem on the x-axis.

Plot two data series using a two-column matrix.

figure
X = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
Y = [cos(X), 0.5*sin(X)];
stem(Y)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 2 objects of type stem.

Each column of Y is plotted as a separate series, and entries in the same row of Y are plotted against the same x value. The number of rows in Y automatically generates the position of each stem on the x-axis.

Plot 50 data values of cosine evaluated between 0 and 2π and specify the set of x values for the stem plot.

figure
X = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
Y = cos(X);
stem(X,Y)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

The first vector input determines the position of each stem on the x-axis.

Plot 50 data values of sine and cosine evaluated between 0 and 2π and specify the set of x values for the stem plot.

figure
X = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
Y = [cos(X), 0.5*sin(X)];
stem(X,Y)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 2 objects of type stem.

The vector input determines the x-axis positions for both data series.

Plot 50 data values of sine and cosine evaluated at different sets of x values. Specify the corresponding sets of x values for each series.

figure
x1 = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
x2 = linspace(pi,3*pi,50)';
X = [x1, x2];
Y = [cos(x1), 0.5*sin(x2)];
stem(X,Y)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 2 objects of type stem.

Each column of X is plotted against the corresponding column of Y.

Create a stem plot and fill in the circles that terminate each stem.

X = linspace(0,10,20)';
Y = (exp(0.25*X));
stem(X,Y,'filled')

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Create a stem plot and set the line style to a dotted line, the marker symbols to diamonds, and the color to red using the LineSpec option.

figure
X = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
Y = (exp(X).*sin(X));
stem(X,Y,':diamondr')

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

To color the inside of the diamonds, use the 'fill' option.

Create a stem plot and set the line style to a dot-dashed line, the marker face color to red, and the marker edge color to green using Name,Value pair arguments.

figure
X = linspace(0,2*pi,25)';
Y = (cos(2*X));
stem(X,Y,'LineStyle','-.',...
     'MarkerFaceColor','red',...
     'MarkerEdgeColor','green')

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

The stem remains the default color.

Since R2022b

A convenient way to plot data from a table is to pass the table to the stem function and specify the variables to plot.

Read the first 100 rows and 7 columns of weather.csv as a timetable tbl. Then display the first three rows of the table.

tbl = readtimetable("weather.csv","Range",[1 1 101 7]);
head(tbl,3)
            Time            WindDirection    WindSpeed    Humidity    Temperature    RainInchesPerMinute    CumulativeRainfall
    ____________________    _____________    _________    ________    ___________    ___________________    __________________

    25-Oct-2021 00:00:09         46               1          84          49.2                 0                     0         
    25-Oct-2021 00:01:09         45             1.6          84          49.2                 0                     0         
    25-Oct-2021 00:02:09         36             2.2          84          49.2                 0                     0         

Plot the row times on the x-axis and the CumulativeRainfall variable on the y-axis. When you plot data from a timetable, the row times are plotted on the x-axis by default. Thus, you do not need to specify the Time variable. Return the Stem object as h. Notice that the axis labels match the variable names.

h = stem(tbl,"CumulativeRainfall");

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Change the color of the plot to purple by setting the Color property.

h.Color = [0.5 0 0.8];

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Since R2022b

Create vectors x, y1, and y2, and use them to create a table. Plot the y1 and y2 variables against the x variable, and use the axis padded command so that the stems do not overlap with the plot box. Then add a legend, and notice that the legend labels match the table variable names.

x = (0:0.1:2.9)';
y1 = cos(x);
y2 = sin(x);
tbl = table(x,y1,y2);
stem(tbl,"x",["y1","y2"]);

% Pad axes and add a legend
axis padded
legend

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 2 objects of type stem.

Alternatively, you can omit the x variable and plot the y1 and y2 variables against the row indices of the table.

stem(tbl,["y1","y2"]);
axis padded
legend

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 2 objects of type stem.

Since R2019b

You can display a tiling of plots using the tiledlayout and nexttile functions. Call the tiledlayout function to create a 2-by-1 tiled chart layout. Call the nexttile function to create the axes objects ax1 and ax2. Create separate stem plots in the axes by specifying the axes object as the first argument to stem.

x = 0:25;
y1 = exp(0.1*x); 
y2 = -exp(.05*x);
tiledlayout(2,1)

% Top plot
ax1 = nexttile;
stem(ax1,x,y1)

% Bottom plot
ax2 = nexttile;
stem(ax2,x,y2)

Figure contains 2 axes objects. Axes object 1 contains an object of type stem. Axes object 2 contains an object of type stem.

Create a 3-D stem plot and return the stem series object.

X = linspace(0,2);
Y = X.^3;
Z = exp(X).*cos(Y);
h = stem3(X,Y,Z,'filled');

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Change the color to magenta and set the marker face color to yellow. Use view to adjust the angle of the axes in the figure. Use dot notation to set properties.

h.Color = 'm';
h.MarkerFaceColor = 'y';
view(-10,35)

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Create a stem plot and change properties of the baseline.

X = linspace(0,2*pi,50);
Y = exp(0.3*X).*sin(3*X);
h = stem(X,Y);

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Change the line style of the baseline. Use dot notation to set properties.

hbase = h.BaseLine; 
hbase.LineStyle = '--';

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Hide the baseline by setting its Visible property to 'off' .

hbase.Visible = 'off';

Create a stem plot with a baseline level at 2.

X = linspace(0,2*pi,50)';
Y = (exp(0.3*X).*sin(3*X));
stem(X,Y,'BaseValue',2);

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains an object of type stem.

Input Arguments

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Data sequence to display, specified as a vector or matrix. When Y is a vector, stem creates one Stem object. When Y is a matrix, stem creates a separate Stem object for each column.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

Locations to plot data values in Y, specified as a vector or matrix. When Y is a vector, X must be a vector of the same size. When Y is a matrix, X must be a matrix of the same size, or a vector whose length equals the number of rows in Y.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

Line style, marker, and color, specified as a string or character vector containing symbols. The symbols can appear in any order. You do not need to specify all three characteristics (line style, marker, and color). For example, if you omit the line style and specify the marker, then the plot shows only the marker and no line.

Example: "--or" is a red dashed line with circle markers

Line StyleDescriptionResulting Line
"-"Solid line

Sample of solid line

"--"Dashed line

Sample of dashed line

":"Dotted line

Sample of dotted line

"-."Dash-dotted line

Sample of dash-dotted line, with alternating dashes and dots

MarkerDescriptionResulting Marker
"o"Circle

Sample of circle marker

"+"Plus sign

Sample of plus sign marker

"*"Asterisk

Sample of asterisk marker

"."Point

Sample of point marker

"x"Cross

Sample of cross marker

"_"Horizontal line

Sample of horizontal line marker

"|"Vertical line

Sample of vertical line marker

"square"Square

Sample of square marker

"diamond"Diamond

Sample of diamond line marker

"^"Upward-pointing triangle

Sample of upward-pointing triangle marker

"v"Downward-pointing triangle

Sample of downward-pointing triangle marker

">"Right-pointing triangle

Sample of right-pointing triangle marker

"<"Left-pointing triangle

Sample of left-pointing triangle marker

"pentagram"Pentagram

Sample of pentagram marker

"hexagram"Hexagram

Sample of hexagram marker

Color NameShort NameRGB TripletAppearance
"red""r"[1 0 0]

Sample of the color red

"green""g"[0 1 0]

Sample of the color green

"blue""b"[0 0 1]

Sample of the color blue

"cyan" "c"[0 1 1]

Sample of the color cyan

"magenta""m"[1 0 1]

Sample of the color magenta

"yellow""y"[1 1 0]

Sample of the color yellow

"black""k"[0 0 0]

Sample of the color black

"white""w"[1 1 1]

Sample of the color white

Source table containing the data to plot, specified as a table or a timetable.

Table variables containing the y-coordinates, specified using one of the indexing schemes from the table.

Indexing SchemeExamples

Variable names:

  • A string, character vector, or cell array.

  • A pattern object.

  • "A" or 'A' — A variable called A

  • ["A","B"] or {'A','B'} — Two variables called A and B

  • "Var"+digitsPattern(1) — Variables named "Var" followed by a single digit

Variable index:

  • An index number that refers to the location of a variable in the table.

  • A vector of numbers.

  • A logical vector. Typically, this vector is the same length as the number of variables, but you can omit trailing 0 or false values.

  • 3 — The third variable from the table

  • [2 3] — The second and third variables from the table

  • [false false true] — The third variable

Variable type:

  • A vartype subscript that selects variables of a specified type.

  • vartype("categorical") — All the variables containing categorical values

The table variables you specify can contain numeric, categorical, datetime, or duration values. If xvar and yvar both specify multiple variables, the number of variables must be the same.

Example: stem(tbl,"x",["y1","y2"]) specifies the table variables named y1 and y2 for the y-coordinates.

Example: stem(tbl,"x",2) specifies the second variable for the y-coordinates.

Example: stem(tbl,"x",vartype("numeric")) specifies all numeric variables for the y-coordinates.

Table variables containing the x-coordinates, specified using one of the indexing schemes from the table.

Indexing SchemeExamples

Variable names:

  • A string, character vector, or cell array.

  • A pattern object.

  • "A" or 'A' — A variable called A

  • ["A","B"] or {'A','B'} — Two variables called A and B

  • "Var"+digitsPattern(1) — Variables named "Var" followed by a single digit

Variable index:

  • An index number that refers to the location of a variable in the table.

  • A vector of numbers.

  • A logical vector. Typically, this vector is the same length as the number of variables, but you can omit trailing 0 or false values.

  • 3 — The third variable from the table

  • [2 3] — The second and third variables from the table

  • [false false true] — The third variable

Variable type:

  • A vartype subscript that selects variables of a specified type.

  • vartype("categorical") — All the variables containing categorical values

The table variables you specify can contain numeric, categorical, datetime, or duration values. If xvar and yvar both specify multiple variables, the number of variables must be the same.

Example: stem(tbl,["x1","x2"],"y") specifies the table variables named x1 and x2 for the x-coordinates.

Example: stem(tbl,2,"y") specifies the second variable for the x-coordinates.

Example: stem(tbl,vartype("numeric"),"y") specifies all numeric variables for the x-coordinates.

Axes object. If you do not specify the axes, then stem plots into the current axes.

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: "LineStyle",":","MarkerFaceColor","red" plots the stem as a dotted line and colors the marker face red.

The Stem properties listed here are only a subset. For a complete list, see Stem Properties.

Line style, specified as one of the options listed in this table.

Line StyleDescriptionResulting Line
"-"Solid line

Sample of solid line

"--"Dashed line

Sample of dashed line

":"Dotted line

Sample of dotted line

"-."Dash-dotted line

Sample of dash-dotted line, with alternating dashes and dots

"none"No lineNo line

Line width, specified as a positive value in points, where 1 point = 1/72 of an inch. If the line has markers, then the line width also affects the marker edges.

The line width cannot be thinner than the width of a pixel. If you set the line width to a value that is less than the width of a pixel on your system, the line displays as one pixel wide.

Stem color, specified as an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal color code, a color name, or a short name.

For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.

  • An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1], for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7].

  • A hexadecimal color code is a character vector or a string scalar that starts with a hash symbol (#) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from 0 to F. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes "#FF8800", "#ff8800", "#F80", and "#f80" are equivalent.

Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.

Color NameShort NameRGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
"red""r"[1 0 0]"#FF0000"

Sample of the color red

"green""g"[0 1 0]"#00FF00"

Sample of the color green

"blue""b"[0 0 1]"#0000FF"

Sample of the color blue

"cyan" "c"[0 1 1]"#00FFFF"

Sample of the color cyan

"magenta""m"[1 0 1]"#FF00FF"

Sample of the color magenta

"yellow""y"[1 1 0]"#FFFF00"

Sample of the color yellow

"black""k"[0 0 0]"#000000"

Sample of the color black

"white""w"[1 1 1]"#FFFFFF"

Sample of the color white

"none"Not applicableNot applicableNot applicableNo color

Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB® uses in many types of plots.

RGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
[0 0.4470 0.7410]"#0072BD"

Sample of RGB triplet [0 0.4470 0.7410], which appears as dark blue

[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]"#D95319"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.8500 0.3250 0.0980], which appears as dark orange

[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]"#EDB120"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.9290 0.6940 0.1250], which appears as dark yellow

[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]"#7E2F8E"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4940 0.1840 0.5560], which appears as dark purple

[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]"#77AC30"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4660 0.6740 0.1880], which appears as medium green

[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]"#4DBEEE"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.3010 0.7450 0.9330], which appears as light blue

[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]"#A2142F"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.6350 0.0780 0.1840], which appears as dark red

Example: "blue"

Example: [0 0 1]

Example: "#0000FF"

Marker symbol, specified as one of the markers listed in this table.

MarkerDescriptionResulting Marker
"o"Circle

Sample of circle marker

"+"Plus sign

Sample of plus sign marker

"*"Asterisk

Sample of asterisk marker

"."Point

Sample of point marker

"x"Cross

Sample of cross marker

"_"Horizontal line

Sample of horizontal line marker

"|"Vertical line

Sample of vertical line marker

"square"Square

Sample of square marker

"diamond"Diamond

Sample of diamond line marker

"^"Upward-pointing triangle

Sample of upward-pointing triangle marker

"v"Downward-pointing triangle

Sample of downward-pointing triangle marker

">"Right-pointing triangle

Sample of right-pointing triangle marker

"<"Left-pointing triangle

Sample of left-pointing triangle marker

"pentagram"Pentagram

Sample of pentagram marker

"hexagram"Hexagram

Sample of hexagram marker

"none"No markersNot applicable

Example: "+"

Example: "diamond"

Marker size, specified as a positive value in points, where 1 point = 1/72 of an inch.

Marker outline color, specified as "auto", an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal color code, a color name, or a short name. The default value of "auto" uses the same color as the Color property.

For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.

  • An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1], for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7].

  • A hexadecimal color code is a character vector or a string scalar that starts with a hash symbol (#) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from 0 to F. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes "#FF8800", "#ff8800", "#F80", and "#f80" are equivalent.

Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.

Color NameShort NameRGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
"red""r"[1 0 0]"#FF0000"

Sample of the color red

"green""g"[0 1 0]"#00FF00"

Sample of the color green

"blue""b"[0 0 1]"#0000FF"

Sample of the color blue

"cyan" "c"[0 1 1]"#00FFFF"

Sample of the color cyan

"magenta""m"[1 0 1]"#FF00FF"

Sample of the color magenta

"yellow""y"[1 1 0]"#FFFF00"

Sample of the color yellow

"black""k"[0 0 0]"#000000"

Sample of the color black

"white""w"[1 1 1]"#FFFFFF"

Sample of the color white

"none"Not applicableNot applicableNot applicableNo color

Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB uses in many types of plots.

RGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
[0 0.4470 0.7410]"#0072BD"

Sample of RGB triplet [0 0.4470 0.7410], which appears as dark blue

[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]"#D95319"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.8500 0.3250 0.0980], which appears as dark orange

[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]"#EDB120"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.9290 0.6940 0.1250], which appears as dark yellow

[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]"#7E2F8E"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4940 0.1840 0.5560], which appears as dark purple

[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]"#77AC30"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4660 0.6740 0.1880], which appears as medium green

[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]"#4DBEEE"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.3010 0.7450 0.9330], which appears as light blue

[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]"#A2142F"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.6350 0.0780 0.1840], which appears as dark red

Marker fill color, specified as "auto", an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal color code, a color name, or a short name. The "auto" option uses the same color as the Color property of the parent axes. If you specify "auto" and the axes plot box is invisible, the marker fill color is the color of the figure.

For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.

  • An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1], for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7].

  • A hexadecimal color code is a character vector or a string scalar that starts with a hash symbol (#) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from 0 to F. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes "#FF8800", "#ff8800", "#F80", and "#f80" are equivalent.

Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.

Color NameShort NameRGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
"red""r"[1 0 0]"#FF0000"

Sample of the color red

"green""g"[0 1 0]"#00FF00"

Sample of the color green

"blue""b"[0 0 1]"#0000FF"

Sample of the color blue

"cyan" "c"[0 1 1]"#00FFFF"

Sample of the color cyan

"magenta""m"[1 0 1]"#FF00FF"

Sample of the color magenta

"yellow""y"[1 1 0]"#FFFF00"

Sample of the color yellow

"black""k"[0 0 0]"#000000"

Sample of the color black

"white""w"[1 1 1]"#FFFFFF"

Sample of the color white

"none"Not applicableNot applicableNot applicableNo color

Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB uses in many types of plots.

RGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
[0 0.4470 0.7410]"#0072BD"

Sample of RGB triplet [0 0.4470 0.7410], which appears as dark blue

[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]"#D95319"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.8500 0.3250 0.0980], which appears as dark orange

[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]"#EDB120"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.9290 0.6940 0.1250], which appears as dark yellow

[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]"#7E2F8E"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4940 0.1840 0.5560], which appears as dark purple

[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]"#77AC30"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.4660 0.6740 0.1880], which appears as medium green

[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]"#4DBEEE"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.3010 0.7450 0.9330], which appears as light blue

[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]"#A2142F"

Sample of RGB triplet [0.6350 0.0780 0.1840], which appears as dark red

Output Arguments

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Stem objects. These are unique identifiers, which you can use to modify the properties of a specific Stem object after it is created.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

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