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Bar with errorbars

version (1.77 KB) by Venn Ravichandran
This code plots bars with errorbars, as simple as that.


Updated 22 Jun 2011

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As of now (2009-Jul-13), MATLAB doesn't have a built-in function to plot bars with with error bars on top of them. This function solves that problem.

To a beginning user, this provides a very simple way of plotting bar with errorbars with a simple command:
errorbarbar(y,e); % where y is the height of the bars and e is the limit to plot as error bars (of length 2*e, about y).

For an intermediate user, this function provides the handles to the BAR and ERRORBAR lines for further modification.
[b,e] = errorbarbar(y,e); % or ...
[b,e] = errorbarbar(x,y,e); % where x is center location of the group of bars

For an advanced user, this function also provides ways to modify any and all of the bar and line series properties while plotting it in the first place.

barSettings = {'facealpha',0.5,'edgecolor',[0.5 0.5 0.5]};
lineSettings = {'linestyle','--','linewidth',2};
[b,e] = errorbarbar(x,y,e,barSettings,lineSettings);
set(b,'facecolor',[0 0.5 0]); % set all bars to color green

Hint: You can use the lineSettings variable to use distinct upper and lower limits.

What it DOESN'T do:
1. Plot horizontal bar graphs
2. Work with bar(y,e,barSettings,lineSettings). Instead, use:

Cite As

Venn Ravichandran (2021). Bar with errorbars (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (22)

DangDang Lang

Ioannis Agriomallos

Update to the previous code, since it worked only for stacked bars correctly. Now it should work for grouped as well.

%% get the xdata to plot the error plots
c = b;
ydata = zeros(size(E));
a = c.BarLayout;
if strcmp(a,'stacked')
for i = 1:length(c)
xdata(:,i) = get(c(i),'XData');
for j = 1:i
ydata(:,i) = ydata(:,i) + get(c(j),'YData')';
for i = 1:length(c)
xdata(:,i) = get(c(i),'XData') + get(c(i),'XOffset');
ydata(:,i) = get(c(i),'YData')';

Ioannis Agriomallos

In answer of Mohamed Salim and justin murphy:

Matlab R2014b and later versions stopped using the 'Children' attribute as stated here:

I changed the code and worked for me on R2016b, so i share just in case it's of help for anyone. You should simply replace the corresponding cell only:

%% get the xdata to plot the error plots
c = b;
ydata = zeros(size(E));
for i = 1:length(c)
xdata(:,i) = get(c(i),'XData');
for j = 1:i
ydata(:,i) = ydata(:,i) + get(c(j),'YData')';

Mohamed Salim

I have the same issue as Justin

justin murphy

I seem to get the following error no matter which input I put in:

Index exceeds matrix dimensions.

Error in errorbarbar (line 56)
ydata = mean(tempYData(2:3,:))';

Why might this be?? Any suggestions?

Alexander Kurz

Is it possible to plot a grouped stacked bar plot with error bars with this code?

Bianca Elena Ivanof

Hey all,

I'm using r2012a and just downloaded the .zip folder attached thinking the it'll contain a file which, once activated, would incorporate the errorbarbar function into MATLAB for me to use it as any other function. I know how to plot a bar graph using errorbarbar, done that before - but the way I've been shown how to do it doesn't require such a lengthy code. Maybe I'm missing something, but is there a way I can activate the errorbarbar option in MATLAB (without designing my bar graph using the code above)?

David J. Mack

Replace the third cell by the following code and it will work:

%% get the xdata to plot the error plots
c = get(b,'Children');
if iscell(c) && all(~cellfun(@isempty,c))
for i = 1:length(c)
xdata(:,i) = mean(get(c{i},'xdata'));
tempYData = get(c{i},'ydata');
ydata(:,i) = mean(tempYData(2:3,:))';
elseif length(b) > 1
for i = 1:length(b)
xdata(:,i) = b(i).XData+b(i).XOffset;
ydata(:,i) = b(i).YData;
xdata = mean(get(c,'xdata'));
tempYData = get(c,'ydata');
ydata = mean(tempYData(2:3,:))';

David J. Mack

Works perfectly with previous ML builds. However, since the plotting change in R2013(?), BAR is not implemented as a patch object anymore and thus there are no children for the computation of the mean X position. This causes the error for grouped bars.

Wenxin Xu

I have the same question with Naman... Thx!

Naman Deep Singh

Naman Deep Singh

Say i have a data matrix (d) of 3X4, and associated error matrix (e) of 3X4 . I want to make a stacked bars of all rows with error bars given in the error matrix. I would very obliged if you could illustrate the very case using an example.

Thanks ! :)


Right Grievous

Really good piece of code. However, is it possible to colour one of the bars differently to the others (i.e as you would do using (set(h(1),'FaceColor','r') on a normal Matlab bar plot?

I have tried but it just colours them all the same...

Min Liu

Excellent tool. Thx!

Xiaohui Liu

Other error bars I find cannot deal with asymmetric error bounds. This one works like a charm.


Venn Ravichandran

x = 1:10; % x-axis
y = rand(10,2); % bar-heights
L = rand(10,2)*0.01; % Lower limit
U = rand(10,2)*0.03; % Upper limit
barSettings = {};
lineSettings = {U, 'linestyle', 'none'};
errorbarbar(x, y, L, barSettings, lineSettings);

sinoTrinity Liu

"Hint: You can use the lineSettings variable to use distinct upper and lower limits."
Can you give me an example? I need to draw asymmetric error bounds. Thanks.


Thanks a lot !!

Venn Ravichandran

@Shatrughan: errorbarbar(1:5, rand(5,2)*10, rand(5,2),{'stacked'});


It is not as simple as you said. Would you mind putting up an illustrative example (especially for stacked bar plot). I would really appreciated it.


MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2007b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Inspired: superbar

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