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How do I decrease the margins around the subplots in my figure in MATLAB?

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I would like to decrease the white space around my plots because when I copy the figure to a Word document, the margins around the axes reduces the size of the plot and I often have to crop this space out in order to increase the plot's size.

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 18 Oct 2013
The ability to set margins for subplots in a figure is not currently available in MATLAB. However, you may refer to the user-contributed functions "subaxis" or "subtightplot" at MATLAB Central that provides this functionality:
MATLAB Central is a common location for MATLAB users provided by MathWorks where they can share their MATLAB code and ideas.
Note that MathWorks does not guarantee or warrant the use or content of these submissions. Any questions, issues, or complaints should be directed to the contributing author.
Eric Sargent
Eric Sargent on 9 Dec 2020
Starting in R2019b, you can create a tiledlayout and set padding and spacing properties. This example creates a layout with no padding around the perimeter and minimal spacing between plots.
tiledlayout(2,2, 'Padding', 'none', 'TileSpacing', 'compact');
for i=1:4
Also, starting in R2020a, you can use the copygraphics to copy a tightly cropped version of your graphics and then paste it in Word.

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More Answers (5)

Jesús Lucio
Jesús Lucio on 12 Feb 2015
I know the question is very old, but it's still very interesting.
A simple way of doing what you want (change margins of subplots) is this:
pos = get(gca, 'Position');
pos(1) = 0.055;
pos(3) = 0.9;
set(gca, 'Position', pos)
to write just after you create each (sub)plot.
This way each plot is resized. 'Position' is the axis property (a 1 x 4 vector) with these fields:
[x y width height]
Obviously, you can change any of the four values to your best choice.
RP on 16 Nov 2019
Thank you very much Jesus. It worked awesome to solve my Problem. But, I have some queries on your code that
1. what pos(1) and pos(3) indicates?
2. What x and y indicates?
3. How can I change the values of x, y, height, and width as per my requirement?
4. Is this code works for any order of grid other than 1*4 grid as suggested by you. Let suppose, I have 5*6 order of grid. So my subplot will be subplot(5,6,i). In this case, how can I adjust the height, width of the subplots?
Please help me to undetstand which definitely will help me a lot for my further work.

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Konstantinos on 20 Nov 2015
Edited: Konstantinos on 20 Nov 2015
Since there is no standard for what margin size is the best this is what I would do
  1. Once I create the plot I would enable editing from tools menu.
  2. Resize plots to what I think is best configuration.
  3. File>Generate Code to have an automated solution
  1 Comment
Veltror on 22 Mar 2017
Thank you for the suggestion. I was unaware of this feature, and it solved my problem!

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Robby van Delden
Robby van Delden on 23 Nov 2015
Although ugly, for me it seems to help to multiply the distribution of the subplots for instance by a factor 2:
ax1 = subplot(1,8,[1,2]); .. ax2 = subplot(1,8,[3,4,5,6]); .. %probably not related: ylim([ymin ymax]); .. ax3 = subplot(1,8,[7,8]); linkaxes([ax2,ax1,ax3],'y');
instead of: ax1 = subplot(1,4,1) ax2 = subplot(1,4,[2,3]) ax3 = subplot(1,4,4)

Miquel on 17 Jan 2020
You can use the following code:
ax = gca;
outerpos = ax.OuterPosition;
ti = ax.TightInset;
left = outerpos(1) + ti(1);
bottom = outerpos(2) + ti(2);
ax_width = outerpos(3) - ti(1) - ti(3);
ax_height = outerpos(4) - ti(2) - ti(4);
ax.Position = [left bottom ax_width ax_height];
I found it here: I think it should only work for MATLAB R2019b or later versions, but it works for me with version R2018b.

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