MATLAB Function Reference    
Line Properties

Modifying Properties

You can set and query graphics object properties in two ways:

To change the default value of properties see Setting Default Property Values.

Line Property Descriptions

This section lists property names along with the type of values each accepts. Curly braces { } enclose default values.

BusyAction                   cancel | {queue}

Callback routine interruption. The BusyAction property enables you to control how MATLAB handles events that potentially interrupt executing callback routines. If there is a callback routine executing, subsequently invoked callback routes always attempt to interrupt it. If the Interruptible property of the object whose callback is executing is set to on (the default), then interruption occurs at the next point where the event queue is processed. If the Interruptible property is off, the BusyAction property (of the object owning the executing callback) determines how MATLAB handles the event. The choices are:

ButtonDownFcn                string or function handle

Button press callback routine. A callback routine that executes whenever you press a mouse button while the pointer is over the line object. Define this routine as a string that is a valid MATLAB expression or the name of an M-file. The expression executes in the MATLAB workspace.

See Function Handle Callbacks for information on how to use function handles to define the callback function.

Children                     vector of handles

The empty matrix; line objects have no children.

Clipping                     {on} | off

Clipping mode. MATLAB clips lines to the axes plot box by default. If you set Clipping to off, lines display outside the axes plot box. This can occur if you create a line, set hold to on, freeze axis scaling (axis manual), and then create a longer line.

Color                        ColorSpec

Line color. A three-element RGB vector or one of the MATLAB predefined names, specifying the line color. See the ColorSpec reference page for more information on specifying color.

CreateFcn                    string or function handle

Callback routine executed during object creation. This property defines a callback routine that executes when MATLAB creates a line object. You must define this property as a default value for lines. For example, the statement,

defines a default value on the root level that sets the axes LineStyleOrder whenever you create a line object. MATLAB executes this routine after setting all line properties. Setting this property on an existing line object has no effect.

The handle of the object whose CreateFcn is being executed is accessible only through the root CallbackObject property, which you can query using gcbo.

See Function Handle Callbacks for information on how to use function handles to define the callback function.

DeleteFcn                    string or function handle

Delete line callback routine. A callback routine that executes when you delete the line object (e.g., when you issue a delete command or clear the axes or figure). MATLAB executes the routine before deleting the object's properties so these values are available to the callback routine.

The handle of the object whose DeleteFcn is being executed is accessible only through the root CallbackObject property, which you can query using gcbo.

See Function Handle Callbacks for information on how to use function handles to define the callback function.

EraseMode                    {normal} | none | xor | background

Erase mode. This property controls the technique MATLAB uses to draw and erase line objects. Alternative erase modes are useful for creating animated sequences, where control of the way individual objects redraw is necessary to improve performance and obtain the desired effect.

Printing with Non-normal Erase Modes

MATLAB always prints figures as if the EraseMode of all objects is normal. This means graphics objects created with EraseMode set to none, xor, or background can look different on screen than on paper. On screen, MATLAB may mathematically combine layers of colors (e.g., XORing a pixel color with that of the pixel behind it) and ignore three-dimensional sorting to obtain greater rendering speed. However, these techniques are not applied to the printed output.

You can use the MATLAB getframe command or other screen capture application to create an image of a figure containing non-normal mode objects.

HitTest                      {on} | off

Selectable by mouse click. HitTest determines if the line can become the current object (as returned by the gco command and the figure CurrentObject property) as a result of a mouse click on the line. If HitTest is off, clicking on the line selects the object below it (which may be the axes containing it).

HandleVisibility             {on} | callback | off

Control access to object's handle by command-line users and GUIs. This property determines when an object's handle is visible in its parent's list of children. HandleVisibility is useful for preventing command-line users from accidentally drawing into or deleting a figure that contains only user interface devices (such as a dialog box).

Handles are always visible when HandleVisibility is on.

Setting HandleVisibility to callback causes handles to be visible from within callback routines or functions invoked by callback routines, but not from within functions invoked from the command line. This provides a means to protect GUIs from command-line users, while allowing callback routines to have complete access to object handles.

Setting HandleVisibility to off makes handles invisible at all times. This may be necessary when a callback routine invokes a function that might potentially damage the GUI (such as evaling a user-typed string), and so temporarily hides its own handles during the execution of that function.

When a handle is not visible in its parent's list of children, it cannot be returned by functions that obtain handles by searching the object hierarchy or querying handle propertes. This includes get, findobj, gca, gcf, gco, newplot, cla, clf, and close.

When a handle's visibility is restricted using callback or off, the object's handle does not appear in its parent's Children property, figures do not appear in the root's CurrentFigure property, objects do not appear in the root's CallbackObject property or in the figure's CurrentObject property, and axes do not appear in their parent's CurrentAxes property.

You can set the root ShowHiddenHandles property to on to make all handles visible, regardless of their HandleVisibility settings (this does not affect the values of the HandleVisibility properties).

Handles that are hidden are still valid. If you know an object's handle, you can set and get its properties, and pass it to any function that operates on handles.

Interruptible                {on} | off

Callback routine interruption mode. The Interruptible property controls whether a line callback routine can be interrupted by subsequently invoked callback routines. Only callback routines defined for the ButtonDownFcn are affected by the Interruptible property. MATLAB checks for events that can interrupt a callback routine only when it encounters a drawnow, figure, getframe, or pause command in the routine.

LineStyle                    {-} | -- | : | -. | none

Line style. This property specifies the line style. Available line styles are shown in the table.

Line Style
solid line (default)
dashed line
dotted line
dash-dot line
no line

You can use LineStyle none when you want to place a marker at each point but do not want the points connected with a line (see the Marker property).

LineWidth                    scalar

The width of the line object. Specify this value in points (1 point = 1/72 inch). The default LineWidth is 0.5 points.

Marker                       character (see table)

Marker symbol. The Marker property specifies marks that display at data points. You can set values for the Marker property independently from the LineStyle property. Supported markers include those shown in the table.

Marker Specifier
plus sign
upward pointing triangle
downward pointing triangle
right pointing triangle
left pointing triangle
five-pointed star (pentagram)
six-pointed star (hexagram)
no marker (default)

MarkerEdgeColor              ColorSpec | none | {auto}

Marker edge color. The color of the marker or the edge color for filled markers (circle, square, diamond, pentagram, hexagram, and the four triangles). ColorSpec defines the color to use. none specifies no color, which makes nonfilled markers invisible. auto sets MarkerEdgeColor to the same color as the line's Color property.

MarkerFaceColor              ColorSpec | {none} | auto

Marker face color. The fill color for markers that are closed shapes (circle, square, diamond, pentagram, hexagram, and the four triangles). ColorSpec defines the color to use. none makes the interior of the marker transparent, allowing the background to show through. auto sets the fill color to the axes color, or the figure color, if the axes Color property is set to none (which is the factory default for axes).

MarkerSize                   size in points

Marker size. A scalar specifying the size of the marker, in points. The default value for MarkerSize is six points (1 point = 1/72 inch). Note that MATLAB draws the point marker (specified by the '.' symbol) at one-third the specified size.

Parent                       handle

Line's parent. The handle of the line object's parent axes. You can move a line object to another axes by changing this property to the new axes handle.

Selected                     on | off

Is object selected. When this property is on. MATLAB displays selection handles if the SelectionHighlight property is also on. You can, for example, define the ButtonDownFcn to set this property, allowing users to select the object with the mouse.

SelectionHighlight           {on} | off

Objects highlight when selected. When the Selected property is on, MATLAB indicates the selected state by drawing handles at each vertex. When SelectionHighlight is off, MATLAB does not draw the handles.

Tag                          string

User-specified object label. The Tag property provides a means to identify graphics objects with a user-specified label. This is particularly useful when constructing interactive graphics programs that would otherwise need to define object handles as global variables or pass them as arguments between callback routines. You can define Tag as any string.

Type                         string (read only)

Class of graphics object. For line objects, Type is always the string 'line'.

UIContextMenu                handle of a uicontextmenu object

Associate a context menu with the line. Assign this property the handle of a uicontextmenu object created in same figure as the line. Use the uicontextmenu function to create the context menu. MATLAB displays the context menu whenever you right-click over the line.

UserData                     matrix

User-specified data. Any data you want to associate with the line object. MATLAB does not use this data, but you can access it using the set and get commands.

Visible                      {on} | off

Line visibility. By default, all lines are visible. When set to off, the line is not visible, but still exists and you can get and set its properties.

XData                        vector of coordinates

X-coordinates. A vector of x-coordinates defining the line. YData and ZData must have the same number of rows. (See Examples).

YData                        vector or matrix of coordinates

Y-coordinates. A vector of y-coordinates defining the line. XData and ZData must have the same number of rows.

ZData                        vector of coordinates

Z-coordinates. A vector of z-coordinates defining the line. XData and YData must have the same number of rows.

  line LineSpec