# How do I format tick labels before R2016b?

110 views (last 30 days)
MathWorks Support Team on 5 Aug 2013
I have an axis with tick labels and I want them all to have 3.1 format. For example, I do a plot (1:5) and I change my tick labels using the command
set(gca, 'XTick', [1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0])
However, they appear as:
[1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5]
I would like to get them to appear as I typed them in the above command.
Also, I want to know if it is possible to specify the format of the plot axes tick label which is automatically placed by MATLAB.

MathWorks Support Team on 17 Feb 2021
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 17 Feb 2021
For MATLAB R2015b and newer versions:
This functionality was added to MATLAB graphics system in R2015b. The following code shows the simplest way to achieve this:
plot(1:10);
ax = gca;
ax.XAxis.TickLabelFormat = '%,.1f';
For MATLAB R2015a and older versions:
You can use one of the following methods to format your tick labels:
1. Use the SPRINTF function to format your tick labels using the format of your choice then set the 'XTickLabel' or 'YTickLabel' property of the axis to use those strings as tick labels.
An example which demonstrates this is:
x=[1 1.53 4];
y=[1 2 3];
plot(x,y)
set(gca,'XTick',x)
set(gca,'XTickLabel',sprintf('%3.4f|',x))
set(gca,'YTick',y)
set(gca,'YTickLabel',sprintf('%+1.2f|',y))
For more information on the available formats, consult the documentation for the SPRINTF function. Also, consult the documentation for the XTickLabel in the 'Axes properties' section.
NOTE: for MATLAB R2014b and later you will have to use new line character instead of the | symbol. For instance, the following command will work for MATLAB R2014b and later.
set(gca,'XTickLabel',sprintf('%3.4f\n',x))
2. Use the STR2MAT function to create a use the tick labels of your choice. An example which demonstrates this is:
x=[1 1.53 4];
y=[1 2 3];
plot(x,y)
set(gca,'XTick',x)
set(gca,'XTickLabel',str2mat('1.00','1.530','2'))
set(gca,'YTick',y)
set(gca,'YTickLabel',str2mat('1.00','2.00','3.00'))
You can change the auto generated tick marks by first getting them using get(gca,'XTickLabel') followed by one of the two methods listed above.
Sindar on 13 Jul 2016
Is there any way to reproduce the Command Window output display format options? Specifically, I would love if I could set the default for everything to be in the shortG format.
Walter Roberson on 13 Jul 2016
Sindar:
No, the "format" command has no effect on any aspect of plotting.

Walter Roberson on 20 Sep 2015
x=[1 1.53 4];
y=[1 2 3];
plot(x,y)
set(gca,'XTick',x)
set(gca,'XTickLabel', cellstr(num2str(x(:), '%3.4f')))
set(gca,'YTick',y)
set(gca,'YTickLabel', cellstr(num2str(y(:), '%+1.2f')) )

Sergio Yanez-Pagans on 21 Aug 2021
Maybe this could be useful:
https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/97964-linemarks

### Categories

Find more on Axis Labels in Help Center and File Exchange

### Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!