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Adding vertical line to plot?

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Hi there,
Can anyone please tell me how I can add a vertical line to my plot at a specified sample point? For example, I have a a 1x41 vector of intensity values, and I would like to add a vertical line on the center sample (sample number 21).
Many thanks!
  1 Comment
Paulo Silva
Paulo Silva on 25 Feb 2011
hold on
SP=1; %your point goes here
line([SP SP],get(hax,'YLim'),'Color',[1 0 0])

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Accepted Answer

Michelle Hirsch
Michelle Hirsch on 29 Jan 2016
Edited: Michelle Hirsch on 2 Apr 2020
Woohoo - this is built into MATLAB now, as of R2018b! You can use xline and yline to create lines with constant x or y values respectively.
Basic usage couldn't be much easier:
If you are on older releases, another option is hline and vline from the File Exchange:
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 21 Feb 2021
in Michelle posted a link to a file exchange contribution that defines vline.

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More Answers (10)

Muhammad on 8 Jul 2014
line([x x], [y1 y2]); is the easy command;

carolina franco
carolina franco on 26 Oct 2017
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 8 Nov 2018
You can plot a horizontal or vertical line using the “plot” function with this pattern:
- Horizontal line:
plot([x1 x2],[y y])
- Vertical line:
plot([x x],[y1 y2])
For example, plot a vertical line at x = 21. Set the y values using the y-axis limits of the axes.
y = ylim; % current y-axis limits
plot([21 21],[y(1) y(2)])
As Steven suggested, starting in R2018b, you can use the “xline” and “yline” functions instead. For more information, see:
Rasmus Ringsborg Nielsen
Rasmus Ringsborg Nielsen on 11 Mar 2021
Thank you so much, works perfect!!

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Mark on 12 Mar 2013
Edited: Mark on 12 Mar 2013
Probably the simplest way:
Choose the x-value where you want the line "xval." Choose the minimum y value to be displayed on your graph "ymin" and the maximum y value to be displayed on your graph "ymax."
Flaws with this method: probably will look silly if you use '-x' or '-.', these mark your specific points on the line, but you'll only have two (at least they're endpoints).

Steven Lord
Steven Lord on 1 Nov 2018
If you're using release R2018b or later, use the xline or yline functions to create lines with constant x or y values respectively.

the cyclist
the cyclist on 25 Feb 2011
One way:
x = rand(1,41);
y = 1:41;
line([x(21) x(21)],[0 41]);
set(gca,'YLim',[0 41])

James on 28 Mar 2014
Edited: James on 28 Mar 2014
There is an excellent answer over on repeated below for convenience. ---
There exist an undocumented function graph2d.constantline:
plot(-2:5, (-2:5).^2-1)
%# vertical line
hx = graph2d.constantline(0, 'LineStyle',':', 'Color',[.7 .7 .7]);
%# horizontal line
hy = graph2d.constantline(0, 'Color',[.7 .7 .7]);
Ben on 9 Sep 2016
@Steven That's because undocumented features can be removed at any time, as this feature was.

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Pedro Luis Camuñas García-Miguel
Maybe it is a bit late but I want to contribute, there is a really easy way to add vertical and horizontal lines, you just have to use a hold and then overlap them over the main plot.
Before declaring the original plot, add a hold on to ensure it will retain both plots, then plot the lines, with this structure:
hold on;
plot(the main function)
plot([x x],[0 y_max]) % Vertical Line
plot([o x_max],[y y]) % Horizontal line
x: location on horizontal axis where you place the vertical line.
y: location on vertical axis where you place the horizontal line.
x_max: point where you want the vertical line to end.
y_max: point where you want the horizontal line to end.
I hope this was useful to whoever consults this page.

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Julian Williams
Julian Williams on 9 Feb 2019
Small additional suggestion, say you want to label your line in the legend so that it has some meaning, or take advantage of some of the easy to use options in plot, then using "hold", the ylim from the current axis and the "repmat" is very useful. You can also make multiple vertical lines with some spacing using this technique.
% make some sort of illustration
T = 1000;
A = 0.7;
h = [];
Y = cumsum(sqrt(0.05).*randn(T,1));
X = (1:T)./T;
I = find(X>A);
Y(I) = Y(I(1));
h(1) = plot(X,Y,'-k','linewidth',2);
hold on
dims = get(gca,'ylim');
yy = linspace(dims(1),dims(2),100);
xx = repmat(A,1,100);
h(2) = plot(xx,yy,':r','linewidth',2);
dims = get(gca,'xlim');
xx = linspace(dims(1),dims(2).*A,100);
yy = repmat(Y(I(1)),1,100);
h(3) = plot(xx,yy,':b','linewidth',2);
grid on
G = legend(h,'Particle Motion','Stopping Point','Stopped Value');
Just a thought.

Adrian Peters
Adrian Peters on 8 Feb 2020
Sorry, but what does (-2:5).^2-1 do? I dont know, how to calculate the ^2-1.
Adrian Peters
Adrian Peters on 8 Feb 2020
Now it makes sense to me! Thank you a lot!

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