MATLAB Answers


How can I save a figure within app designer?

Asked by J. Webster on 27 Apr 2016
Latest activity Commented on by David
on 15 Oct 2018 at 16:24

I've developed an application using the new App Designer. I'd like to have users be able to click a button and save a figure to a .fig file, or some other image format.

Following the accepted answer at I tried...

function ButtonSaveFigureButtonPushed(app)
            newfigure = figure;
            copyobj(app.UIAxesAP, newfigure);
            hgsave(newfigure, 'testFIgure.fig');

But that gave me the error...

Error using matlab.ui.control.UIAxes/copyElement (line 1219)
Functionality not supported with UIAxes. For more information, see Graphics Support in App Designer.

What's the best way to go about this?

  1 Comment

Based on the number of recent views this is still an open issue. I have the same problem/question using R2017a.

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10 Answers

Answer by David
on 4 Apr 2018
Edited by David
on 4 Apr 2018

I spent some time on this for my own purposes. The trick is to save the individual values from the figure into local variables to be used in a figure as follows:

            h = figure;
            h.Visible = 'off';
            x = UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children.XData;
            y = UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children.YData;
            lgndName1 = UIAxes.Legend.String{1};
            lgd = legend(lgndName1);
            lgd.Box = UIAxes.Legend.Box;
            lgd.Location = UIAxes.Legend.Location;
            h.CurrentAxes.YLabel.String = UIAxes.YLabel.String;
            h.CurrentAxes.YLabel.FontSize = UIAxes.YLabel.FontSize;
            h.CurrentAxes.XLabel.String = UIAxes.XLabel.String;
            h.CurrentAxes.XLabel.FontSize = UIAxes.XLabel.FontSize;
            h.CurrentAxes.Title.String = UIAxes.Title.String;
            h.CurrentAxes.Title.FontSize = UIAxes.Title.FontSize;
            h.CurrentAxes.XLim = [0 max(x)];
            h.CurrentAxes.XLim = [0 max(y)+1];

Notice I have the visibility off, because I don't want the user to see this going in the background.

Note: You will have to change "UIAxes" to whatever you've named your UI figure

You could also add more properties, but you will have to go into your figure and find the object name to use.

I hope this helps.

Edit: I should also mention that to get this to work as function, I had to make it a call function in a separate .m file. I made a function SaveFigures(UIAxes, SaveName) that is called when ButtonSaveFigureButtonPushed. I have multiple possible plots, which is why I allow the UIAxes to vary. (I use a switch case to make sure I save the correct plot.)


David, would it be possible to see more of this code? I am close to getting my app to do the same thing (I believe) that you wrote yours to do, but am missing something fairly minor.

Eric, it might be easier to see your code. (Sorry for the delay, I did not get an email update on your comment.)

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Answer by Guilherme Salgado Braga on 24 Feb 2018

According to the R2017b documentation on:

Functions saveas and savefig are not yet supported.


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Answer by Dharmendra Sharma on 15 Jun 2018
Edited by Dharmendra Sharma on 15 Jun 2018

This is the one potential solution which works for me. First, plot the figure/figures in normal way without using uifigure for example see code below. Visibility is on in the following example-

figure('Name','Acc','NumberTitle','off','units','normalized','outerposition',[0 0 1 1])

Then create a separate matlab function file (and call that matlab function from matlab ui). the function may include code to extract figure properties and save the figures as png file. The following link explains the saving all the figures and the code as well-- see the link--

Save all the plots

It just need some modifications and I included these in follwoing code-

        function [] = handleFigures()
        result = isfolder('figures');
        if result==0
            mkdir figures; 
        FolderName = 'figures';   % Your destination folder
        FigList = findobj(allchild(0), 'flat', 'Type', 'figure');
        for iFig = 1:length(FigList)-1
          FigHandle = FigList(iFig);
          FigName   = get(FigHandle, 'Name');
          saveas(FigHandle, fullfile(FolderName, [FigName, '.png']))
        disp('closing figures');
        close all


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Answer by J. Webster on 28 Apr 2016


  1 Comment

did u get a solution yet? I was looking to do the same

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Answer by Tobias Daßler on 20 Dec 2017

I used a workaround:

saveas(gca,uiputfile({'*.png'; '*.fig'; '*.jpg'}));
close Plot;

Maybe you could adapt this for your problem.

  1 Comment

Was this used in App Designer?

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Answer by Craig Pearson on 8 Jan 2018

I'm having a similar problem and would like a solution. I was trying to use the print function to copy a figure to the clipboard.

Annoyingly, if I use debugging mode, once the figure is created I can quit debugging mode then use

print -dmeta 

from the command window and it proceeds fine - I can then paste this into Excel from the command line (which is what I'm aiming to do from within the app).

Why can this not be achieved from within the App?


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Answer by Blanca Larraga on 4 Jun 2018

Is there a solution for saving the axes plot in a .jpeg format or not yet? I am trying to insert what I got un an axes figure within a report automatically in app designer but I don't manage to do so. Thanks.


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Answer by Jyothi Karri on 20 Jul 2018

I have the same issue. Cannot export a UIAxes from gui created from app designer. copyobj did not work either.

  1 Comment

I have the same issue. It would help if there would be a nice option just to map an UIAxes element into a normal (pop-up) figure. Then the figure could be saved with the common tools.

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Answer by Joost
on 2 Oct 2018 at 9:02
Edited by Joost
on 3 Oct 2018 at 6:45

Inspired by David's answer , I came up with this solution which I believe is more generic. My UIAxes contains a lot of graphics objects (mostly patch objects) which are all copied to a temporary figure and then saved. I took over some UIAxes properties (axes limits and data aspect ratio), but you can add any other property you need there. Specify fileName yourself. I put a button called 'Snapshot' in the app with a callback that contains the code below. Matlab R2018a was used.

% Create a temporary figure with axes.
fig = figure;
fig.Visible = 'off';
figAxes = axes(fig);
% Copy all UIAxes children, take over axes limits and aspect ratio.            
allChildren = app.UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children;
copyobj(allChildren, figAxes)
figAxes.XLim = app.UIAxes.XLim;
figAxes.YLim = app.UIAxes.YLim;
figAxes.ZLim = app.UIAxes.ZLim;
figAxes.DataAspectRatio = app.UIAxes.DataAspectRatio;
% Save as png and fig files.
saveas(fig, fileName, 'png');
savefig(fig, fileName);
% Delete the temporary figure.


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Answer by Paramjeet Panwar on 15 Oct 2018 at 16:18

My current workaround is identifying the pixel position of the UIFigure and UIAxes on the screen and taking a snapshot using Java libraries.

Refer to these links -

1 getpixelposition

2 Using Java library for screenshot - this link


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