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version 1.99 (399 KB) by

Exports figures nicely to a number of vector & bitmap formats

552 Ratings



Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week Popular File 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

This function saves a figure or single axes to one or more vector and/or bitmap file formats, and/or outputs a rasterized version to the workspace, with the following properties:
   - Figure/axes reproduced as it appears on screen
   - Cropped/padded borders (optional)
   - Embedded fonts (pdf only)
   - Improved line and grid line styles
   - Anti-aliased graphics (bitmap formats)
   - Render images at native resolution (optional for bitmap formats)
   - Transparent background supported (pdf, eps, png)
   - Semi-transparent patch objects supported (png only)
   - RGB, CMYK or grayscale output (CMYK only with pdf, eps, tiff)
   - Variable image compression, including lossless (pdf, eps, jpg)
   - Optionally append to file (pdf, tiff)
   - Vector formats: pdf, eps
   - Bitmap formats: png, tiff, jpg, bmp, export to workspace
This function is especially suited to exporting figures for use in publications and presentations, because of the high quality and portability of media produced.
Note that the background color and figure dimensions are reproduced (the latter approximately, and ignoring cropping & magnification) in the output file. For transparent background (and semi-transparent patch objects), use the -transparent option, and set the axes 'Color' property to 'none' where desired. Pdf, eps and png are the only file formats to support a transparent background, while the png format alone supports transparency of patch objects.
When exporting to vector format (pdf & eps), and to bitmap using the painters renderer, this function requires that ghostscript is installed on your system. You can download this from:
When exporting to eps it additionally requires pdftops, from the Xpdf suite of functions. You can download this from:
Usage examples and tips can be found in the README section at:
A technical description of the various components can be found here:
This submission was originally created by Oliver Woodford. Yair Altman maintains this utility since Jan 2015.
When reporting bugs, please raise an issue via GitHub:
Do not paste the error into the comments below - I will not respond to these.

Comments and Ratings (774)


Please, I would like to transfer png images into tiff, but I don´t know, where I put (load) my images for this transfer. Because I have this error:

Error using get
There is no Binarizace_okoli_ 1.png property on the Root class.
Error in export_fig (line 265)
    fig = get(0, 'Binarizace_okoli_ 1.png');

Can you advice me?
Thank you for your answer.

l l

l l (view profile)

nice job man!

Andrea Finke

Great! Works perfectly and saves me a lot of time.


Jay (view profile)

that's OK!


E_Z (view profile)

Good function! However, it doesn't print axis values properly specially when there is something like x10(-15). My code is given below:
t = 0:1/4:1; % test range
xa = sin(2*pi*2*t);
plot(t,xa,'.-'); grid on;title('tom');
export_fig test.pdf -native -transparent

ty long

john doe


Li Dong

Li Dong (view profile)

Jiaqi Chen



I am plotting a grid of pixels in matlab and I have to overlay multiple grids on same figure using hold on (around 100). At the end figure become extremely heavy that if i zoom in a little portion of figure, it take computer to process an hour to zoom.
I was thinking to export figure on EPS format and then see the zoomed figure in EPS viewer. However, i am not able to see zoomed information of figure. Please let me know is it possible to preserve original figure information in EPS format so that when i zoom in EPS figure, I can see details just like in MATLAB?


David (view profile)

Really useful function, thank you! However, there is a small bug that occurs when using the LineWidth option in conjunction with anti-aliasing:

figure(1), clf;
z = linspace(0,4*pi,250);
x = 2*cos(z) + rand(1,250);
y = 2*sin(z) + rand(1,250);
scatter3(x,y,z,'Marker', 'x', 'LineWidth', 4);
export_fig -a4

The saved figure will display points at default line width rather than the specified value.

Hello everyone, I used this function to export my figures to PDF. Then I used those pdf figures in my latex paper. When I uploaded the paper, I got "fonts not embedded" error. Is not this function supposed to embed the fonts already? What else should I do to not to get this error?

Joris Meurs

*.EMF would be great

Neil Arthur

In order to export to the desired size, using:
does not work on its own. You also need to change the LooseInset property with
Then use export_fig with no padding. Then the figure will print exactly to the desired size...Is this correct? Or am I missing something?

Leo Simon

Sorry, I downloaded the latest option and the issue I noted earlier has been fixed.

Leo Simon

It's a great addition, but there's one issue, which is that the padding option works only if options is a vector, which it isn't in my case. I hacked my code: on line 349 of export_fig, the third argument is hard-coded as a 1, if you change it to be options.bb_padding, then one can use the -p option generally. Hopefully this doesn't create other problems, but it seems to be working for me.


Aj_ti (view profile)

got to rate this full star. easy to use and handy

Simon Wyss




Keith (view profile)

I have enjoyed using this package for many years. Of recent I've started to use the Parallel Computing Toolbox (PCT). Are there any plans on getting export_fig to work with the PCT? PCT in parfor loops use the -nodesktop and -nofigure options which export_fig doesn't seem well set up to handle.


CS (view profile)

one of the best toolbox. Thank you very much.

Very useful. The figure quality is very good

elvin feng

Good stuff here.

But I'm having an issue, when exporting to a tif and trying out the different options (-native, -q, etc) the output comes out the same resolution but the quality is diminished. 4x4 regions appear to be averaged into one which is quite the loss. Am I using the wrong options here to export or is this intended?


des (view profile)

This function has made my life a great deal better for the last 7 years. Thanks a lot to the developer/maintainer!

BUT: after the sudden death of my previous PC and subsequent complete system reinstallation, pdf figures exported with export_fig now come in Courier font. Makes for fancy retro hipster style graphics but is unfortunately not an option for any kind of publications, and no solution found locally so far - I had to go back to Matlab's built in print function ):

Has anyone experienced similar behaviour? Is the problem on Matlab's or Ghostscript's side, or somewhere else?

Some clues:
- The Font tab in the pdf's Document Properties states: "any (Embedded Subset)" - somewhere in the exporting process the figure's font (Helvetica, I believe) goes missing.

- current system specs: Windows 7, Matlab 2016b, Ghostscript 9.19

- Browsing through older pdf files, I found that any pre-reinstall combinations of various Matlab and Ghostscript versions up to R2015b / 9.15 worked. There, the pdf specifies "Helvetica" as its embedded font (and thus it also displays Helvetica/Arial).


des (view profile)

Oliver Karger

Hi, this export package is great, the plot quality is so much better than with the built-in Matlab functions.

What I am wondering is in the pdf export, that the grid, which constists of faint grey lines in the Matlab figure becomes a dashed white line in the pdf export. Since I am using dashed lines to separate visually certain regions in the plot the now white dashed lines are overlapping with my annotation lines.

In the png export output the gridlines are still in a faint grey color.

Where can I change that to get the same result for the pdf export as well?

Thanks and best,


susana (view profile)

Hello Yair,

Excellent contribution.. But i'm struggling with '-append' option because I want to put two gui figures in the same file and with your function I'm able to do that, but I loose some of the handles of my figures (e.g. uitables, string boxes..). Any ideas what could this be?
Best regards,

xueping li

Thank you for your contribution


Alexander H


Adrian (view profile)

Thank you for filling the gap. This is extremely handy!


Adrian (view profile)


John (view profile)

Perfect. Thanks for your hard work. I had to download a newer version of export-fig to avoid eps2pdf error on 2015a.

Zhou Wei


J S (view profile)

Thank you very much for this. If I was choleric, you would have prevented me from beating up my computer because of the annoying and shitty handling of the print function. Unsuccessfully tried for over an hour to get rid of the outer padding of saved plots. With your script, it was about 8 minutes, including download time.

Kiran Sagar

I work on a computer where I don't have administrator rights. So, I can't install ghostscript. Is there any work around for that? (on Windows 7 - 64bit)

Awesome thanks


Ian Bennett

Very good program. However, I experience an issue when trying to export images with semi-transparent plotted points (using MarkerHandle.EdgecolorData and MarkerHandle.FacecolorData). The image that is exported does not show my points as semi-translucent, as they are in the plot. Instead, they show up as opaque.

@Miles, you can try out the following code to specify file name.

export_fig (sprintf('figure%d',mm));

I used it in a loop eg. for mm=1:5

cunjie zhang

cunjie zhang (view profile)



Great function. Saved a lot of time.


Miles (view profile)

I am having trouble specifying the filename when using this code looks something like this:

...[code to make my figure]...

temp_str = strjoin({'filepath\',filename},'');

When I do this, I still get a file saved in my directory which is named "export_fig_out.png". I was expecting that I would get a file with my "filename" that I specified.

Can anyone explain what I am doing wrong? I am slightly confused about the syntax for this function, I think.


Yue Chen

Great function. Thanks for sharing.

Pietro Binel

I have a question concerning crop! If I crop the image it won't be centered with respect to the plot box, because on the left side there is the YLabel. How should i modify the code so that the left space out of the box is equal to the space on the right (empty)?

many thanks!


Zhang (view profile)

renders EPS figure beautifully that was a mess when using the matlab defaults. thank you!

Yiling Xiong

Daniel Cook

This is a life saver. I've used it to produce excellent figures for publications as well as presentations.


M FRZ (view profile)

@ Yuri K: Thank you!

Hello unfortunately it does not work with geowshow and an image over a map.

[Singapore, R] = geotiffread(file);
s = size(Singapore);
matrix = rand(s(1),s(2));
geoshow(Singapore(:,:,1:3), R)
hold on
geoshow(matrix, R, 'DisplayType', 'texturemap','facealpha',.5);

And here the file of the image

if we do
export_fig test.png

it will not see the transparency as posted here:

Hello unfortunately it does not work with geowshow and an image over a map.

[Singapore, R] = geotiffread(file);
s = size(Singapore);
matrix = rand(s(1),s(2));
geoshow(Singapore(:,:,1:3), R)
hold on
geoshow(matrix, R, 'DisplayType', 'texturemap','facealpha',.5);

And here the file of the image

Yuri K

Yuri K (view profile)

M FRZ: set(gcf,'color','w')


M FRZ (view profile)

Hi , thanks for the code. how can I remove the gray border of the chart? export_fig gives me a graph with gray border (chart area color). I couldnt find the answer to this question.


syrup (view profile)


Hanif (view profile)


In order to make the code compatible with later MATLAB versions, you can change the code on line 14 in "using_hg2(fig)".

It should now be:
tf = ~verLessThan('matlab','8.4.0');

Earlier it was:
tf = ~graphicsversion(fig, 'handlegraphics');


Smilla (view profile)

Raymond Phan

I've been using this script for years. Haven't gotten around to rating this script until now. Thanks for this script; awesome work!


zivan (view profile)

Great Work.

Gabriel Mocan


Andrea Carpi


When I use this to convert a figure to a pdf/eps, I have "tiles" that are overlapping each other, causing for some filled circles to be cut in half, etc.

Is there any way to fix this?

Many thanks,



When I use export_fig to create .eps figures, both the x label and y label are not centered with respect to the axes; instead they are centered with respect to the cropped figures. I am using MATLAB2016a on a 64bit Ubuntu system. The following code can be used to demonstrate the problem described above:




axis([0 3*3.1415926 -1 1]);



export_fig test.eps -painters -r500 -q100 -cmyk -transparent;

Please help solve this problem. Many thanks!

Very helpful, thanks!

Mingjian Cui

Really helpful!

Felipe Uribe

A great tool! Many thanks!


Louis (view profile)

If we change the size of the figure showing in Matlab, the eps image size changes. Is there an option to resize to a specific eps file regardless of the figure?

amin rasoulof

A Lifesaver! I badly needed a transparent background in png output and it did it great for me.

Hello, I have a problem. I have 3 figures figure(1), figure(2) and figure(3). I try to put figure_hanfle=findall(0,'type','figure') and export_fig(figure_handle,'-pdf') and I have an error message "Handle must be that of a figure, axes or uipanel"...
Could you help me? I want to have a figure in each sheets of a pdf. Thank you

Diana Li

It works really good. :-)

I am getting the following error in matlab:

Pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from

I too have installed xpdf as directed but am having no luck. Any suggestions?


Todd Karin

I believe I've found a bug. Please try the following code. You see that the peaks of the sine waves in the plot do not correspond with the peaks in the image.



x = linspace(0,30*pi,1000);
y = sin(x);

h(1) = axes('position',[.1 .15 .8 .3])
xlim([0 max(x)])

h(2) = axes('position',[.1 .45 .8 .3])
xlim([0 max(x)])


Damir Dominko

David Ho

Hi there, this tool is very capable. I have been looking for a similar tool to help me export a 3D plot with large amount of data that allows me to encode the axes/text differently from the data.

I came across epscombine and figure2eps but the tools are outdated. (see my question in the link below).

I wonder if you would consider adding those features to export_fig? Or does matlab natively already support them?


Awesome work, Yair! Thank you very much for creating, documenting and sharing this great function for us.



Awesome work, Yair! Thank you very much for creating, documenting and sharing this great function for us.


I had to change the line 131 in crop_borders from
B = repmat(bcol,(b-t)+1+padding*2,(r-l)+1+padding*2,1,n);

B = repmat(bcol,[(b-t)+1+padding*2,(r-l)+1+padding*2,1,n]);

Otherwise, it didn't work.

Juan Carlos


I have been using your code for quite sometime and really like it. Thanks.

Recently, I noticed that in exporting the figure to, say, a PNG image, the minor ticks were not produced. Any suggestions.



Thank you for the code!

Having one issue, though - the font of the labels on the colorbar becomes very tiny in the captured image. Any suggestions?


Linus (view profile)

Hey, first thanks for this file!
I have a problem with exporting a figure to *.eps while using FontName 'Times' in Label and axis....

The exported *.eps image is always the same size and not depending on figure size.

My Matlab Version i use is R2015a.
Any suggestions?

Greetings and Thanks


Arne Zimmer


thanks for this great file!

But one thing: I use R2015b. I copied crop_borders.m, export_fig.m, print2array.m and using_hg2.m to my matlab folder and then I use this command:
export_fig test2.tiff -native

The file test2.tiff is in both directions 2 pixels larger than the original!!

Is there missing something?? What is my error?

Thanks in advance!!

Pedro Mateus

Loved all this project. Just one thing, when I try to export to eps or pdf I receive a message "export: Command not found." but everything is done...

Best, Pedro


Firstly: I love your script Yair, it's great and I use it alot! It really produces nice figures!

Secondly: I got a problem lately. I currently writing my dissertation thesis so I would like all my PDFs in CMYK colorspace, which worked fine for the first figure I made (I think at least).
But with another figure, I run into troubles as it seems not to save the PDF content in CMYK space. I am not sure how to check on it (only finding expensive tools for this) but when I open it in CMYK color space in Illustrator, colors change dramatically... I get the following warning when executing the script with these parameters (-pdf -cmyk -r300):

Warning: Multiple images & lines detected. In such cases, the lines might
appear with an invalid color due to an internal MATLAB bug (fixed in R2014b).
Possible workaround: add a '-depsc' or '-opengl' parameter to the export_fig command.
> In print2eps at 232
  In print2array at 110
  In print2eps at 394
  In export_fig at 625
  In MYFILENAME at 311

Yes, I am using R2012b because we have some old code that won't work properly in the newer versions of Matlab. Do you think that might be an issue? Or any other ideas? Possibilities?

Would appreciate help :)


Marc Crapeau

Very precious tool, thanks a lot for that.

If it can help people: I had a problem using export_fig on figures created with functions of the mapping toolbox. The coast lines I was plotting together with my data were visible on the matlab figure but not on the file created by export_fig. To solve that I have used the uistack function to push my coast lines on top of the figure. For example:

line_coast=load('coast'); h_cl=plotm(,line_coast.long,'k-');
% insert here complex mapping toolbox plotting operations



I would like to thank the original author and the current maintainer for their outstanding work. For me, export_fig is a must!

People who write papers in electrical engineering or related fields might also take advantage of bibget. This is a tool I wrote to easily retrieve BibTeX entries from IEEE Xplore.

With export_fig and bibget, writing papers is much more fun! :-)


Chang (view profile)

Youngmin Ha

Yair, can't thank you enough to show my appreciation for this function. I'd been using it for manuscript figures for over two years now.


On El Capitan I cannot use export_fig to export into eps. Precisely, that's the error I get:

Pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from

I also tried to install xpdf as indicated, but still the same problem. Could anyone please help me?

On El Capitan I cannot use export_fig to export into eps. Precisely, that's the error I get:

Pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from

I also tried to install xpdf as indicated, but still the same problem. Could anyone please help me?

Great script! Do you know how I can export a panel within a tabular. The problem is that the panel original dimensions are not kept but the dimensions of the tabular are taken.

Not sure if this is a bug or intended ? Is a workaround possible ?


neo (view profile)

This submission no longer (2014b onward) improves line styles in exported eps figures... As this file is still getting updates may be author should check this feature.

Tina Fuhrmann

I forgot to add the correct search path, sorry! With the current version I do not get the warning any more.

Sorry for posting twice the last time ... is there any way to delete a comment?


Great tool! thanks for the contribution. I'm just having a bit problem. I'm loading and modifying an image of 360x360 pixels. When I export it with export_fig I get an image of 362x362. Could you give me a hint why? I'm using Matlab 2014b in Windows 8. Thanks!

Tina Fuhrmann

Recently I get the following warning message in R2015b when using export_fig with boxplot and plot:
Warning: graphicsversion will be removed in a future release.
In using_hg2 (line 15)
In export_fig>parse_args (line 797)
In export_fig (line 216)

Thanks for the great file, I am using it since a few months and I am thrilled :).

Tina Fuhrmann

Recently I get the following warning message in R2015 when using export_fig with boxplot and plot:
Warning: graphicsversion will be removed in a future release.
In using_hg2 (line 15)
In export_fig>parse_args (line 797)
In export_fig (line 216)

Thanks for the great file, I am using it since a few months and I am thrilled :).


Davide (view profile)

It works pretty fine with R2015b.

Dan K

Dan K (view profile)

Note that saving to the clipboard was broken in R2015b. The fix is described in (apply at line 733):

Carlos Meza

Excellent contribution. I have problems with (surfc,meshc) not generated vectors. When I am using surf if generated. Any solution?. Thank you very much for your collaboration


Plotting works fine except of plots generated by using bar() or histogram().
There I can't get any transparent pdf files with vector graphics.
My command used was:
export_fig( 'histo.pdf','-pdf', '-transparent',figure(1))


Plotting works fine except of plots generated by using bar() or histogram().
There I can't get any transparent pdf files with vector graphics.
My command used was:
export_fig( 'histo.pdf','-pdf', '-transparent',figure(1))


xikang (view profile)

Excellent when I want to get a transparent figure. Thank you very much!


Laura (view profile)

Andy Hueni

PDF export works for me on Mac OS X El Capitan with R2015b after installing Ghostscript-9.16.pkg from
Had to move to this package as the Matlab fillPage and print functions I used till now messed it up after the Capitan upgrade, can't say if it applies to Yosemite as well.


Laura (view profile)

I've been using this function since forever to produce article-level figures with tight control of the dimensions

Yair Altman

Yair Altman (view profile)

@MSch - export_fig works well on R2015b. The removal of the builtin Matlab ghostscript does not affect export_fig, since export_fig does not depend on it. You can install ghostscript executable directly from and then export_fig will use it.

I remind everyone that I will not respond to feature requests or bug reports in this comments section - if you have something to request or to report then use Github's issues page to report and track your issue:


MSch (view profile)

does not run with Matlab 2015b due to this: "MATLAB no longer ships with the Ghostscript® library. Remove all instances of code that use ghostscript.m." (see ReleaseNotes -> graphics -> Functionality being removed or changed)

I'll stick with 2015a till there's a workaroud, because I love this tool, especially the append_pdfs function :) Thanks!


David (view profile)

I have been using export_fig for a long time. After switching to R2015b, it threw a warning about using an obsolete function (graphicsversion, I believe) so I got the latest version. This produces an invalid eps file,so the eps2pdf crashes. Preview also cannot open the eps file. The error report from ghostscript is
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push
   1951 1 3 %oparray_pop 1950 1 3 %oparray_pop 1934
   1 3 %oparray_pop 1820 1 3 %oparray_pop
   --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1194/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:78/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.16: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Please help!


Wonderful code

Great tool, really improves the look of my graphs. Only thing so far is that cropping is either on or off, with no option to crop only top/bottom or left/right. I need this to have proper scaling of the plotbox area in Latex files. I had to fix it by just disabling left/right cropping in the crop_borders.m file disabling it for good. Would be great to have specific command for left/right/top/bottom cropping on or off. That's just a minor thing though.

Ben Webber

Great tool.

However, it seems that when text objects are positioned using normalized units, these positions are not properly retained when exporting the figure. I regularly use normalized units as I find these more intuitive. I'm using Matlab 2015b on MacOS 10.9 (the problem also occurs on Matlab 2012b).


I have been trying to solve the transparency issue for a long time. Now it's finally solved! Thank you!


NenaV (view profile)

Hello Yair,
Has print2eps been tested with R2015b? It seems that the font mapping doesn't work.

I have a figure with Times font throughout (roman and bold). I made an eps using print2eps, but when I imported this in MS Word and tried to create a PDF file, I get a message like:
%%[ Error: Times-Roman-Bold not found. Font cannot be embedded. ]%%
%%[ Error: invalidfont; OffendingCommand: findfont ]%%


%%[ Flushing: rest of job (to end-of-file) will be ignored ]%%
%%[ Warning: PostScript error. No PDF file produced. ] %%


By the way the 1 star rating was an accident. I rate this file 6/5.

I have also noticed greek letters distorted when using export_fig. I used to export as -png with compression -m3.
Exporting to pdf file removes the greek letters problem, and increases the quality of the plot.


I use this all the time to create plots, and it has been great! Recently I've noticed it does not create Greek letters correctly in the title. There is another post on Github noting the same problem for Matlab 2015a. I'm using Matlab 2014b on Windows 7. Does anyone know why this is happening or how to fix it?

Thanks for the help!

xinlu wang

Keegan Moore

cheng joylin

cheng joylin



Jitin Beri


Al (view profile)


This is working great for me with exception of using it with the function Magnify on Figure.

For some reason, when Export_Fig runs, the x-axis of some of the magnified figures changes to become illegible. Its almost like some additional decimal places are added to the x-axis and they all overlap each other. As soon as Export_Fig is done, the axis goes back to normal.

Any help on this would be appreciated.

VItor ribeiro

This is my favorite tool to export graphics. However i found that i am not able to export markers that have a certain amount of alpha parameter(yes i found a way to do it and maybe you can find it if you dig on internet). When i export to eps the effect of shade in the background of the marker disappear. The way that i can set transparency in markers is the following:

sMarkers=h1.MarkerHandle; %h1 is line handle
sMarkers.FaceColorData = uint8(255*[0;0;0;0.5]); %fourth element allows setting alpha
sMarkers.EdgeColorData = uint8(255*[0;0;0;0]);


Hi there,

This is a great code but I cannot seem to understand that when I try to use export_fig with larger font sizes, a grey box appears over my axis labels when I try to export the figure in a higher resolution. This is slowly driving me insane and I cannot seem to find anything on it. Perhaps it is my graphics card? Or just me? I use something like this for instance:

export_fig 'filename.png' -png -opengl -r150;

It's an amazing tool.

Thanks for maintaining to support 2014 and 2015 MATLAB versions.

I am wondering why the font is extremely small under linux? I have tried both gentoo and ubuntu, the problem persists. matlab version also have been tested but all ends up with very small fonts.



Deniz (view profile)


Hi.. Actually i used this code last year to save fig as pdf and append the same, and it worked great..
but now when I try to use 'append', unwanted patches appear on the appended pdf file. I am using MATLAB 2014b. Will you be able to help me out.??
otherwise, the code works great.!! superb job!!


Vital !!
Thank you very much !

Solves all my issues with Matlab - LaTeX compatibility.

Ilya Belevich


Alan Cole

FYI. For my comment on May 13th I corrected the issue by temporarily turning of Windows 7 UAC. When set to none it worked correctly.


John (view profile)


John (view profile)

R2015a, Mac Pro, Mavericks. Exporting to PNG. Works great, fixed my sizing and clipping problems.

Alan Cole

With the new version I receive the following error:

Warning: Path to ghostscript installation could not be saved. Enter it manually in C:\Program

The \.ignore\ghostscript.txt does not currently exist.

Peng Xu

Great tool

I have a problem with the exported .png file. The exponential notation on the top of the left Y axis does not show in the png exported image. Has anyone experienced this?
For instance I have a plot with value 0 to 5 "x10^-12". The exponential shows at the top of the axis but none of the formats I have tried (eps, pdf, jpg, png) show it.

Otherwise, nice work!


Ludwig (view profile)

I have used this tool in matlab 2013a and it works perfectly. In matlab 2015a, the exact code gives a issue with exporting imagesc figures with colorbars. It always displays a white diagonal stripe from botton left to bottom left to top right. This occurs no matter which colormap is used. Has anyone tried it on 2015a so far?

ps : excellent work

It works excellent for me.

Kevin Moerman

Kevin Moerman (view profile)

Nicholas D.

Menno Poot

A great utility to export my figures to high quality .eps files.


biajia (view profile)

When exporting Matlab2015a ".fig" file to ".pdf", the edges are cut off, especially the right side.


Jeff (view profile)

I'm having trouble with matlab 2015a
Below is my error message
Thanks for your help

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1983 1 3 %oparray_pop 1982 1 3 %oparray_pop 1966 1 3 %oparray_pop 1852 1
   3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1201/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 433)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

Lei Ding

Hussein Sahli


atron (view profile)

Converting a figure with non-standard screen size to pdf on Unix fails

I am trying to convert figures with non-default screen sizes into pdfs:
% open matlab figure file

% change figure size to non-default size
set(h,'units','normalized','outerposition',[0.1 0.1 0.5 0.5]);

% convert fig file to pdf
export_fig('out.pdf','-pdf', h, '-nocrop','-transparent','-painters', '-append');

This works nicely on Windows, but on Unix the figures in the pdf all have the same default size. Any ideas?

Nicole Rüger

great, but i have a problem.
ich will append a few pdfs.
this pdfs have variable filesnames und paths. I got follow error:

Error: /undefinedfilename in (Auswertung_24-Mar-2015\\-2.2-\\2.2_Extraktionsgte.pdf)
Operand stack:

Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1191/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:1/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: No such file or directory
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

thanks for help


Serves the purpose very well. Thanks!


Sagar (view profile)

I found the answer to my earlier question:
export_fig('exportfig_painters.png', '-png', '-painters', '-r300');

It works fine.


Sagar (view profile)

I had used this program successfully in the past for printing figures made in matlab. But now I am having a problem. I am trying to print a high resolution map made using geoshow in matlab mapping toolbox. But when I execute the command say export_fig finename.png -r600, the file is saved but only the axis labels are printed, and not the whole figure. I can still print several other figures successfully, so the problem must be related to the mapping toolbox. Could you please help?
Thank you very much.


Bob (view profile)

Helped a lot, thanks!

Yair Altman

Yair Altman (view profile)

@Aniket - yes, export_fig does indeed accepts a handle to a figure/axes/uipanel

To all the others - you need to report the issue in the GitHub, otherwise they will not be tracked or fixed:

Before submitting a new issue, please verify that it was not previously reported.


Jean (view profile)


I have the same issue as James Rankin in Matlab 2014b:

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /rangecheck in definefont
Operand stack:
   CMMI10 --dict:14/15(L)-- Font
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push
   1951 1 3 %oparray_pop 1950 1 3 %oparray_pop
   --nostringval-- 1934 1 3 %oparray_pop 1820 1 3
   %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
   %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1901 2 3 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1188/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:121/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 90501
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 442)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append,
        options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

Error in fit_ramsey (line 210)
export_fig(['fit_' filename], '-pdf');

Unfortunately, his fix is not working for me... It was working well with 2012b, I don't understand, as I am working with standard fonts...
Anyway, great soft, very usefull for scientific works !

Aniket Vagha

Brilliant tool! Image quality in pdfs is really good.

I was wondering if in case of multiple figures, could we use figure handles when using export_fig?

Elizabeth Jones

Great code! It worked without any fiddling in R2014b and created high-quality PDFs that I can use for professional presentations, posters, and publications. Thanks a lot for making and maintaining this code.

I have the legend at the Southoutside with horizontal orientation. When the box of the legend is set to 'off', a little bit bottom part of the legend is also cropped when exporting figure to eps and pdf (no problem with png). There is a no problem with box outline. The problem persists in MATLAB R2014b.

Does anyone else have similar issue?


Kai Shi

I added a rectangle box in the figure and change the transparency of the box to 0.3. However, when I export the figure into latex. The transparency of the box is still 100%. With and without the -transparent option shows the same results. The code of generating the box is shown below:


Thank you for this library, it is really usefull! Unfortunately, I am having serious issues with export_fig, specifically with the fileparts(tempname) portion of the code that specifies a temporary folder that the program uses to create/delete temp images. It is trying to use the system32 folder for one of our users and it is giving him access violation errors and crashing. I would like to be able to specify my own user specified temporary path on his computer that he does have read/write access to. This is not a capability of the tool out of the box but could be a simple optional addition that would save us a lot of grief. For now, I will have to do this myself on my export_fig copy. Thanks!


Tero (view profile)


Tero (view profile)


Erik (view profile)

James Rankin

I was receiving the following error after upgrading to Matlab 2014b (in Ubuntu 14.04):
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /rangecheck in /findfont


Error in export_fig (line 442)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

I fixed this by commenting the following lines in eps2pdf

fp = font_path();
if ~isempty(fp)
    options = [options ' -sFONTPATH="' fp '"'];

Yiqun Yang

To be more specific, here is the example code.

xlabel('Frequency (Hz)')
ylabel('attenuation (Neper/m)')
export_fig test -pdf -transparent

Yiqun Yang


First thanks a lot for providing such a wonderful toolbox!

However, here I've found a bug when I switch to Matlab 2014b. In Matlab R2014b, when I was using the toolbox to generate pdf figure as:

export_fig ConvEstimateatten -pdf -transparent

The margin of the figure is not cropped as desiered. Could you have a look at it?


Tintin Milou


I've got another issue: How can I save the file in a different subfolder. I created a subfolder Fig and then, tried:

export_fig ../Fig/fig.pdf;

but that gave

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: **** Could not open the file ../Fig/fig.pdf .
**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting.

Error in export_fig (line 442)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

What am I doing wrong?

Tintin Milou


I'm still a bit puzzled how to display tex symbols. For instance, one of my titles is
and is properly displayed in the figure, but not the printed pdf (there, I get a colon to the power of w). I'm using the latest version of texshop 3.49.


Martin (view profile)

To clarify, I'm trying to export a plot with a legend from a GUI axis using export_fig(handles.myaxis, filename). The legend does not show. If I plot with a legend from the command window and save the figure with export_fig the legend shows correctly.


Martin (view profile)

Excellent function!

However, using 2014b, the legends disappear from my plots. This does not happen with 2014a. Is there a workaround or missing argument for 2014b?

Yair Altman

Yair Altman (view profile)

@Ian Zammit - the utility's changelog is listed at the bottom of this webpage.

@Linh, Ruben, Iain - please create corresponding issues in Github (check if the issue already exists there, before posting a new one). I have just received ownership of export_fig's maintenance and it could take me some time to dive into things and be able to fix them, so please be patient.

@Ragheb - try to update your ghostscript executable to the latest version. Perhaps your existing executable is incompatible with your platform and causes this crash.

Bart Boesman

Linh Nguyen

Excellent tool! Thank you a lot. It works for most cases for me, except when I need to plot and export a big field (200x300, pcolor). Could anyone try and tell me why I cant get a resolved image please? Results I got is also in the folder:

Ruben Luis

Brilliant contribution!
However, it seems that something significant has changed when using R2014b. It does not seem to be possible to reduce the thickness of axis borders. Can you advise a workaround?

Ben Puttnam


Ehsan (view profile)

Very very helpful, and easy to use.


Ragheb (view profile)


export_fig works perfectly for small figures when I use this command: "export_fig test.pdf". However, using the same command, Matlab crashes for large figures and it gives me this error:
Exception type: Bus Error (0xa) at pc=7fff887be082

Also, I tried export_fig test.eps, but it does not even work?

Many thanks


Ragheb (view profile)


export_fig works perfectly for small figures when I use this command: "export_fig test.pdf". However, using the same command, Matlab crashes for large figures and it gives me this error:
Exception type: Bus Error (0xa) at pc=7fff887be082

Also, I tried export_fig test.eps, but it does not even work?

Many thanks


from my experience works perfectly! Is there a list of changes for the version uploaded 08/12/14? The one within export_fig and some other .m files seems not to be updated


Iain (view profile)

Hi Oliver,

Thanks for an excellent function!

I am using a current version of export_fig (today), OS X 10.10.1, ghostscript 9.15, and Matlab 2014b. All works fine when I set up a figure and run:


However, if I then run:

>> set(groot,'Units','normalized')

I now get:

>> export_fig(fname,'-pdf',fh);
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /configurationerror in --setpagedevice--
Additional information: [/PageSize [0 0]]
Operand stack:
   --nostringval-- (%%BoundingBox: 0 0 0 0) --dict:1/2(ro)(G)-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- (%%BoundingBox: 0 0 0 0) 1 0 0 false --dict:1/1(L)--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
   %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push
   1951 1 3 %oparray_pop 1950 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1934 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1820 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
   %ztokenexec_continue (scanner state) --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1913 10 3 %oparray_pop
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --dict:1/10(L)-- --nostringval-- 16 %dict_continue
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1189/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:81/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 266
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 442)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

The output is now a blank PDF. Clearly, I can work around this by not invoking:

>> set(groot,'Units','normalized')

That said, it would be nice to have export_fig resilient to this setting.



Jiri (view profile)


Steven (view profile)

Hi Oliver. Sorry. I have not heard about GitHub before. Otherwise I would not bother you asking here.

I created an issue.

Thank you.

David Nolan

Great function and badly needed for HQ figures for publishing. You have my thanks Oliver.


Sorry, never heard of GitHub. Now I see it at over there above the Download Zip button. Not familiar with it.

Oliver Woodford

Philipp: There is absolutely no chance without an issue raised on GitHub.


Is there any chance that there will be a fix for the totally "jagged" lines all along a graph when exporting to either of those formats: png, eps, pdf, ... ??

The strange thing is: if I use saveas PNG, the Problem is not occuring. With export_fig (PNG) is occurs. So I suppose export_fig first creates a vector format and afterwards a PNG of it, which can explain that.

Anyway: I need MATLAB 2014b for some other features and ask myself if there is any chance to get this bug fixed?

Oliver Woodford

Valjean, R2D2: For the 100th time (and beginning to wonder what is wrong with people), I do not address issues placed in the comments. If you want me to look at your problem, raise a GitHub issue and we can talk.


Update: export_fig works fine on the screen-sized figures when I remove the
'-transparent' argument.


I want to clarify my previous comment. The script worked for the normal-sized figures, but the one that it choked on was the size of the screen if that makes any difference or helps diagnose the problem.
I create the figure, then resize the figure using the following lines of code:
set(h, 'Position', get(0,'ScreenSize'));

The figures that did save successfully were those that had not been resized.
Any thoughts?


Thank you for this script, Oliver. I've been using it successfully for the past few years. However, I recently upgraded from MATLAB 2009 to 2012b, and I'm having nothing but problems. First, I had the same error that Derek got (posted 07 Jun 2013). So, I downloaded the latest version just now and re-ran. Now, I am getting the following error:

Array dimensions must match for binary array op.

Error in export_fig (line 283)
        alpha = round(sum(B - A, 3)) / (255 * 3) + 1;

Error in SavePlotsFnc (line 3)


Please help!


R2D2 (view profile)

I placed the wrong error message in the previous post. The message I get with GS 9.10 is:
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false
   1 %stopped_push 1900 1 3 %oparray_pop 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop
   1883 1 3 %oparray_pop 1771 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1177/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1


R2D2 (view profile)

@Oliver. Tried ghostscript 9.10 and 9.15. Neither worked. Currently getting an error message:
Error: File: ghostscript.m Line: 35 Column: 1
Function definitions are not permitted in this

Oliver Woodford

Steven: Sorry I have to repeat myself again. I don't know, and I won't look into it until you raise a GitHub issue. Thanks.


Steven (view profile)

Thanks for the great function. Sorry I have to mention my question again.

Why does the function can not save figures, in log-log plot correctly, when the range is too small? (It prints the true value instead of 10^...)

Thank you in advance.

Oliver Woodford

R2D2: Unfortunately I can't fix bugs in either Yosemite or Ghostscript. However, if you install Ghostscript 9.10 from here:
does that fix things for you?


R2D2 (view profile)

Please fix the bugs that prevent this package from working with Mac OS X Yosemite + Matlab R2014b!



Bob (view profile)

update for mac users: I may have found the issue. If you have texshop installed make sure you are at version 3.44. I updated ghostscript separately and had problems, I updated texshop and voila, export_fig appears to work as before. Speculation: the texshop installer does something the separate ghostscript package didn’t.


Bob (view profile)

Has anyone gotten pdf export to work on yosemite/2014b? I’m using Ghostscript 9.15. I would appreciate anything your working setup. Thanks.


Yuewu (view profile)


h1u1k1 (view profile)

As noted earlier, this really nice function does not work with matlab2014b on MacOS (Yosemite) 10.10.


h1u1k1 (view profile)


how can I use this one to save multiple files?


BERDIN (view profile)

Carl Wouters

Really nice !
Only one thing missing: SVG
Would love a real SVG creator.

Rafael Madrid


Martin (view profile)

Thank you for this great function! Just one question: even when I use the -native option the final resolution of the image is different than the size of the matrix that has gone into the image. E.g., I have a 2048x2048 image, but after using export_fig (with the -native option) it returns a 2052x2052 image [currently using '-m4 -bmp -native' as options]. If I don't use that option it returns a 3176x3176 image.

Do you have a suggestion as how to get the exported image to match the size of the matrix?

Oliver Woodford

Michael, Adam: Surely one of you can (a) read and (b) file an issue on the github page, to which I will respond. I can't help you with what you've provided. Thanks.


With a code perfectly working on OS 10.9.5 and Matlab 2014a, I got the exact same issue than Adam, but on a OS X 10.10 (final release!) with Matlab 2014b and Ghostscript 9.15...

Please find something ;-)

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in definefont
Operand stack:
   CMSY10 --dict:14/15(L)-- Font
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1
   %stopped_push 1951 1 3 %oparray_pop 1950 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1934 1 3 %oparray_pop 1820 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1901 2 3 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1188/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:121/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 71195
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 435)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);


Steven (view profile)

The function is magnificent.
Except that sometimes for me a problem arises when exporting!

In loglog plot, the label ticks are not written correctly, I mean they should be something like 10^(2), but they are 100.

Strange is that this only happens for y-axis and x-axis is fine!

I looked it up a lot in the internet, but could not find the solution. I have not been able to resolve it by changing tickmode to manual or etc.

Any other solution?




George (view profile)

Peter Pablo


Eric (view profile)

Thanks a lot for the great work


I encountered a similar issue as described by Emma. However, it works fine for linewidths>0.75 pt, but for smaller linewidths the lines seem to be set to 0.75 pt when exporting, i.e. when exporting lines of 0.5 pt width (or any value<0.75), it will export them as 0.75 pt, when exporting lines with 1 pt width (or any value >0.75 pt) it exports them with the correct width.
The problem does not occur in R2014a.


Adam (view profile)

Tremendously useful function. However, I seem to have issues getting it work in 2014b on Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9.5). Since upgrading I get the following error whenever I export to eps:

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /typecheck in /findfont
Operand stack:
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop
   1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1868 1 3
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1184/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:121/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 90356
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 435)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2,

It seems to be an issue with ghostscript, but any hints as to how to fix it would be gratefully received!



Emma (view profile)

I absolutely love this tool, but I have a problem using 2014b. The lines on my exported figures are really wide now. The exact same code run in 2014a is perfect, but the new linewidths are unusable.

Oliver: I accidentally did not use the most recent release of your script. After updating, it works as great as before in 2014b as well. Thank you.

Yisheng Xu

It's a great tool. The only flaw that I found is the LineWidth and FontSize of exported vector image (pdf) is slighlty bigger than the sizes specified in MATLAB (e.g., LineWidth becomes 0.735pt and unadjustable; FontSize of 10pt becomes 10.29pt) Any way to fix it? Thanks!

Oliver Woodford

Fabian: R2014b works for me. If you have a reproducible error I suggest you provide me the code in an issue on github.

I love this function and use it almost daily to export Matlab figures to pdf and postprocess them in other programs.

However, in Matlab 2014b Mathworks introduced the new graph design and the export to pdf/eps is not possible anymore, giving the error:

Error using eps2pdf (line 100)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--

I would highly appreciate if this could be fixed to run with the most recent Matlab version.


Malte (view profile)

Great job, thanks! However I am faced with the following problem... I used "patch" for plotting and the "FaceAlpha" property. After the export the background is black (*.png, transparent, opengl). Any ideas???


ustc (view profile)

it's very good!


M S (view profile)

Love this function. Transparency in .pdf/.eps would be *hugely* appreciated, I still use plot2svg when trying to save images with patch transparency.

Fei yang

Pretty good!

Ander Biguri

Ander Biguri (view profile)

This fileexchange should DEFINITELY be added to matlab as a feature. Amazing.


Liang Haixiao

Juan Deaton


mf0000 (view profile)

This looks as a function I might as well quickly fall in love with. However, I am in troubles with how to make it work. I do not find it so straightforward how to install Xpdf on mac, OS X. Can anyone help me with step-by-step instructions on proper installation commands in the terminal?


Karen (view profile)

Selecting the location for the system version of ghostscript did not work for me. I am using matlab 2014a on a mac (10.9.4). My ghoscript installation is via MacPorts, and installs in /opt/local/bin/gs. My default shell is csh, not bash.

I was able to get the ghostscript.m script to work by changing the mac-specific 'export DYLIB...' commands (bash syntax) to 'setenv DYLIB....' (csh syntax).

I did not find an easy way to check what shell the user is using, but perhaps some checking for this could be added. Since the fix requiring the environment variable to be set has been around for about a year in your code, I suspect not many users have csh as their default shell, either under unix or OSX systems.

I have been using export_fig for several years, and am glad to have it back with my new laptop.

Oliver Woodford

Arnold: Try using imsc from my sc package. It doesn't use patch objects, but can still fill in NaNs with any colour you want.


arnold (view profile)

I use imagescnan quite a bit. However, I can't export those figures as pdf since the white patches masking the nan areas are always dropped when using export_fig. I can't seemt to find a way to keep the patches. Exporting using standard pdf export works fine in this regard, yet it's very clumsy.... that's why export_fig is always first :)

Brad Carman

plot with transparency in the patches not rendering in pdf correctly (the patches are given a solid color). How can this be fixed?


Haowen (view profile)


arnold (view profile)

Hi Oliver, still having problems exporting patches and lines or symbol.
  I can use uistack or uistack2 from the file exchange here and get good looking results BUT, if I export PDF using export_fig the patch is always in front of everything else. Maybe you can look into that and fix it! thanks Arnold.

Mei June

Is there a way to use this great tool in the editor's publish function?

So that pressing the publish button yields a report with images and graphs as specified with parameters in this export_fig tool?

I don't know how to set the DPI and size of figure
outputted by export_fig. Could any friend tell me about it? thanks very much!!!

Export_fig has been a life saver. Unfortunately, I now get the following error:
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1932 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1931 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1803 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1189/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.09: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1
Error in export_fig (line 424)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append,
        options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

any ideas?


Many thanks to Oliver for the great code.
One issue that I encountered:
When exported in eps format, all my tweaks on the plot legend are reset to default.



Thanks for the great code, and the ghostscript error fix! it suddenly didn't print eps or pdf anymore, but now works beautifully again
..Afif: export_fig(gcf,'filename','-eps')


Sven (view profile)


Thanks a lot for that beatiful code. Works quite good.
However, there is a bug: one cannot use the symbol "%" within the file name:

When I type: export_fig(f3, 'Post-Process Estimates - diff. weight (+5 +10 +15)kg, Amp 10','-pdf','-q0','-a1','-r160','-nocrop') % lowest quality, no anti-aliasing, reduced resolution

it creates a nice pdf.

However when I add the symbol "%" at the end of the name, that is: Amp 10% I get a strange error message:

>> export_fig(f3, 'Post-Process Estimates - diff. weight (+5 +10 +15)kg, Amp 10%','-pdf','-q0','-a1','-r160','-nocrop')
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting.

Error in export_fig (line 435)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

A bug?


Afif (view profile)

Can someone please provide an minimalist example of how to export and .eps image using 'export_fi'? I am having a really hard time using it. Thanks in advance.

After updating to R2014b, the crop function for PDF seems not to work properly. This is my test code:
x = -100:0.01:100;y = -3.*x.^2-3.*x+4;
The png, bmp and jpg is being crop perfect.

Bennet Luck

Most used function at the moment, great!

Extremely useful function!


murat (view profile)

Dirk kok

If you are writing documents which require matlab figures this is a must have program.


First of all, this program is totally awesome. But... I'm having a problem with R2014b running on Windows 7. After creating a very simple plot, I get this error information.

Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1862 1 3 %oparray_pop 1861 1 3 %oparray_pop 1845 1 3 %oparray_pop 1739 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1153/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:69/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 8.64: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

I'm also confused as to why it's using Ghostscript 8.64, as I've installed 9.14 and changed 'path_ = user_string('ghostscript');' in ghostscript.m to 'path_ = user_string('C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.14\bin\gswin64c.exe');'.


talha (view profile)

Actually exports vector pdf, cropped accurately! Thanks for this. Saves me a ton of time.


daniel (view profile)

Wow, what a great tool! Saved me a lot of trouble, Thanks!!!!

Hassan Naseri

Great new version. Finally the problem with interactive plots, e.g., "impoint" or "impoly", has been resolved. :)

great, now works with the prerelease of R2014b on OSX 10.9.3


Jorge (view profile)



Yifan (view profile)


Yifan (view profile)


George (view profile)

Exactly what I needed. It actually gave me an eureka experience in my work. Thank you so much.



Awesome! This is exactly what I have been looking for.


great! this saves my day, thank you!


Wang (view profile)

Figured it out.
export_fig(fullfile(file_name),gcf, '-m2.5');

I'm try to use this script to automatically plot all columns saved in an array. Say if I have a 3x2000 matrix, I want to plot 3 raw vectors and save plot_1.png, plot_2.png and plot_3 png. Can I pass a string variable export_fig.

% auto plotter
% real code begins here
for x=1:n;
taggy=sprintf('C=%d mF',x); % title
file_name= sprintf('plot_%d.png',x); % file name to be plot_x.png
plot(t, Y(1,:));title(taggy);
export_fig file_name -m2.5;close(gcf);


yun (view profile)


export_fig Exports figures nicely to a number of vector & bitmap formats.


Ahmed (view profile)

Wesley Allen


cfwen (view profile)



fei YANG

FF Lee

FF Lee (view profile)

I must say that this is the best MATLAB code I ever use. It works even on my old version (7.0.4 R14) MATLAB. Many thanks to the author. :)

FF Lee

FF Lee (view profile)

FF Lee

FF Lee (view profile)


Erik (view profile)

Finally a comprehensive figure exporting tool for MATLAB. I gratefully use it to create hi-res vectors from my figures, which is something that is not easily done in a useful fashion.


Erik (view profile)

Finally a comprehensive figure exporting tool for MATLAB. I gratefully use it to create hi-res vectors from my figures, which is something that is not easily done in a useful fashion.

Oliver Woodford

I repeat, please email me bug reports rather than posting them here. Better still, fork the repository, fix the bug, and create a pull request.

Hassan: Your example worked as expected on my system.

Alvaro: Feel free to email me a minimal working example.

Hassan Naseri

1. Thank you for the great tool which I use it for all my graphic exports.

2. A problem: If a plot contains an "impoint" or "impoly", or probably any of these interactive objects from image processing toolbox, the output of export_fig simply doesn't show them. The problem happens only when exporting an axes not the whole figure. I would very much appreciate any suggestion?

handle = subplot(1,2,1);
impoly(handle, [1 1; 2 2; 1 2])
export_fig('test.pdf', '-pdf', '-transparent', handle)


Alvaro (view profile)

Great tool, thanks for it !
I'm having the following error passing uipanel to export_fig
The name 'OuterPosition' is not an accessible property for an instance of class 'uipanel'. (im using matlab 8.1)


Matt (view profile)


Aidan (view profile)


Quan (view profile)

Oliver Woodford

Jo: Many thanks for the bug report. However, I do ask (in the description above) that people email me bug reports, rather than post them here.


Jo (view profile)

First of all: great tool! I'm using it a lot.
Second: Matlab FileExchange Commenting is driving me nutts :-) (should've peeked into the previous comment)
Third: (main reason for my post) I encountered a tiny bug in the script, appearing as follows:
1. Create a figure
2. Create multiple axes inside
3. Draw imagesc in each axis
4. Disable axis labelling (axis off)
5. Draw e.g. a coloured rectangle in each image
=> The export will show the rectangle black in all but the first axis

Minimal example:

set(gcf,'Position',[0 0 1000 500]);
axes('position',[0.0 0.0 0.5 1]);
    axis off
    rectangle('position',[8 8 8 8],'EdgeColor','r','LineWidth',2);
axes('position',[0.5 0.0 0.5 1]);
    axis off
    rectangle('position',[8 8 8 8],'EdgeColor','r','LineWidth',2);
colormap gray

Best wishes and thanks in advance for any hints or clues!


Jo (view profile)

Arg, this commenting interface in FileExchange is driving me nutts... forgot to remove a .*m in both imagesc... sry for that :)


Jo (view profile)


Jo (view profile)


Martin (view profile)


Aaron True

Sorry for the multiple posts, apparently I can't rate it then comment without it automatically submitting my rating.
Anyways, love it so far, thank you!

I'm trying to resolve 2 odd issues. First, the negative signs on my axes tick labels show up as empty boxes when I open the pdf in Adobe Reader, which makes me think there is a missing font package etc. in my Adobe install; however, when I open the pdf in Ghostscript there is no symbol at all (minus sign or empty box), just the number on each axis tick. I'm using Adobe Reader XI which came installed on a new Dell PC (< 6 mos. old), and I just downloaded Ghostscript 9.10 today.

Second issue is that when I export as a png or tiff the code seems to shift text boxes around; i.e. my axis labels and an additional text box I added to the figure are in different locations than I explicitly set in the code and how they appear in the MATLAB figure (R2011a Student Version).

Any leads or similar issues? Thanks in advance.

Aaron True


Jesper (view profile)


maryam (view profile)


She (view profile)

Solve my problem puzzled me for a long time, because I can't print *.jpeg files as the figures, and I used to copy *.fig files to another Windows computer to finish printing wanted picutres.
When I get this function, Matlab under Linux is becoming more amazing!

Thank you very much!


Sid (view profile)


Manuel (view profile)

Robert McHugh

Austin Fite

The output is beautiful, thank you very much for taking the time to make this.


Sean (view profile)

Chuntao Dan

Must-have for everyone! Superb figure quality! For Mac users, ghostscript can be installed as a component of the MacTeX-Additions package at


pdftops.exe is not running on my system. i have a windows 8 operating system... someone please help..


Lars (view profile)

This is a great function!
After changing to another linux mint 15 (MATE) from Fedora 18 I get the error message bellow. Do anyone of you have an idea of how to fix it? I tried the fix of Jannik from June 26 2013 without any luck...

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
   120 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop
   --nostringval-- 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868
   5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1179/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:8/95(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 7052
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 406)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);


Lars (view profile)

Joris Kampman

Joris Kampman (view profile)

After having some troubles in Linux Matlab to create nice figures for Libreoffice, this tooling works perfectly!

thumbs up!

Oliver Woodford

Jonne: There is no known issue with thick lines. For example,
>> plot(rand(3), 'LineWidth', 4);
>> export_fig test -png -pdf
works as expected on my PC.


Jonne (view profile)

Thank you for this function. I use it alot.

Currently I am trying to use it for an plot which contains line plots with 'LineWidth'> 2. The problem is that 'export_fig' won't export lines with fatter lines.

I am wondering if this is a known problem and if there are any solutions to that?

Khoa Tran

I use this script in conjunction with your files to produce graph for journal paper. Excellent work, thank you!

%% Resize graph
w = 0.5;h = 0.5; % this is good for double column format
size=[0 0 w h];

%% Printing
[name, path] = uiputfile({'*.pdf','PDF';'*.eps','Vector based .eps';'*.jpg;*.tif;*.png;*.gif','All Image Files';'*.*','All Files' },'Save Image','/Users/Eric/Dropbox/Reports/');
export_fig(fullfile(path,name),f,'-a1',['-r',num2str(r)]);%, '-grey','-nocrop'

Excellent work!

Oliver Woodford

Edison: Set the figure width to 17.3cm, and set the output dpi using the -r300 option in the call to export_fig. If that figure is still too large for your screen, then halve the figure size and double the resolution. If you want the tiff width to say 17.3cm in this case then output the bitmap as an argument from export_fig, and save it yourself using imwrite (setting the 'Resolution' option to 300).


Edison (view profile)

An essential addition to MATLAB, they should include this as standard in future releases. Great.

One question: does export_fig always use the dimensions of the onscreen figure as a guide? For example, I want to export my figure as a TIFF at 300dpi, with a width of 17.3cm. This equates to an image 2049 pixels wide, and this will not fit on my screen. Thanks for the help.


Emma (view profile)

Thank you thank you thank you!!!


Thank you for a great program. It perfectly reproduces complex 2D figures that I could not accurately reproduce using any other method.


Ian (view profile)

First of all: many thanks for an amazing tool and all the work you have put in it. It is very much appreciated.

I do have, however, a small question:
I'm trying to export a plot of a uniform distribution between, say, a and b, to the .png format. This obviously means that the function is zero for values lower than a and higher than b. In that case, the function gets overlapped by the axis and is therefore not visible in the exported .png. It is in the MatLab figure. Am I missing something or is there a fix for this? Thanks in advance

Jaap de Vries

Jaap de Vries (view profile)

I got it fixed, code works great!!
When I set the background transparent the part inside the graph remains white, while the sections outside the axis become transparent, any tips?




Oliver Woodford

Jaap: sounds like you're shadowing MATLAB's print() with another function of the same name.

Jaap de Vries

Jaap de Vries (view profile)


Error using print
Too many input arguments.

Jaap de Vries

Jaap de Vries (view profile)

I am really looking forward to using this code but I keep getting the following error...

export_fig 'test.jpg'

Error in print2array (line 140)
        print(fig, renderer, res_str, '-dtiff', tmp_nam);

Any help would be apreciated.

Regards, Jaap



Werner (view profile)

you just saved my thesis…


pr (view profile)


zhu (view profile)



Amazing, but it does not work with transparent surf plots for eps or pdf files.

Arttu Modig

Thanks a lot Johannes for the Mac OSX dylib fix!


High memory overhead.


BERDIN (view profile)

A very useful tool, thanks.



Long time user of export_fig here. great function -- thanks!

New machine today. 64 bit Windows 8.1, MATLAB 2013B. Latest installation of Ghoscript (9.1) put onto the machine.

A problem occurs with the function ghostscript.m

On executing the code in this m file: check_gs_path(path) a zero is returned.

This causes the software to ask where the location of the ghostscript executable is -- i point it to the correct dir and it fails to find it.

Thus I have had to hard code in

path = 'C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.10\bin\gswin64c.exe';

before check_gs_path(path) is called, which works.

What's going on?



Many thanks. Before find this I was wasting so much time copying the images and then trimming

Antoine Liutkus

Antoine Liutkus (view profile)

great, did it whereas matlab could not =) thanks


Bill (view profile)

Hi, Oliver,
How can I use it to export .emf files? Is it possible ?


Marco (view profile)

I used export_fig in a GUI. Anyone who wishes to create a button that saves specific figures to specific locations on their PC, feel free to use the code below (where PLOTTAG is the plot's tag in plot properties):

[file,path] = uiputfile({'*.eps';'*.pdf';'*.png';'*.jpg'},'Save Figure As');

if file ~= 0
    %Gets the size of the file name
    %Deletes the file type from teh end of the file name and stores it
    filetype(3) = file(filechar);
    filetype(2) = file(filechar-1);
    filetype(1) = file(filechar-2);
    file(filechar) = [];
    file(filechar-1) = [];
    file(filechar-2) = [];
    file(filechar-3) = [];

    %Runs the export_fig command with the path and file name, along with the

    %Message box
    h = msgbox({'Done!';'';...
        ['The file ',file,'.',filetype,' can be found in:'];path},...
        'Save Figure File','none','modal');
elseif isempty(file) == 0
    h = msgbox('Not saved.',...
    'Save Figure File','none','modal');

Will Grant

I am using figures with contour lines, thus my figures are: axes > contourgroup > patch objects.

In my exported images, I was getting the axes with all text label objects but no lines.

I had to change line 97 in isolate_axes.m from allchild() to findall() as a fix. I don't know if this breaks anything but it shouldn't as findall just finds all objects lower in the hierarchy than the one passed in, which is the axes handle in this case. I was losing the patch objects that make up the figure as allchild() was only returning the objects at the first level under the axes.


DQ Zhang


BTW, how to set the resolution?

Dun Kirk

I got this warning using export_fig(axes_handle):

Warning: Callback for uicontrol of style radiobutton will be overwritten when added to a UIBUTTONGROUP.
Use the SelectionChangeFcn property on the button group instead.
  In uitools.uibuttongroup.childAddedCbk at 12
  In copyfig at 25
  In isolate_axes at 52
  In export_fig at 181


Peter (view profile)

Hi Oliver and all,

I used your script quite a lot to make png's. For some reason I get different output ratios, depending on the x and ylabel? (Which is driving me crazy...) I am not sure what I am doing wrong. The effect does not appear with the Matlab print function... but the png is as expected not as nice. Anyone an idea?


Jack (view profile)



Leah (view profile)

Worked perfect! Very easy to use. Make sure you close the pdf file you are writing to or you will get a GS error.

Oliver Woodford

Sanka: I suspect this has nothing to do with export_fig and everything to do with the software you're using to view the eps file.

Lennart: You can set the default background color for MATLAB figures, outside of export_fig. There is no 'transparent' option, but the help text does mention a '-transparent' option.


Great tool!
However, I wish to export to a pdf with a white background. Then I have to do 'set(gcf, 'Color', 'w');' every time. Is there a permanent setting or a parameter that can be set?
This does not seem to work: export_fig(fig_handle,'figure.pdf', 'transparent' )


dong (view profile)


Sanka (view profile)

Hi Oliver,

Great file, really should come as standard with MATLAB! Just one issue I am having when exporting to .eps format. All text in the figure (axes numbers and legend text) are being outputted in bold. This is not the case for every other file format such as pdf or tiff, where the figure appears exactly as it does on screen. Any idea why this is happening specifically to eps??




James (view profile)

I just started using this. I mostly only use HG2.
I get the following error when I try to run your example code for creating a .pdf, with HG2.

A = im2double(imread('peppers.png'));
B = randn(ceil(size(A, 1)/6), ceil(size(A, 2)/6), 3) * 0.1;
B = cat(3, kron(B(:,:,1), ones(6)), kron(B(:,:,2), ones(6)), kron(B(:,:,3), ones(6)));
B = A + B(1:size(A, 1),1:size(A, 2),:);
>> export_fig test.pdf
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
   dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push
   --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1932 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1931 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop 1803 1 3 %oparray_pop
   --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
   %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1190/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 431)
        eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

I do not get this error when I am not using HG2, but it would take awhile for me to convert everything back from HG2. Do you have any ideas how to fix the problem?

(Note, laprint also doesn't seem to work with HG2. So, this could be a problem with HG2 and not have anything to do with your files.)

Oliver Woodford

David: The grid lines are the width specified (by setting the axes line width), but the segments are shorter (there's no option to change this). Try using thicker grid lines.


David (view profile)

Excellent work, many thanks! Question though, I'm finding that when printing, the only objects not reproduced "as shown" are the gridlines. The output gridlines are much fainter and barely visible. Any way to address this? Thanks!


Manuel (view profile)

max, does it work if you try:




max (view profile)


I have just downloaded your code and it seems to be receiving great reviews. I can't seem to get it to work though... All i want to do is to save a figure window to my desktop.

I have a figure that is displaying an image. How would I use export_fig to save this figure under the name 'test' in png format?

This is what I am seeing: (H is set to be the figure handle)

Error using print
Too many input arguments.

Error in print2array (line 140)
        print(fig, renderer, res_str, '-dtiff', tmp_nam);

Error in export_fig (line 334)
            [A, tcol] = print2array(fig, magnify, renderer);


Jeff (view profile)

Awesome work!! It is so much better than the Matlab default export system. Thank you very much for creating this great function for us.


Ozan Oguz

Following two comments are mine.

I said I am using "uicomponent" for my GUI.

Actually, I am using " "GUI Layout Toolbox".

I am sorry for the misinforming.

Ozan Oguz

I realised something:

I am using "uicomponent" for my GUI.
After giving "print" command (export_fig),my GUI changes.

What changes exactly?

1) All "uiextras.Empty" objects seem to vanish.

2) Legend in the axes becomes uneditable.

For now, this is what I observed.

Ozan Oguz

This seems to be a great app, thx!

I have a question/problem:

I designed a GUI using uicomponent.m from file exchange. Left part is for controls, right part is for axes.

When I try to export the image of this axes, two different things happen for bitmap and vector formats. 1) For pdf, it gives me only the axes, and this is what I want, but 2) For png or jpg, it also gives me the empty area behind the control buttons on the left side of the axes.

I want a bitmap image with only the axes. Nothing more.

Can you help me, please, Oliver?


WurmD (view profile)

Hi Oliver,
Let me add my voiceto the chorus: "Fantastic work!" :)

Now, I notice one thing you change is the grid lines to "- Improved line and grid line styles"
Which in my plot have been "No grid lines"

It would be nice to have the option of keeping the grid lines as shown, and keep your "Improved line and grid lines" as default

I looked into the code but couldn't figure where you're not adding the grid lines to the pdf

Will you create such an option (keep grid lines)? Will you tell me how?


Wonderful performance with fast help from Oliver as if online talk! Save memory and run-time with '-a1' option while keeping quality as plotted, applying it as follows:

Oliver Woodford

Tim: You're missing the -nocrop option.

Tim Garrett

Terrific function, but I am unclear on one thing. I wish to create a little booklet of figures where the page size and axis locations are precisely defined. e.g.
h = figure;
       set(h,'units','inches','position',[0 0 8.5 11]);

set(gca,'Position',[0.2, 0.2, 0.6, 0.6];

Using 'print', my printed figure is placed exactly where I want within the page I want (albeit with stupid matlab problems). With 'export_fig' however, the output is *only* of the figure. The figure is not within a page.

What am I missing?



Ivo (view profile)

finally... Fantastic, thanks!

Alex R.

Alex R. (view profile)

Great package. You can safely detect Ghostscript under Windows by reading the registry key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Artifex\GPL Ghostscript" (if 64bit) or "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Artifex\GPL Ghostscript" (if 32bit).

Use Matlab's winqueryreg() function or execute "reg" via system() to read the Windows registry.

Keep up the good work!


Great tool. Exactly what I am looking for.

Q: when I export 1080p pic, it gives me a 1921x1081 pic in the saved jpeg. Any thought? Thanks


Koen (view profile)

powerful and easy to use. Png output is fine for transparent patches if you set the resolution at a decent level.


Tomasz (view profile)

Andrew Bazyk

Ali Abolfathi


George (view profile)

Dear Oliver,
thank you for this helpful function. In general, it workds fine. But when there are more than one font types are not in the matlab_fonts list, the function will give error :
  Error in print2eps (line 97)
  font_swap{3,a} = fonts{font_swap{1,end}(1)};

it seems that the equation should be:
    font_swap{3,a} = fonts{font_swap{1,a}(1)};

BTW, do you know how to use font types which are not in matlab_fonts list, e.x. Garamond, Palatino Linotype?

thank you.

Oliver Woodford

Igor: You cannot specify the screen resolution in a call to export_fig. However, you can specify your figure size in units that are independent of pixel pitch, such as 'cm'. I suggest you try that.


Igor (view profile)

Great script.
A question: how can I specify screen resolution while saving figure as .eps?
At the moment, the use of print2eps for the same figure gives different results (different scales) on computers with different screen resolutions (Matlab 2012a x64, Win7 x64 on both of them).
Thank you for your help.


luke (view profile)

Shicai Yang


Sam (view profile)

Jannik fix works for the Issue I had (reported on 18 Jun 2013) using ubuntu 13.04 running Matlab R2012b.

Thanks Jannik. Really helped me out.


Jannik (view profile)

I also get a ghostscript error:

Error: /undefined in --definefont--
Operand stack:
   mwa_cmmi10 --dict:11/20(L)-- Font definefont --dict:30/32(L)-- unknownerror
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
   %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1
   %stopped_push 1900 1 3 %oparray_pop 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   1883 1 3 %oparray_pop 1771 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
   %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1762 2 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 1850 2 4 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1173/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: No such file or directory
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

when using export_fig with Matlab 2013a and ArchLinux.
I solved this issue by clearing the LD_LIBRARY_PATH enviroment variable before executing gs by replacing

system(sprintf('"%s" %s', gs_path, cmd));


system(sprintf('export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=""; "%s" %s', gs_path, cmd));

in the ghostscript.m file. Maybe this will help in case of other ghostscript issues as well.


Sanka (view profile)

Brilliant script. Some much time is saved by avoiding the post-processing I used to do to get publication quality figures/images.


Sam (view profile)

Great script but I updated my linux machine and now I am getting the following error. Any Ideas??

Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
   120 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868 5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1180/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:9/85(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 10662
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1
Error using imread (line 368)
File "/tmp/tp0ad5cd83_0088_4c9e_9aa1_d189edc9c4ea.tif" does not exist.

Error in print2array (line 95)
    A = imread(tmp_nam);

Error in export_fig (line 327)
            [A tcol] = print2array(fig, magnify, renderer);

Oliver Woodford

Nicky: That's difficult to fix in export_fig. However, a workaround is to draw the grid lines or the axis bounding box manually to be able to get the desired ordering.


Nicky (view profile)

I want to export a figure to a .png and I want my linetypes and gridlines to be scaled correctly, so I've got to use the 'painters' renderer. The axis border ('box') is exported under the plot which means it gets covered by the plotted points. This does not happen with the default renderer.
If I change the axes layer to 'top' then the border comes to the top but so do the gridlines. Is there a way of having only the axes border at the top but not the gridlines?

Thanks for the script Oliver... been using it for a long time now and it fills a big gap in MATLAB.


xg (view profile)

Very useful

Oliver Woodford

m_user: You can export a particular axes in a figure just by passing in a handle, but there is no support for rendering just part of an axes - I do not intend to implement this either. I suggest you use the newsgroup or Answers to find out the many other ways in which you might achieve what you want.


m_user (view profile)

Hi Oliver, "short" question: I built a GUI with a handles.axes in which a greyscale image is in the background and a colored, semitransparent image is in the foreground. Now I want to save this overlayed image but I have no variable which "points" to that overlay (so I can't write export_fig Test.fig). Is there another way (e.g. write export_fig gca..) to reference on the handles.axes? thanks in advance..


Anthi (view profile)

Thanks Oliver.i am a beginner at programming.your function is great.

Oliver Woodford

Derek: The current version fixes this.

Anthi: In the example export_fig('C:/Users/Me/Documents/figures/myfig'), "myfig" IS the name.


Derek (view profile)

After upgrading to 2013a, I get an error when using export_fig to save a .png with a transparent background. It works fine in 2012a. Perhaps Matlab changed something about writepng in 2013a? Has anyone found a work around for this? Is there an updated version of export_fig that can save a .png with a transparent background in 2013a?

export_fig CouplingEfficiency.png -transparent -native
Error using writepng (line 78)
Argument 'alpha' failed validation with error:
Expected input to be one of these types:

double, uint8, uint16

Instead its type was single.

Error in imwrite (line 473)
        feval(fmt_s.write, data, map, filename, paramPairs{:});

Error in export_fig (line 281)
            imwrite(A, [ '.png'], 'Alpha', alpha, 'ResolutionUnit', 'meter', 'XResolution',
            res, 'YResolution', res);

Andriy Nych

Andriy Nych (view profile)

Daniela Soto


Anthi (view profile)

Great functions!Thanks Oliver.
i have a question.How can i export to a specific directory with a specific name?

For a name :
>> export_fig Alex

For a directory:


but how can i combine them?
Thanks a lot in advance


Ian (view profile)


kamel (view profile)


Awesome script! Works perfectly under Windows, but I have trouble to make it work with my Linux installation.
Here is the error returned:

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
gs: /usr/local/share/matlab/R2013a/bin/glnxa64/ no version information available (required by /usr/lib/
Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
   96 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3
   %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
   --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868 5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1179/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:8/89(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 7119
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

What is happening?

Iman Ansari

Oliver Woodford

arnold: I didn't. Please don't take my suggestion the wrong way :). Try ConvertPlot4Publication.


arnold (view profile)

Please don't get it the wrong way :)
I'll create a script of my own combining it with 'fig' for instance.
I only meant well, your script is great as it is ;)

Oliver Woodford

arnold: The goal of export_fig is to export what is on screen. By all means write a script that makes your figure the right size, have the correct line widths, fonts, etc., then calls export_fig with the correct resolution. Or use one of the several submissions that already do this.


arnold (view profile)

I've got another proposition: rescale figure

To make 'export_fig' even more useful for publications it'd be awesome if you added the possibility to rescale the figure to a certain size.

export_fig 'test.png' -w5 -h4 -r300

This would set the width to 5" and the height to 4" and then export at 300dpi.
For us non-americans it'd be great if you added size in metric units [cm] as well.

export_fig 'test.png' -wm5 -hm4 -r300

would then set the width to 5cm etc.

Siyi Deng

Siyi Deng (view profile)

IMO this should be built in into matlab releases.

Iman Ansari


Hello Oliver, I have noticed that cropping does not always happen for a figure with an array of, say, 5 by 5 subplots. It leaves the margins on the left, top, and right sides of a figure as they are while cropping out the bottom margin. How should I address this? Thanks a lot!


Greg (view profile)

Great set of functions! May I propose an improvement of "eps2pdf" ?
I had to add this at line 54 (after crop cmd) in order to modify the final pdf orientation:

options = [options ' -dEPSCrop -c "<</Orientation 3>> setpagedevice"'];

Maybe the orientation could be given as an input argument?

For information:
* -c "<</Orientation 3>> setpagedevice" -- sets landscape orientation;
 * -c "<</Orientation 0>> setpagedevice" -- sets portrait orientation;
 * -c "<</Orientation 2>> setpagedevice" -- sets upside down orientation;
 * -c "<</Orientation 1>> setpagedevice" -- sets seascape orientation.


Greg (view profile)


Greg (view profile)


arnold (view profile)

latex formulas are distorted/upscaled and displayed incorrectly, but they appear right in the actual figure.

text(xpos,ypos,'$$\frac{\alpha}{\sqrt{2}}\cdot', num2str(1e5),'s$$','HorizontalAlignment', 'left', 'BackgroundColor', [.7 .9 .7], 'interpreter','latex');
it looks right in the figure yet, when export_fig is used, the output image (of whatever kind) shows:

- latex formula is scaled up = bigger
- background of formula doesn't fir anymore (because it's not scaled)
- latex formula is buggy, the '2' is upscaled, yet the square root is not

Maybe you can get around to implementing this as well. Makes it a bit useless for me since I usually have to have formulas in my legends or annotations.

Oliver Woodford

Michael: Note that export_fig does not transparency in patch objects in vector formats. Only a transparent background is supported.


I would love to use this tool to export vectorized eps with transparency, unfortunately I am running a Mac and I seem to require pdftops. I get this error message: "Pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from"

The link suggested is dead unfortunately, and after long google searches I found no alternative. Does somebody know a link that works?


Wouter (view profile)

Use this submission daily. Should be incorporated in Matlab!

yuhua zou

Great! It provides what I need!


arnold (view profile)

nice job!

Do you think you could add the ability to change all fonts in the figure to a certain one? Would be really useful when exporting figures for publications that use a certain font, to keep a consistent look.


arnold (view profile)


Laura (view profile)

Sorry. my fault. problem solver. Export_fig working perfectly:)


Laura (view profile)

Very nice tool! However I am having a problem that couldn't solve so far...and it is driving me a bit crazy. Export_fig is changing the sizing of my figures so that the aspect ratio is altered! Could someone tell me why or how to avoid it? I need to print it exactly with the size it is defined,



Wouter (view profile)

LY Cao

LY Cao (view profile)

great work!
but I found something wrong:
and the axes in 1.png is empty.
the matlab function allchild can't find the children of a handle whose type is 'hggroup'(e.g. scatter hggroup).
I modified the allchildren function in isolate_axes.m:
function ah = allchildren(ah)
ah = allchild(ah);
if iscell(ah)
    ah = cell2mat(ah);
ah = ah(:);
for i = 1:numel(ah)
    if strcmp(get(ah(i),'type'),'hggroup')
        t =allchildren(ah(i));
        ah(end+1:end+numel(t)) = t;
and it worked.

Hi, Oliver,
  I had played around with the relevant commands to copy figures as high-resolution bitmaps, using the undocumented "hardcopy" function suggested by TMW staff
e.g. hardcopy(hF_StatsAVI, '-Dopengl', '-r100')
In comparison, your function is more convenient to use, and much better documented.

I am using it to save out PNG files with either whigte or transparent figure background. However, I was baffled when running the same commands which had been succesful previously began outputting images with black backgrounds, despite my setting
  set(gcf, 'color','white');
The problem seems to be that it is necessary to _manually_ select "Use figure color" in the "Copy Options" dialogue box, under "Edit" from the figure's menu bar.
I would normally want to produce a metafile with "Transparent background" when _copying_ the figure, except for some recalcitrant plots; hence, I don't usually have "Use figure color" selected.
I thought it might be possible to toggle this programatically, but the command
  set(gcf, 'InvertHardCopy', 'off');
was not effective.

Anyway, these issues seem to point to flaws in MATLAB, rather than in your code.


By the way
  set(gcf, 'color','none');
is generates this message:
"Warning: Setting the ColorSpec to 'none' for a figure will not be allowed in a future release."
It still works at the moment, and personally I would rather it continued to work. I hope it is replaced by an alternative, and not just removed.



Max (view profile)

In case anyone cares: solved my problem by writing '\circ' instead of '°'. Exports fine now :)


Max (view profile)

I like and use this a lot, thanks for the submission!
However, the degree symbol (°), which is part of the axis label on one of my plots, does not appear in the vectorized PDF. Is this a known issue? Are there any suggestions on how to deal with it?
Found a similar issue here:
Maybe they are related...

Ali Hummos


Arindam Bose

Arindam Bose (view profile)


Max (view profile)


Dmytro (view profile)

Great thing, absolutely musthave! Use it a lot.

I would also like to report a minor, although sometimes very annoying, bag:
when used with zbuffer, anti-aliasing does not work well with LaTeX text, corrupting it and changing its size and shape. To see this, try to export some figure with both 3D-surfaces and some LaTeX-rendered labels ("export test.tiff -a2 -zbuffer;"). It would be great if this can be fixed!

Damjan Miklic

Great piece of software. A must-have for scientific publishing!


guo (view profile)

thx very much. very useful and enlightening!

Yan Jiang

A must have for scientific researchers!


export_fig did exactly what I needed.

I had to change the file user_string.m though, because it failed to write the settings. MATLAB said "error: Error using ==> fwrite: Invalid precision.", so I replaced fwrite with fprintf.

The correction can be found here.

Tobias Lamour


if you read all the description above you will discover the following lines towards the end:
"Usage examples can be found at:”

If you follow Oliver’s link with the examples you will find towards the end of the page the example below, which exactly provides what you would like to do:

Variable file names:

for a = 1:5
plot(rand(5, 2));
export_fig(sprintf('plot%d.png', a));

Good luck!


Thanks for sharing this useful program.
A quick question:
I am saving multiple figures with different name in for loop. Is it possible to use a name that is dynamically created depending on the value of the loop iteration like ['name' int2str(i)] -jpg ?




RP (view profile)

Oliver, you are possibly correct. I may have made the change in an earlier version to let my cygwin install work with it (and then forgotten about it). Thanks for incorporating the change. That will make it work well with cygwin.

Oliver Woodford

Ratish: The code was never previously as you say it was. However, I will implement the change you suggest.

michael: It's currently unsupported. I'll look into implementing it.


Really nice function, nice job !!

I'm trying to export an uipanel which contains multiples plots/ axes. Your function can only pass handle or axes. Is there any way to pass a uipanel ?




Bahaa (view profile)


RP (view profile)

Latest version (Nov 5 2012) breaks usage of ghostscript in cygwin.

In ghostscript.m, the following line
if ispc
    bin = {'gswin32c.exe','gswin64c.exe', 'gs'};
else ...

got changed to
if ispc
    bin = 'gswin32c.exe','gswin64c.exe'};
else ...

That stopped export_fig from being able to use the ghostscript packaged with cygwin on windows.
Restoring 'gs' to the array fixes this.

Hi, i would like to read a grd file of gridgen software using matlab.Thanks!



zhr (view profile)

2Aleg: try to use
orient portrait
before export_fig. It helps for me but I can't test your code now.

Oliver Woodford

Aleg: The second sentence of the file description reads "Figure/axes reproduced as it appears on screen". Also there is no mention of a 'PaperOrientation' option in the ample help text.


Aleg (view profile)

I try to create a pdf file with a figure and it always creates file landscape orientation. No matter what parameters I put in place. Code example:

figure('PaperSize',[20.98404194812 29.67743169791]);
set(gcf, 'Color', 'w');
export_fig ('PaperOrientation','portrait','test.pdf')

Does any one know how to define paper orientation for pdfs in export_fig?



Cesar (view profile)

For some reason, explicitly specifying the -r150 option fixed the issue. However since export_fig does not pass the -r argument when generating an eps file, I modified it by adding code around line 401 as follows:
p2eArgs = {renderer};
if options.magnify ~= 1
     p2eArgs = [p2eArgs {['-r',num2str(options.magnify*get(0, 'ScreenPixelsPerInch'))]}];

Of course this fixed only my issue and probably needs to be verified.

This is strange since "print" uses -r150 by default according to the documentation.

Thanks for the great script!


Cesar (view profile)

Great work!!
Just one issue.
I am also using addTopXAxis.m (File ID: #9046) to add a second x axis with a label on top of the plot.
When I use your script to save to a PDF file, the second x label is not printed.
Any hints as to why this is happening and how to to correct it?