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Create line object



line creates a line object in the current axes. You can specify the color, width, line style, and marker type, as well as other characteristics.

The line function has two forms:

line(X,Y) adds the line defined in vectors X and Y to the current axes. If X and Y are matrices of the same size, line draws one line per column.

line(X,Y,Z) creates lines in three-dimensional coordinates.

line(X,Y,Z,'PropertyName',PropertyValue,...) creates a line using the values for the property name/property value pairs specified and default values for all other properties.

See the LineStyle and Marker properties for a list of supported values.

line('XData',x,'YData',y,'ZData',z,'PropertyName',PropertyValue,.. .) creates a line in the current axes using the property values defined as arguments. This is the low-level form of the line function, which does not accept matrix coordinate data as the other informal forms described above.

h = line(...) returns a column vector of handles corresponding to each line object the function creates.


In its informal form, the line function interprets the first three arguments (two for 2-D) as the X, Y, and Z coordinate data, allowing you to omit the property names. You must specify all other properties as name/value pairs. For example,

The low-level form of the line function can have arguments that are only property name/property value pairs. For example,

Line properties control various aspects of the line object and are described in the "Line Properties" section. You can also set and query property values after creating the line using set and get.

You can specify properties as property name/property value pairs, structure arrays, and cell arrays (see the set and get reference pages for examples of how to specify these data types).

Unlike high-level functions such as plot, line does not respect the settings of the figure and axes NextPlot properties. It simply adds line objects to the current axes. However, axes properties that are under automatic control, such as the axis limits, can change to accommodate the line within the current axes.


This example uses the line function to add a shadow to plotted data. First, plot some data and save the line's handle:

Next, add a shadow by offsetting the x-coordinates. Make the shadow line light gray and wider than the default LineWidth:

Finally, pop the first line to the front:

Input Argument Dimensions - Informal Form

This statement reuses the one-column matrix specified for ZData to produce two lines, each having four points.

If all the data has the same number of columns and one row each, MATLAB transposes the matrices to produce data for plotting. For example,

is changed to

This also applies to the case when just one or two matrices have one row. For example, the statement

is equivalent to

Object Hierarchy

Setting Default Properties

You can set default line properties on the axes, figure, and root levels:

Where PropertyName is the name of the line property and PropertyValue is the value you are specifying. Use set and get to access line properties.

See Also

axes, newplot, plot, plot3

Object Creation Functions for related functions

Line Properties for property descriptions

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