# MATLAB R2014b Graphics – Part 1: Features of the New Graphics System 43

Posted by **Loren Shure**,

Today I’d like to introduce a guest blogger, David Garrison, who is a MATLAB Product Manager here at MathWorks. This is the first in a series of blogs over the next few weeks describing the new graphics system in R2014b and how some of the changes will affect you.

**Part 1: Features of the New Graphics System**- Part 2: Using Graphics Objects
- Part 3: Compatibility Considerations in the New Graphics System

Here is Part 1 of the series.

### Contents

- Big Changes in R2014b
- The New MATLAB Graphics System
- The New Look of MATLAB Graphics
- Rotatable Tick Labels
- Automated Updating of
`datetime`Tick Labels - Animated Plots
- Multilingual Text and Symbols in Plots
- User Interfaces with Tab Panels
- Improved Histograms
- Have you tried the new graphics system in R2014b?
- Next up -- Part 2: Using Graphics Objects

#### Big Changes in R2014b

There are a number of big changes in R2014b. Some of the new features include:

- New MATLAB graphics system
- Date and time data types with time zone and display options
- Git and Subversion source control integration and access to projects on GitHub from File Exchange
- MATLAB toolbox packaging as single, installable files for easy sharing and downloading of user-developed tools
- MATLAB MapReduce™ data analysis that scales Hadoop for big data
- Arduino and Android hardware support for interacting with motors and actuators, and for accessing sensor data

You can learn more about all these features in the MATLAB R2014b Release Notes. This post is all about the new graphics system.

#### The New MATLAB Graphics System

R2014b includes a new MATLAB graphics system. The new graphics system includes many new features which we will describe in this blog post. In Part 2 of this series, we will describe how graphics handles have changed in R2014b and how to use graphics objects. Finally, there are some changes in the new system which may require changes in some existing graphics related code. We'll discuss compatibility considerations in Part 3 of this series.

#### The New Look of MATLAB Graphics

When you create a plot in R2014b, you'll see that MATLAB graphics look different than previous versions.

The first thing that you will notice is that lines are plotted using a different set of colors. New line colors were selected to make it easier to distinguish lines from one another and to help people with certain types of color blindness. There is also a new default colormap in R2014b called *parula*. The colors in the parula colormap are ordered from dark to light and are perceptually uniform. Smooth changes in the data appear as smooth changes in color, while sharp changes in the data appear as sharp changes in color. Grid lines are now gray to make data stand out visually. Axis labels and titles are larger and more prominent. Lines and text are now anti-aliased (smoothed) to remove jagged edges.

#### Rotatable Tick Labels

If you're like me, you sometimes need to use long labels for the ticks in your plot. In previous versions of MATLAB, tick labels were always displayed horizontally as shown on the left in the example below. In the new graphics system, ticks can be rotated so you can create a plot like that shown on the right. Tick labels on both the x and y axes can be rotated.

For example, to rotate the X tick labels, use the `XTickLabelRotation` property of the `Axes` object:

ax = gca; ax.XTickLabelRotation = -40;

#### Automated Updating of `datetime` Tick Labels

R2014b includes a new date and time data type called a `datetime` array. When you create a plot with a `datetime` array, the tick labels will automatically update as you pan or zoom in the plot. Tick labels change from days to hours to minutes to seconds as shown below.

#### Animated Plots

MATLAB R2014b graphics introduces a new function called `animatedline`. The code below shows how to create an `animatedline` and add points to it.

x = 1:100; y = rand(1,100); myLine = animatedline; myLine.Color = blue; xlim([1 100]) ylim([0 1]) for i = 1:100 addpoints(myLine,x(i),y(i)) pause(0.1) end

The result is a plot that changes over time. The picture below shows how the plot looks at iterations 20, 50, and 80 as points are added.

#### Multilingual Text and Symbols in Plots

R2014b graphics also supports the use of Unicode characters to show multilingual text in axis labels and titles and in user interface controls. Here is an example. See the `native2unicode` function for more information about Unicode strings.

#### User Interfaces with Tab Panels

Creating a user interface with tab panels has been a common request among MATLAB UI builders. In the past, people had done it using undocumented functions. In R2014b, those functions have been updated and are now fully documented and supported.

You can easily create a user interface like the one shown above using the new `uitabgroup` and `uitab` functions.

myFig = figure('Toolbar', 'none', ... % Create the figure 'Menubar', 'none', 'Name', 'Using Tab Panels'); tgroup = uitabgroup('Parent', myFig); % Create the tabgroup tab1 = uitab('Parent', tgroup, 'Title', 'Loan Data'); % Create the tabs tab2 = uitab('Parent', tgroup, 'Title', 'Amortization Table'); tab3 = uitab('Parent', tgroup, 'Title', 'Principal/Interest Plot');

#### Improved Histograms

The new `histogram` function plots histograms with data-dependent bin picking. It provides capabilities that the traditional `hist` function does not including options for bin control, normalization, and visualization.

The code below shows how to create two overlapping histograms and modify their properties after they are created.

data1 = randn(5000,1); data2 = randn(5000,1)+ 2;

h1 = histogram(data1); hold on h2 = histogram(data2); hold off legend show

h1.BinMethod = 'sturges'; h2.Normalization = 'countdensity';

#### Have you tried the new graphics system in R2014b?

Have you installed MATLAB R2014b? Have you tried the new graphics system? We'd love to hear your thoughts here.

#### Next up -- Part 2: Using Graphics Objects

Well, that's all for now. Be sure to check out Mike Garrity's new blog, Mike on MATLAB Graphics, for some cool ideas about what you can do with the new graphics system.

In my next post I'll talk about how graphics handles have changed in R2014b and how to use graphics objects.

Get the MATLAB code

Published with MATLAB® R2014b

### Note

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## 43 CommentsOldest to Newest

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Why do you presume that datetime does not allow milliseconds? Datetime has very high precision, up to nanosecond precision (over something like 100 days). For converting string formats that contain fractional seconds, see the documentation for the Format property of datetime objects. Use S, SS, SSS, ..., for reading in date strings that contain fractions of a second, up to 9 fractional digits.

In the same portion of the documentation, you'll see that D, DD, and DDD are used to format dates using day-of-year.

In the documentation for the TimeZone property, you'll see that you can specify 'UTCLeapSeconds' to create a datetime array in Universal Coordinated Time that accounts for leap seconds.

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1. plots with more than one y-axis: plotyy is very limited and doing it by hand is very complicated

2. saving images to files: Saving as emf gives you almost the same as you see on the screen but it does not support all features (transparency, RGB colors...). All the other formats change the whole layout (font sizes, x/y-ticks, legend position, ...) and it is always try and error until you have a good looking image. Multipage-PDF is not supported either.

Are there any improvement in those areas?

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Y = round(X,N) rounds to N digits Y = round(X,N,type) specifies the type of rounding. Specify 'significant' to round to N significant digits (counted from the leftmost digit). In this case, N must be a positive integer.Rounding pi to 3 decimal places:

>> Y = round(pi,3) Y = 3.142 >> Y - 3.142 ans = 0Rounding to 3 significant figures:

>> Y = round(pi,3, 'significant') Y = 3.14 >> Y - 3.14 ans = 0

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xx = randn(1e6, 1); figure(10); tic; plot(xx,'x'); drawnow; tocAfter these commands, it takes about a minute before I am allowed to zoom. My result:

Elapsed time is 10.533855 seconds.I know that it doesn't make sense to try to plot as many points. However, this was possible in older versions. Results for 2014a:

Elapsed time is 0.567253 seconds.

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w = randn(1200,139) + 1j*randn(1200,139); plot(w,'.'); print -depsc test.eps- The bounding box definition is no longer compatible with all eps interpreters. It seems to be fine (tight) with some programs such as Inkscape and when converting to pdf with ps2pdf, but other software such as OS X's Preview render it as a figure at the bottom of a letter sized sheet of paper. Finally, printing to pdf instead of eps solves the file size problem, but not the bounding box problem. I have tried to use "set(gcf,'PaperPositionMode','auto')", but I still get a pdf that is letter sized with a figure in the centre. In the mean time I am using png's for managable file sizes and a tight bounding box, but I would ultimately prefer a vector format. I appreciate any comments you might have on this issue.

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myLine.Color = blue;But it should be:

myLine.Color = 'blue';Is this correct? I am asking this because the first version is not working on my computer. Kind regards, Dominik

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