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Highlights from

  • append_pdfs(varargin)
    APPEND_PDFS Appends/concatenates multiple PDF files
  • copyfig(fh)
    COPYFIG Create a copy of a figure, without changing the figure
  • eps2pdf(source, dest, cro...
    EPS2PDF Convert an eps file to pdf format using ghostscript
  • export_fig(varargin)
    EXPORT_FIG Exports figures suitable for publication
  • fix_lines(fname, fname2)
    FIX_LINES Improves the line style of eps files generated by print
  • ghostscript(cmd)
    GHOSTSCRIPT Calls a local GhostScript executable with the input command
  • im2gif(A, varargin)
    IM2GIF Convert a multiframe image to an animated GIF file
  • isolate_axes(ah, vis)
    ISOLATE_AXES Isolate the specified axes in a figure on their own
  • pdf2eps(source, dest)
    PDF2EPS Convert a pdf file to eps format using pdftops
  • pdftops(cmd)
    PDFTOPS Calls a local pdftops executable with the input command
  • print2array(fig, res, ren...
    PRINT2ARRAY Exports a figure to an image array
  • print2eps.m
  • user_string(string_name, ...
    USER_STRING Get/set a user specific string
  • using_hg2(fig)
    USING_HG2 Determine if the HG2 graphics pipeline is used
  • View all files


4.9 | 359 ratings Rate this file 3069 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 36.9 KB File ID: #23629
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11 Apr 2009 (Updated )

Exports figures nicely to a number of vector & bitmap formats.

Editor's Notes:

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

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File Information

This function saves a figure or single axes to one or more vector and/or bitmap file formats, and/or outputs a rasterized version to the workspace, with the following properties:
   - Figure/axes reproduced as it appears on screen
   - Cropped borders (optional)
   - Embedded fonts (pdf only)
   - Improved line and grid line styles
   - Anti-aliased graphics (bitmap formats)
   - Render images at native resolution (optional for bitmap formats)
   - Transparent background supported (pdf, eps, png)
   - Semi-transparent patch objects supported (png only)
   - RGB, CMYK or grayscale output (CMYK only with pdf, eps, tiff)
   - Variable image compression, including lossless (pdf, eps, jpg)
   - Optionally append to file (pdf, tiff)
   - Vector formats: pdf, eps
   - Bitmap formats: png, tiff, jpg, bmp, export to workspace
This function is especially suited to exporting figures for use in publications and presentations, because of the high quality and portability of media produced.
Note that the background color and figure dimensions are reproduced (the latter approximately, and ignoring cropping & magnification) in the output file. For transparent background (and semi-transparent patch objects), use the -transparent option, and set the axes 'Color' property to 'none' where desired. Pdf, eps and png are the only file formats to support a transparent background, whilst the png format alone supports transparency of patch objects.
When exporting to vector format (pdf & eps), and to bitmap using the painters renderer, this function requires that ghostscript is installed on your system. You can download this from:
When exporting to eps it additionally requires pdftops, from the Xpdf suite of functions. You can download this from:
Usage examples and tips can be found in the README at:

When reporting bugs, please either use the 'Contact Author' link on my Author page, or raise an issue via GitHub. Please do not paste the error into the comments - I will not respond to these.


Savefig, Fix Dashed And Dotted Lines In Eps Export, Fixpslinestyle, Myaa My Anti Alias For Matlab, and Fix Lines inspired this file.

This file inspired Google Earth Overlay, Convert Plot4 Publication, Causal State Modeller Toolbox, Machine Learning Balancing A Stack Of Balls, Fast And Efficient Spectral Clustering, Co Blade: Software For Analysis And Design Of Composite Blades, Latexfigure, Figuremaker Publication Quality Figures With Matlab, Telo Tool Terminal Restriction Fragment Analysis, Multiple Colormaps, Color Checker Chart, Simulation Of Random Walk, Multiple Page Pdf, Matlab Icon For Linux (With Transparency), Jc Dstatus Plot, Xively Read, Append Pdfs, Save Figure To File, Choose The Dimensions And Crop Figure, Export Figure To 3 D Interactive Pdf, Imsavecircles, To Ppt, and Plot Pub Publication Quality Graphs In Matlab.

Required Products MATLAB
MATLAB release MATLAB 7.13 (R2011b)
Other requirements Ghostscript, Xpdf
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Comments and Ratings (528)
22 Oct 2014 Oliver Woodford

Michael, Adam: Surely one of you can (a) read and (b) file an issue on the github page, to which I will respond. I can't help you with what you've provided. Thanks.

22 Oct 2014 Michael

With a code perfectly working on OS 10.9.5 and Matlab 2014a, I got the exact same issue than Adam, but on a OS X 10.10 (final release!) with Matlab 2014b and Ghostscript 9.15...

Please find something ;-)

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in definefont
Operand stack:
CMSY10 --dict:14/15(L)-- Font
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1
%stopped_push 1951 1 3 %oparray_pop 1950 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1934 1 3 %oparray_pop 1820 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
%errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1901 2 3 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1188/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:121/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 71195
GPL Ghostscript 9.15: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 435)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

21 Oct 2014 Steven

The function is magnificent.
Except that sometimes for me a problem arises when exporting!

In loglog plot, the label ticks are not written correctly, I mean they should be something like 10^(2), but they are 100.

Strange is that this only happens for y-axis and x-axis is fine!

I looked it up a lot in the internet, but could not find the solution. I have not been able to resolve it by changing tickmode to manual or etc.

Any other solution?



20 Oct 2014 George  
16 Oct 2014 Peter Pablo  
16 Oct 2014 Eric

Thanks a lot for the great work

14 Oct 2014 Christian

I encountered a similar issue as described by Emma. However, it works fine for linewidths>0.75 pt, but for smaller linewidths the lines seem to be set to 0.75 pt when exporting, i.e. when exporting lines of 0.5 pt width (or any value<0.75), it will export them as 0.75 pt, when exporting lines with 1 pt width (or any value >0.75 pt) it exports them with the correct width.
The problem does not occur in R2014a.

13 Oct 2014 Adam

Tremendously useful function. However, I seem to have issues getting it work in 2014b on Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9.5). Since upgrading I get the following error whenever I export to eps:

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /typecheck in /findfont
Operand stack:
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop
1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3
%oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
%errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- 1868 1 3
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1184/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:121/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: Invalid argument
Current file position is 90356
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 435)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2,

It seems to be an issue with ghostscript, but any hints as to how to fix it would be gratefully received!


13 Oct 2014 Emma

I absolutely love this tool, but I have a problem using 2014b. The lines on my exported figures are really wide now. The exact same code run in 2014a is perfect, but the new linewidths are unusable.

11 Oct 2014 Fabian Schrumpf

Oliver: I accidentally did not use the most recent release of your script. After updating, it works as great as before in 2014b as well. Thank you.

10 Oct 2014 Yisheng Xu

It's a great tool. The only flaw that I found is the LineWidth and FontSize of exported vector image (pdf) is slighlty bigger than the sizes specified in MATLAB (e.g., LineWidth becomes 0.735pt and unadjustable; FontSize of 10pt becomes 10.29pt) Any way to fix it? Thanks!

09 Oct 2014 Oliver Woodford

Fabian: R2014b works for me. If you have a reproducible error I suggest you provide me the code in an issue on github.

09 Oct 2014 Fabian Schrumpf

I love this function and use it almost daily to export Matlab figures to pdf and postprocess them in other programs.

However, in Matlab 2014b Mathworks introduced the new graph design and the export to pdf/eps is not possible anymore, giving the error:

Error using eps2pdf (line 100)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
dom --nostringval--

I would highly appreciate if this could be fixed to run with the most recent Matlab version.

09 Oct 2014 Fabian Schrumpf  
09 Oct 2014 Malte

Great job, thanks! However I am faced with the following problem... I used "patch" for plotting and the "FaceAlpha" property. After the export the background is black (*.png, transparent, opengl). Any ideas???

06 Oct 2014 ustc

it's very good!

01 Oct 2014 Micke  
30 Sep 2014 Robert Richardson  
30 Sep 2014 Robert Richardson  
24 Sep 2014 M S

Love this function. Transparency in .pdf/.eps would be *hugely* appreciated, I still use plot2svg when trying to save images with patch transparency.

22 Sep 2014 Fei yang

Pretty good!

19 Sep 2014 Ander Biguri

This fileexchange should DEFINITELY be added to matlab as a feature. Amazing.

19 Sep 2014 Tobias Benjamin Gram  
18 Sep 2014 Vladimir  
18 Sep 2014 Liang Haixiao  
17 Sep 2014 Juan Deaton  
17 Sep 2014 mf0000

This looks as a function I might as well quickly fall in love with. However, I am in troubles with how to make it work. I do not find it so straightforward how to install Xpdf on mac, OS X. Can anyone help me with step-by-step instructions on proper installation commands in the terminal?

05 Sep 2014 Karen

Selecting the location for the system version of ghostscript did not work for me. I am using matlab 2014a on a mac (10.9.4). My ghoscript installation is via MacPorts, and installs in /opt/local/bin/gs. My default shell is csh, not bash.

I was able to get the ghostscript.m script to work by changing the mac-specific 'export DYLIB...' commands (bash syntax) to 'setenv DYLIB....' (csh syntax).

I did not find an easy way to check what shell the user is using, but perhaps some checking for this could be added. Since the fix requiring the environment variable to be set has been around for about a year in your code, I suspect not many users have csh as their default shell, either under unix or OSX systems.

I have been using export_fig for several years, and am glad to have it back with my new laptop.

05 Sep 2014 Oliver Woodford

Arnold: Try using imsc from my sc package. It doesn't use patch objects, but can still fill in NaNs with any colour you want.

05 Sep 2014 arnold

I use imagescnan quite a bit. However, I can't export those figures as pdf since the white patches masking the nan areas are always dropped when using export_fig. I can't seemt to find a way to keep the patches. Exporting using standard pdf export works fine in this regard, yet it's very clumsy.... that's why export_fig is always first :)

14 Aug 2014 Brad Carman

plot with transparency in the patches not rendering in pdf correctly (the patches are given a solid color). How can this be fixed?

11 Aug 2014 Haowen  
10 Aug 2014 arnold

Hi Oliver, still having problems exporting patches and lines or symbol.
I can use uistack or uistack2 from the file exchange here and get good looking results BUT, if I export PDF using export_fig the patch is always in front of everything else. Maybe you can look into that and fix it! thanks Arnold.

01 Aug 2014 Mei June

Is there a way to use this great tool in the editor's publish function?

So that pressing the publish button yields a report with images and graphs as specified with parameters in this export_fig tool?

01 Aug 2014 jianfeng zeng

I don't know how to set the DPI and size of figure
outputted by export_fig. Could any friend tell me about it? thanks very much!!!

31 Jul 2014 Noah Levine-Small

Export_fig has been a life saver. Unfortunately, I now get the following error:
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1932 1 3
%oparray_pop 1931 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3
%oparray_pop 1803 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
%errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1189/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.09: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1
Error in export_fig (line 424)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append,
options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

any ideas?

29 Jul 2014 Junghwan

Many thanks to Oliver for the great code.
One issue that I encountered:
When exported in eps format, all my tweaks on the plot legend are reset to default.

18 Jul 2014 Baptiste  
17 Jul 2014 Tristan

Thanks for the great code, and the ghostscript error fix! it suddenly didn't print eps or pdf anymore, but now works beautifully again
..Afif: export_fig(gcf,'filename','-eps')

15 Jul 2014 Sven


Thanks a lot for that beatiful code. Works quite good.
However, there is a bug: one cannot use the symbol "%" within the file name:

When I type: export_fig(f3, 'Post-Process Estimates - diff. weight (+5 +10 +15)kg, Amp 10','-pdf','-q0','-a1','-r160','-nocrop') % lowest quality, no anti-aliasing, reduced resolution

it creates a nice pdf.

However when I add the symbol "%" at the end of the name, that is: Amp 10% I get a strange error message:

>> export_fig(f3, 'Post-Process Estimates - diff. weight (+5 +10 +15)kg, Amp 10%','-pdf','-q0','-a1','-r160','-nocrop')
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting.

Error in export_fig (line 435)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

A bug?

14 Jul 2014 Afif

Can someone please provide an minimalist example of how to export and .eps image using 'export_fi'? I am having a really hard time using it. Thanks in advance.

11 Jul 2014 Tobias Benjamin Gram

After updating to R2014b, the crop function for PDF seems not to work properly. This is my test code:
x = -100:0.01:100;y = -3.*x.^2-3.*x+4;
The png, bmp and jpg is being crop perfect.

11 Jul 2014 Bennet Luck

Most used function at the moment, great!

07 Jul 2014 Preetham Aghalaya Manjunatha

Extremely useful function!

07 Jul 2014 murat  
03 Jul 2014 Hugo Mendonça  
02 Jul 2014 Morteza Shahpari  
02 Jul 2014 Morteza Shahpari  
01 Jul 2014 Dirk kok

If you are writing documents which require matlab figures this is a must have program.

27 Jun 2014 Richard

First of all, this program is totally awesome. But... I'm having a problem with R2014b running on Windows 7. After creating a very simple plot, I get this error information.

Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1862 1 3 %oparray_pop 1861 1 3 %oparray_pop 1845 1 3 %oparray_pop 1739 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1153/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:69/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 8.64: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

I'm also confused as to why it's using Ghostscript 8.64, as I've installed 9.14 and changed 'path_ = user_string('ghostscript');' in ghostscript.m to 'path_ = user_string('C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.14\bin\gswin64c.exe');'.

27 Jun 2014 talha  
26 Jun 2014 Debejyo Chakraborty

Actually exports vector pdf, cropped accurately! Thanks for this. Saves me a ton of time.

26 Jun 2014 daniel

Wow, what a great tool! Saved me a lot of trouble, Thanks!!!!

26 Jun 2014 Hassan Naseri

Great new version. Finally the problem with interactive plots, e.g., "impoint" or "impoly", has been resolved. :)

23 Jun 2014 Christoph Gugg

great, now works with the prerelease of R2014b on OSX 10.9.3

16 Jun 2014 Jorge  
08 Jun 2014 Alexander  
06 Jun 2014 Yifan  
06 Jun 2014 Yifan  
06 Jun 2014 George

Exactly what I needed. It actually gave me an eureka experience in my work. Thank you so much.

06 Jun 2014 IRIN SAJAN


30 May 2014 Seyed F Yousefian

Awesome! This is exactly what I have been looking for.

24 May 2014 mitilma

great! this saves my day, thank you!

23 May 2014 Wang  
21 May 2014 Rashmil Dahanayake

Figured it out.
export_fig(fullfile(file_name),gcf, '-m2.5');

21 May 2014 Rashmil Dahanayake

I'm try to use this script to automatically plot all columns saved in an array. Say if I have a 3x2000 matrix, I want to plot 3 raw vectors and save plot_1.png, plot_2.png and plot_3 png. Can I pass a string variable export_fig.

% auto plotter
% real code begins here
for x=1:n;
taggy=sprintf('C=%d mF',x); % title
file_name= sprintf('plot_%d.png',x); % file name to be plot_x.png
plot(t, Y(1,:));title(taggy);
export_fig file_name -m2.5;close(gcf);

21 May 2014 yun  
19 May 2014 jACK bROUDY

export_fig Exports figures nicely to a number of vector & bitmap formats.

16 May 2014 Ahmed  
12 May 2014 Wesley Allen  
08 May 2014 dijkbgf


01 May 2014 Cecilia  
30 Apr 2014 fei YANG  
29 Apr 2014 FF Lee

I must say that this is the best MATLAB code I ever use. It works even on my old version (7.0.4 R14) MATLAB. Many thanks to the author. :)

29 Apr 2014 FF Lee  
29 Apr 2014 FF Lee  
28 Apr 2014 Erik

Finally a comprehensive figure exporting tool for MATLAB. I gratefully use it to create hi-res vectors from my figures, which is something that is not easily done in a useful fashion.

28 Apr 2014 Erik

Finally a comprehensive figure exporting tool for MATLAB. I gratefully use it to create hi-res vectors from my figures, which is something that is not easily done in a useful fashion.

24 Apr 2014 Oliver Woodford

I repeat, please email me bug reports rather than posting them here. Better still, fork the repository, fix the bug, and create a pull request.

Hassan: Your example worked as expected on my system.

Alvaro: Feel free to email me a minimal working example.

24 Apr 2014 Hassan Naseri

1. Thank you for the great tool which I use it for all my graphic exports.

2. A problem: If a plot contains an "impoint" or "impoly", or probably any of these interactive objects from image processing toolbox, the output of export_fig simply doesn't show them. The problem happens only when exporting an axes not the whole figure. I would very much appreciate any suggestion?

handle = subplot(1,2,1);
impoly(handle, [1 1; 2 2; 1 2])
export_fig('test.pdf', '-pdf', '-transparent', handle)

24 Apr 2014 Alvaro

Great tool, thanks for it !
I'm having the following error passing uipanel to export_fig
The name 'OuterPosition' is not an accessible property for an instance of class 'uipanel'. (im using matlab 8.1)

23 Apr 2014 Matt  
21 Apr 2014 Aidan  
18 Apr 2014 Quan  
09 Apr 2014 Samuel Macedo  
03 Apr 2014 Oliver Woodford

Jo: Many thanks for the bug report. However, I do ask (in the description above) that people email me bug reports, rather than post them here.

03 Apr 2014 Jo

First of all: great tool! I'm using it a lot.
Second: Matlab FileExchange Commenting is driving me nutts :-) (should've peeked into the previous comment)
Third: (main reason for my post) I encountered a tiny bug in the script, appearing as follows:
1. Create a figure
2. Create multiple axes inside
3. Draw imagesc in each axis
4. Disable axis labelling (axis off)
5. Draw e.g. a coloured rectangle in each image
=> The export will show the rectangle black in all but the first axis

Minimal example:

set(gcf,'Position',[0 0 1000 500]);
axes('position',[0.0 0.0 0.5 1]);
axis off
rectangle('position',[8 8 8 8],'EdgeColor','r','LineWidth',2);
axes('position',[0.5 0.0 0.5 1]);
axis off
rectangle('position',[8 8 8 8],'EdgeColor','r','LineWidth',2);
colormap gray

Best wishes and thanks in advance for any hints or clues!

03 Apr 2014 Jo

Arg, this commenting interface in FileExchange is driving me nutts... forgot to remove a .*m in both imagesc... sry for that :)

03 Apr 2014 Jo  
03 Apr 2014 Jo  
01 Apr 2014 Martin  
30 Mar 2014 Pooya89  
25 Mar 2014 Aaron True

Sorry for the multiple posts, apparently I can't rate it then comment without it automatically submitting my rating.
Anyways, love it so far, thank you!

I'm trying to resolve 2 odd issues. First, the negative signs on my axes tick labels show up as empty boxes when I open the pdf in Adobe Reader, which makes me think there is a missing font package etc. in my Adobe install; however, when I open the pdf in Ghostscript there is no symbol at all (minus sign or empty box), just the number on each axis tick. I'm using Adobe Reader XI which came installed on a new Dell PC (< 6 mos. old), and I just downloaded Ghostscript 9.10 today.

Second issue is that when I export as a png or tiff the code seems to shift text boxes around; i.e. my axis labels and an additional text box I added to the figure are in different locations than I explicitly set in the code and how they appear in the MATLAB figure (R2011a Student Version).

Any leads or similar issues? Thanks in advance.

24 Mar 2014 Aaron True  
23 Mar 2014 Jesper  
18 Mar 2014 maryam  
12 Mar 2014 She

Solve my problem puzzled me for a long time, because I can't print *.jpeg files as the figures, and I used to copy *.fig files to another Windows computer to finish printing wanted picutres.
When I get this function, Matlab under Linux is becoming more amazing!

Thank you very much!

06 Mar 2014 Sidath  
24 Feb 2014 Manuel  
18 Feb 2014 Robert McHugh  
13 Feb 2014 Austin

The output is beautiful, thank you very much for taking the time to make this.

10 Feb 2014 Sean  
03 Feb 2014 Chuntao Dan

Must-have for everyone! Superb figure quality! For Mac users, ghostscript can be installed as a component of the MacTeX-Additions package at

03 Feb 2014 Jamie Guggenheim  
03 Feb 2014 Alberto González Olmos  
01 Feb 2014 ANAND SARIT

pdftops.exe is not running on my system. i have a windows 8 operating system... someone please help..

23 Jan 2014 Lars

This is a great function!
After changing to another linux mint 15 (MATE) from Fedora 18 I get the error message bellow. Do anyone of you have an idea of how to fix it? I tried the fix of Jannik from June 26 2013 without any luck...

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
120 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval--
--nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop
--nostringval-- 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2
--nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868
5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1179/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:8/95(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 7052
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 406)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

23 Jan 2014 Lars  
20 Jan 2014 Joris Kampman

After having some troubles in Linux Matlab to create nice figures for Libreoffice, this tooling works perfectly!

thumbs up!

15 Jan 2014 Oliver Woodford

Jonne: There is no known issue with thick lines. For example,
>> plot(rand(3), 'LineWidth', 4);
>> export_fig test -png -pdf
works as expected on my PC.

15 Jan 2014 Jonne

Thank you for this function. I use it alot.

Currently I am trying to use it for an plot which contains line plots with 'LineWidth'> 2. The problem is that 'export_fig' won't export lines with fatter lines.

I am wondering if this is a known problem and if there are any solutions to that?

14 Jan 2014 Khoa Tran

I use this script in conjunction with your files to produce graph for journal paper. Excellent work, thank you!

%% Resize graph
w = 0.5;h = 0.5; % this is good for double column format
size=[0 0 w h];

%% Printing
[name, path] = uiputfile({'*.pdf','PDF';'*.eps','Vector based .eps';'*.jpg;*.tif;*.png;*.gif','All Image Files';'*.*','All Files' },'Save Image','/Users/Eric/Dropbox/Reports/');
export_fig(fullfile(path,name),f,'-a1',['-r',num2str(r)]);%, '-grey','-nocrop'

14 Jan 2014 Carl Esben Poulsen

Excellent work!

09 Jan 2014 Oliver Woodford

Edison: Set the figure width to 17.3cm, and set the output dpi using the -r300 option in the call to export_fig. If that figure is still too large for your screen, then halve the figure size and double the resolution. If you want the tiff width to say 17.3cm in this case then output the bitmap as an argument from export_fig, and save it yourself using imwrite (setting the 'Resolution' option to 300).

09 Jan 2014 Edison

An essential addition to MATLAB, they should include this as standard in future releases. Great.

One question: does export_fig always use the dimensions of the onscreen figure as a guide? For example, I want to export my figure as a TIFF at 300dpi, with a width of 17.3cm. This equates to an image 2049 pixels wide, and this will not fit on my screen. Thanks for the help.

02 Jan 2014 Emma

Thank you thank you thank you!!!

24 Dec 2013 Saulo Meirelles  
20 Dec 2013 Zielinski Christelle  
14 Dec 2013 Michael

Thank you for a great program. It perfectly reproduces complex 2D figures that I could not accurately reproduce using any other method.

12 Dec 2013 Ian  
11 Dec 2013 Remco Huizenga

First of all: many thanks for an amazing tool and all the work you have put in it. It is very much appreciated.

I do have, however, a small question:
I'm trying to export a plot of a uniform distribution between, say, a and b, to the .png format. This obviously means that the function is zero for values lower than a and higher than b. In that case, the function gets overlapped by the axis and is therefore not visible in the exported .png. It is in the MatLab figure. Am I missing something or is there a fix for this? Thanks in advance

10 Dec 2013 Jaap de Vries

I got it fixed, code works great!!
When I set the background transparent the part inside the graph remains white, while the sections outside the axis become transparent, any tips?



10 Dec 2013 Oliver Woodford

Jaap: sounds like you're shadowing MATLAB's print() with another function of the same name.

10 Dec 2013 Jaap de Vries


Error using print
Too many input arguments.

10 Dec 2013 Jaap de Vries

I am really looking forward to using this code but I keep getting the following error...

export_fig 'test.jpg'

Error in print2array (line 140)
print(fig, renderer, res_str, '-dtiff', tmp_nam);

Any help would be apreciated.

Regards, Jaap

07 Dec 2013 Junghwan  
01 Dec 2013 Werner

you just saved my thesis…

29 Nov 2013 pr  
24 Nov 2013 zhu


22 Nov 2013 LDELBENE

Amazing, but it does not work with transparent surf plots for eps or pdf files.

20 Nov 2013 Arttu Modig

Thanks a lot Johannes for the Mac OSX dylib fix!

19 Nov 2013 Zhiyong

High memory overhead.

19 Nov 2013 BERDIN  
29 Oct 2013 J.R.! Menzinger

A very useful tool, thanks.

28 Oct 2013 Agnethe  
24 Oct 2013 Johannes

Bugfix for Mac:

23 Oct 2013 none

Long time user of export_fig here. great function -- thanks!

New machine today. 64 bit Windows 8.1, MATLAB 2013B. Latest installation of Ghoscript (9.1) put onto the machine.

A problem occurs with the function ghostscript.m

On executing the code in this m file: check_gs_path(path) a zero is returned.

This causes the software to ask where the location of the ghostscript executable is -- i point it to the correct dir and it fails to find it.

Thus I have had to hard code in

path = 'C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.10\bin\gswin64c.exe';

before check_gs_path(path) is called, which works.

What's going on?


22 Oct 2013 Alexander

Many thanks. Before find this I was wasting so much time copying the images and then trimming

21 Oct 2013 Antoine Liutkus

great, did it whereas matlab could not =) thanks

16 Oct 2013 Bill

Hi, Oliver,
How can I use it to export .emf files? Is it possible ?

13 Oct 2013 Marco

I used export_fig in a GUI. Anyone who wishes to create a button that saves specific figures to specific locations on their PC, feel free to use the code below (where PLOTTAG is the plot's tag in plot properties):

[file,path] = uiputfile({'*.eps';'*.pdf';'*.png';'*.jpg'},'Save Figure As');

if file ~= 0
%Gets the size of the file name
%Deletes the file type from teh end of the file name and stores it
filetype(3) = file(filechar);
filetype(2) = file(filechar-1);
filetype(1) = file(filechar-2);
file(filechar) = [];
file(filechar-1) = [];
file(filechar-2) = [];
file(filechar-3) = [];

%Runs the export_fig command with the path and file name, along with the

%Message box
h = msgbox({'Done!';'';...
['The file ',file,'.',filetype,' can be found in:'];path},...
'Save Figure File','none','modal');
elseif isempty(file) == 0
h = msgbox('Not saved.',...
'Save Figure File','none','modal');

07 Oct 2013 Will Grant

I am using figures with contour lines, thus my figures are: axes > contourgroup > patch objects.

In my exported images, I was getting the axes with all text label objects but no lines.

I had to change line 97 in isolate_axes.m from allchild() to findall() as a fix. I don't know if this breaks anything but it shouldn't as findall just finds all objects lower in the hierarchy than the one passed in, which is the axes handle in this case. I was losing the patch objects that make up the figure as allchild() was only returning the objects at the first level under the axes.


06 Oct 2013 DQ Zhang


BTW, how to set the resolution?

02 Oct 2013 Dun Kirk

I got this warning using export_fig(axes_handle):

Warning: Callback for uicontrol of style radiobutton will be overwritten when added to a UIBUTTONGROUP.
Use the SelectionChangeFcn property on the button group instead.
In uitools.uibuttongroup.childAddedCbk at 12
In copyfig at 25
In isolate_axes at 52
In export_fig at 181

30 Sep 2013 Peter

Hi Oliver and all,

I used your script quite a lot to make png's. For some reason I get different output ratios, depending on the x and ylabel? (Which is driving me crazy...) I am not sure what I am doing wrong. The effect does not appear with the Matlab print function... but the png is as expected not as nice. Anyone an idea?

30 Sep 2013 Jack  
19 Sep 2013 Sebastian  
18 Sep 2013 Leah

Worked perfect! Very easy to use. Make sure you close the pdf file you are writing to or you will get a GS error.

17 Sep 2013 Oliver Woodford

Sanka: I suspect this has nothing to do with export_fig and everything to do with the software you're using to view the eps file.

Lennart: You can set the default background color for MATLAB figures, outside of export_fig. There is no 'transparent' option, but the help text does mention a '-transparent' option.

17 Sep 2013 Lennart

Great tool!
However, I wish to export to a pdf with a white background. Then I have to do 'set(gcf, 'Color', 'w');' every time. Is there a permanent setting or a parameter that can be set?
This does not seem to work: export_fig(fig_handle,'figure.pdf', 'transparent' )

17 Sep 2013 dong  
16 Sep 2013 Sanka

Hi Oliver,

Great file, really should come as standard with MATLAB! Just one issue I am having when exporting to .eps format. All text in the figure (axes numbers and legend text) are being outputted in bold. This is not the case for every other file format such as pdf or tiff, where the figure appears exactly as it does on screen. Any idea why this is happening specifically to eps??


12 Sep 2013 Fernando  
12 Sep 2013 James

I just started using this. I mostly only use HG2.
I get the following error when I try to run your example code for creating a .pdf, with HG2.

A = im2double(imread('peppers.png'));
B = randn(ceil(size(A, 1)/6), ceil(size(A, 2)/6), 3) * 0.1;
B = cat(3, kron(B(:,:,1), ones(6)), kron(B(:,:,2), ones(6)), kron(B(:,:,3), ones(6)));
B = A + B(1:size(A, 1),1:size(A, 2),:);
>> export_fig test.pdf
Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
Error: /undefined in bdef
Operand stack:
dom --nostringval--
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push
--nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1932 1 3
%oparray_pop 1931 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop 1803 1 3 %oparray_pop
--nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
%stopped_push --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1190/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:77/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 64
GPL Ghostscript 9.10: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

Error in export_fig (line 431)
eps2pdf(tmp_nam, pdf_nam, 1, options.append, options.colourspace==2, options.quality);

I do not get this error when I am not using HG2, but it would take awhile for me to convert everything back from HG2. Do you have any ideas how to fix the problem?

(Note, laprint also doesn't seem to work with HG2. So, this could be a problem with HG2 and not have anything to do with your files.)

09 Sep 2013 Oliver Woodford

David: The grid lines are the width specified (by setting the axes line width), but the segments are shorter (there's no option to change this). Try using thicker grid lines.

09 Sep 2013 David

Excellent work, many thanks! Question though, I'm finding that when printing, the only objects not reproduced "as shown" are the gridlines. The output gridlines are much fainter and barely visible. Any way to address this? Thanks!

09 Sep 2013 Manuel  
08 Sep 2013 Mikolaj Magnuski  
07 Sep 2013 Mikolaj Magnuski

max, does it work if you try:



05 Sep 2013 max


I have just downloaded your code and it seems to be receiving great reviews. I can't seem to get it to work though... All i want to do is to save a figure window to my desktop.

I have a figure that is displaying an image. How would I use export_fig to save this figure under the name 'test' in png format?

This is what I am seeing: (H is set to be the figure handle)

Error using print
Too many input arguments.

Error in print2array (line 140)
print(fig, renderer, res_str, '-dtiff', tmp_nam);

Error in export_fig (line 334)
[A, tcol] = print2array(fig, magnify, renderer);

30 Aug 2013 Jeff

Awesome work!! It is so much better than the Matlab default export system. Thank you very much for creating this great function for us.

23 Aug 2013 Kirsten  
23 Aug 2013 Ozan Oguz

Following two comments are mine.

I said I am using "uicomponent" for my GUI.

Actually, I am using " "GUI Layout Toolbox".

I am sorry for the misinforming.

23 Aug 2013 Ozan Oguz

I realised something:

I am using "uicomponent" for my GUI.
After giving "print" command (export_fig),my GUI changes.

What changes exactly?

1) All "uiextras.Empty" objects seem to vanish.

2) Legend in the axes becomes uneditable.

For now, this is what I observed.

21 Aug 2013 Ozan Oguz

This seems to be a great app, thx!

I have a question/problem:

I designed a GUI using uicomponent.m from file exchange. Left part is for controls, right part is for axes.

When I try to export the image of this axes, two different things happen for bitmap and vector formats. 1) For pdf, it gives me only the axes, and this is what I want, but 2) For png or jpg, it also gives me the empty area behind the control buttons on the left side of the axes.

I want a bitmap image with only the axes. Nothing more.

Can you help me, please, Oliver?

18 Aug 2013 WurmD

Hi Oliver,
Let me add my voiceto the chorus: "Fantastic work!" :)

Now, I notice one thing you change is the grid lines to "- Improved line and grid line styles"
Which in my plot have been "No grid lines"

It would be nice to have the option of keeping the grid lines as shown, and keep your "Improved line and grid lines" as default

I looked into the code but couldn't figure where you're not adding the grid lines to the pdf

Will you create such an option (keep grid lines)? Will you tell me how?


15 Aug 2013 Isabella Osetinsky

Wonderful performance with fast help from Oliver as if online talk! Save memory and run-time with '-a1' option while keeping quality as plotted, applying it as follows:

15 Aug 2013 Oliver Woodford

Tim: You're missing the -nocrop option.

14 Aug 2013 Tim Garrett

Terrific function, but I am unclear on one thing. I wish to create a little booklet of figures where the page size and axis locations are precisely defined. e.g.
h = figure;
set(h,'units','inches','position',[0 0 8.5 11]);

set(gca,'Position',[0.2, 0.2, 0.6, 0.6];

Using 'print', my printed figure is placed exactly where I want within the page I want (albeit with stupid matlab problems). With 'export_fig' however, the output is *only* of the figure. The figure is not within a page.

What am I missing?


14 Aug 2013 Edgar Kraft  
12 Aug 2013 Ivo

finally... Fantastic, thanks!

06 Aug 2013 Alex R.

Great package. You can safely detect Ghostscript under Windows by reading the registry key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Artifex\GPL Ghostscript" (if 64bit) or "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Artifex\GPL Ghostscript" (if 32bit).

Use Matlab's winqueryreg() function or execute "reg" via system() to read the Windows registry.

Keep up the good work!

06 Aug 2013 Yuanwei

Great tool. Exactly what I am looking for.

Q: when I export 1080p pic, it gives me a 1921x1081 pic in the saved jpeg. Any thought? Thanks

06 Aug 2013 Koen

powerful and easy to use. Png output is fine for transparent patches if you set the resolution at a decent level.

25 Jul 2013 Tomasz  
25 Jul 2013 Andrew Bazyk  
23 Jul 2013 Ali Abolfathi  
11 Jul 2013 George

Dear Oliver,
thank you for this helpful function. In general, it workds fine. But when there are more than one font types are not in the matlab_fonts list, the function will give error :
Error in print2eps (line 97)
font_swap{3,a} = fonts{font_swap{1,end}(1)};

it seems that the equation should be:
font_swap{3,a} = fonts{font_swap{1,a}(1)};

BTW, do you know how to use font types which are not in matlab_fonts list, e.x. Garamond, Palatino Linotype?

thank you.

08 Jul 2013 Oliver Woodford

Igor: You cannot specify the screen resolution in a call to export_fig. However, you can specify your figure size in units that are independent of pixel pitch, such as 'cm'. I suggest you try that.

08 Jul 2013 Igor

Great script.
A question: how can I specify screen resolution while saving figure as .eps?
At the moment, the use of print2eps for the same figure gives different results (different scales) on computers with different screen resolutions (Matlab 2012a x64, Win7 x64 on both of them).
Thank you for your help.

03 Jul 2013 luke  
03 Jul 2013 Shicai Yang  
27 Jun 2013 Sam

Jannik fix works for the Issue I had (reported on 18 Jun 2013) using ubuntu 13.04 running Matlab R2012b.

Thanks Jannik. Really helped me out.

26 Jun 2013 Jannik

I also get a ghostscript error:

Error: /undefined in --definefont--
Operand stack:
mwa_cmmi10 --dict:11/20(L)-- Font definefont --dict:30/32(L)-- unknownerror
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
%stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1
%stopped_push 1900 1 3 %oparray_pop 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
1883 1 3 %oparray_pop 1771 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
%errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2
%stopped_push --nostringval-- 1762 2 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 1850 2 4 %oparray_pop --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1173/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Last OS error: No such file or directory
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

when using export_fig with Matlab 2013a and ArchLinux.
I solved this issue by clearing the LD_LIBRARY_PATH enviroment variable before executing gs by replacing

system(sprintf('"%s" %s', gs_path, cmd));


system(sprintf('export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=""; "%s" %s', gs_path, cmd));

in the ghostscript.m file. Maybe this will help in case of other ghostscript issues as well.

24 Jun 2013 Sanka

Brilliant script. Some much time is saved by avoiding the post-processing I used to do to get publication quality figures/images.

18 Jun 2013 Sam

Great script but I updated my linux machine and now I am getting the following error. Any Ideas??

Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
120 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3 %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868 5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1180/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:9/85(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 10662
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1
Error using imread (line 368)
File "/tmp/tp0ad5cd83_0088_4c9e_9aa1_d189edc9c4ea.tif" does not exist.

Error in print2array (line 95)
A = imread(tmp_nam);

Error in export_fig (line 327)
[A tcol] = print2array(fig, magnify, renderer);

14 Jun 2013 Oliver Woodford

Nicky: That's difficult to fix in export_fig. However, a workaround is to draw the grid lines or the axis bounding box manually to be able to get the desired ordering.

14 Jun 2013 Nicky

I want to export a figure to a .png and I want my linetypes and gridlines to be scaled correctly, so I've got to use the 'painters' renderer. The axis border ('box') is exported under the plot which means it gets covered by the plotted points. This does not happen with the default renderer.
If I change the axes layer to 'top' then the border comes to the top but so do the gridlines. Is there a way of having only the axes border at the top but not the gridlines?

Thanks for the script Oliver... been using it for a long time now and it fills a big gap in MATLAB.

13 Jun 2013 xg

Very useful

13 Jun 2013 Oliver Woodford

m_user: You can export a particular axes in a figure just by passing in a handle, but there is no support for rendering just part of an axes - I do not intend to implement this either. I suggest you use the newsgroup or Answers to find out the many other ways in which you might achieve what you want.

12 Jun 2013 m_user

Hi Oliver, "short" question: I built a GUI with a handles.axes in which a greyscale image is in the background and a colored, semitransparent image is in the foreground. Now I want to save this overlayed image but I have no variable which "points" to that overlay (so I can't write export_fig Test.fig). Is there another way (e.g. write export_fig gca..) to reference on the handles.axes? thanks in advance..

09 Jun 2013 Anthi

Thanks Oliver.i am a beginner at programming.your function is great.

07 Jun 2013 Oliver Woodford

Derek: The current version fixes this.

Anthi: In the example export_fig('C:/Users/Me/Documents/figures/myfig'), "myfig" IS the name.

07 Jun 2013 Derek

After upgrading to 2013a, I get an error when using export_fig to save a .png with a transparent background. It works fine in 2012a. Perhaps Matlab changed something about writepng in 2013a? Has anyone found a work around for this? Is there an updated version of export_fig that can save a .png with a transparent background in 2013a?

export_fig CouplingEfficiency.png -transparent -native
Error using writepng (line 78)
Argument 'alpha' failed validation with error:
Expected input to be one of these types:

double, uint8, uint16

Instead its type was single.

Error in imwrite (line 473)
feval(fmt_s.write, data, map, filename, paramPairs{:});

Error in export_fig (line 281)
imwrite(A, [ '.png'], 'Alpha', alpha, 'ResolutionUnit', 'meter', 'XResolution',
res, 'YResolution', res);

04 Jun 2013 Andriy Nych  
04 Jun 2013 Daniela Soto  
03 Jun 2013 Anthi

Great functions!Thanks Oliver.
i have a question.How can i export to a specific directory with a specific name?

For a name :
>> export_fig Alex

For a directory:


but how can i combine them?
Thanks a lot in advance

30 May 2013 Ian  
30 May 2013 kamel  
22 May 2013 François

Awesome script! Works perfectly under Windows, but I have trouble to make it work with my Linux installation.
Here is the error returned:

Error using eps2pdf (line 107)
gs: /usr/local/share/matlab/R2013a/bin/glnxa64/ no version information available (required by /usr/lib/
Error: /undefined in /findfont
Operand stack:
96 Helvetica ISOLatin1Encoding Helvetica Helvetica
Execution stack:
%interp_exit .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- false 1 %stopped_push 1916 1 3 %oparray_pop 1915 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- 1899 1 3
%oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop --nostringval-- %errorexec_pop .runexec2 --nostringval-- --nostringval--
--nostringval-- 2 %stopped_push --nostringval-- --nostringval-- --nostringval-- 1868 5 5 %oparray_pop
Dictionary stack:
--dict:1179/1684(ro)(G)-- --dict:0/20(G)-- --dict:82/200(L)-- --dict:97/160(L)-- --dict:8/89(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 7119
GPL Ghostscript 9.07: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

What is happening?

16 May 2013 Iman Ansari  
11 May 2013 Oliver Woodford

arnold: I didn't. Please don't take my suggestion the wrong way :). Try ConvertPlot4Publication.

10 May 2013 arnold

Please don't get it the wrong way :)
I'll create a script of my own combining it with 'fig' for instance.
I only meant well, your script is great as it is ;)

10 May 2013 Oliver Woodford

arnold: The goal of export_fig is to export what is on screen. By all means write a script that makes your figure the right size, have the correct line widths, fonts, etc., then calls export_fig with the correct resolution. Or use one of the several submissions that already do this.

10 May 2013 arnold

I've got another proposition: rescale figure

To make 'export_fig' even more useful for publications it'd be awesome if you added the possibility to rescale the figure to a certain size.

export_fig 'test.png' -w5 -h4 -r300

This would set the width to 5" and the height to 4" and then export at 300dpi.
For us non-americans it'd be great if you added size in metric units [cm] as well.

export_fig 'test.png' -wm5 -hm4 -r300

would then set the width to 5cm etc.

08 May 2013 Falko Schindler  
07 May 2013 Siyi Deng

IMO this should be built in into matlab releases.

04 May 2013 Iman Ansari  
02 May 2013 Mingyao

Hello Oliver, I have noticed that cropping does not always happen for a figure with an array of, say, 5 by 5 subplots. It leaves the margins on the left, top, and right sides of a figure as they are while cropping out the bottom margin. How should I address this? Thanks a lot!

19 Apr 2013 Greg

Great set of functions! May I propose an improvement of "eps2pdf" ?
I had to add this at line 54 (after crop cmd) in order to modify the final pdf orientation:

options = [options ' -dEPSCrop -c "<</Orientation 3>> setpagedevice"'];

Maybe the orientation could be given as an input argument?

For information:
* -c "<</Orientation 3>> setpagedevice" -- sets landscape orientation;
* -c "<</Orientation 0>> setpagedevice" -- sets portrait orientation;
* -c "<</Orientation 2>> setpagedevice" -- sets upside down orientation;
* -c "<</Orientation 1>> setpagedevice" -- sets seascape orientation.

19 Apr 2013 Greg  
19 Apr 2013 Greg  
12 Apr 2013 arnold

latex formulas are distorted/upscaled and displayed incorrectly, but they appear right in the actual figure.

text(xpos,ypos,'$$\frac{\alpha}{\sqrt{2}}\cdot', num2str(1e5),'s$$','HorizontalAlignment', 'left', 'BackgroundColor', [.7 .9 .7], 'interpreter','latex');
it looks right in the figure yet, when export_fig is used, the output image (of whatever kind) shows:

- latex formula is scaled up = bigger
- background of formula doesn't fir anymore (because it's not scaled)
- latex formula is buggy, the '2' is upscaled, yet the square root is not

Maybe you can get around to implementing this as well. Makes it a bit useless for me since I usually have to have formulas in my legends or annotations.

10 Apr 2013 Oliver Woodford

Michael: Note that export_fig does not transparency in patch objects in vector formats. Only a transparent background is supported.

10 Apr 2013 Michael

I would love to use this tool to export vectorized eps with transparency, unfortunately I am running a Mac and I seem to require pdftops. I get this error message: "Pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from"

The link suggested is dead unfortunately, and after long google searches I found no alternative. Does somebody know a link that works?

10 Apr 2013 Wouter

Use this submission daily. Should be incorporated in Matlab!

28 Mar 2013 yuhua zou

Great! It provides what I need!

15 Mar 2013 Viktar Tatsiankou  
14 Mar 2013 arnold

nice job!

Do you think you could add the ability to change all fonts in the figure to a certain one? Would be really useful when exporting figures for publications that use a certain font, to keep a consistent look.

13 Mar 2013 arnold  
09 Mar 2013 Laura

Sorry. my fault. problem solver. Export_fig working perfectly:)

08 Mar 2013 Laura

Very nice tool! However I am having a problem that couldn't solve so far...and it is driving me a bit crazy. Export_fig is changing the sizing of my figures so that the aspect ratio is altered! Could someone tell me why or how to avoid it? I need to print it exactly with the size it is defined,


02 Mar 2013 Wouter  
25 Feb 2013 LY Cao

great work!
but I found something wrong:
and the axes in 1.png is empty.
the matlab function allchild can't find the children of a handle whose type is 'hggroup'(e.g. scatter hggroup).
I modified the allchildren function in isolate_axes.m:
function ah = allchildren(ah)
ah = allchild(ah);
if iscell(ah)
ah = cell2mat(ah);
ah = ah(:);
for i = 1:numel(ah)
if strcmp(get(ah(i),'type'),'hggroup')
t =allchildren(ah(i));
ah(end+1:end+numel(t)) = t;
and it worked.

25 Feb 2013 Sauro Salomoni  
23 Feb 2013 David Verrelli

Hi, Oliver,
I had played around with the relevant commands to copy figures as high-resolution bitmaps, using the undocumented "hardcopy" function suggested by TMW staff
e.g. hardcopy(hF_StatsAVI, '-Dopengl', '-r100')
In comparison, your function is more convenient to use, and much better documented.

I am using it to save out PNG files with either whigte or transparent figure background. However, I was baffled when running the same commands which had been succesful previously began outputting images with black backgrounds, despite my setting
set(gcf, 'color','white');
The problem seems to be that it is necessary to _manually_ select "Use figure color" in the "Copy Options" dialogue box, under "Edit" from the figure's menu bar.
I would normally want to produce a metafile with "Transparent background" when _copying_ the figure, except for some recalcitrant plots; hence, I don't usually have "Use figure color" selected.
I thought it might be possible to toggle this programatically, but the command
set(gcf, 'InvertHardCopy', 'off');
was not effective.

Anyway, these issues seem to point to flaws in MATLAB, rather than in your code.


By the way
set(gcf, 'color','none');
is generates this message:
"Warning: Setting the ColorSpec to 'none' for a figure will not be allowed in a future release."
It still works at the moment, and personally I would rather it continued to work. I hope it is replaced by an alternative, and not just removed.


18 Feb 2013 Max

In case anyone cares: solved my problem by writing '\circ' instead of '°'. Exports fine now :)

14 Feb 2013 Max

I like and use this a lot, thanks for the submission!
However, the degree symbol (°), which is part of the axis label on one of my plots, does not appear in the vectorized PDF. Is this a known issue? Are there any suggestions on how to deal with it?
Found a similar issue here:
Maybe they are related...

11 Feb 2013 Ali Hummos


10 Feb 2013 Arindam Bose  
08 Feb 2013 Max  
04 Feb 2013 Dmytro

Great thing, absolutely musthave! Use it a lot.

I would also like to report a minor, although sometimes very annoying, bag:
when used with zbuffer, anti-aliasing does not work well with LaTeX text, corrupting it and changing its size and shape. To see this, try to export some figure with both 3D-surfaces and some LaTeX-rendered labels ("export test.tiff -a2 -zbuffer;"). It would be great if this can be fixed!

28 Jan 2013 Damjan Miklic

Great piece of software. A must-have for scientific publishing!

28 Jan 2013 guo

thx very much. very useful and enlightening!

18 Jan 2013 Yan Jiang

A must have for scientific researchers!

09 Jan 2013 Salman Mashayekh  
05 Jan 2013 Christian

export_fig did exactly what I needed.

I had to change the file user_string.m though, because it failed to write the settings. MATLAB said "error: Error using ==> fwrite: Invalid precision.", so I replaced fwrite with fprintf.

The correction can be found here.

20 Dec 2012 Tobias Lamour


if you read all the description above you will discover the following lines towards the end:
"Usage examples can be found at:”

If you follow Oliver’s link with the examples you will find towards the end of the page the example below, which exactly provides what you would like to do:

Variable file names:

for a = 1:5
plot(rand(5, 2));
export_fig(sprintf('plot%d.png', a));

Good luck!

19 Dec 2012 Oubeidillah

Thanks for sharing this useful program.
A quick question:
I am saving multiple figures with different name in for loop. Is it possible to use a name that is dynamically created depending on the value of the loop iteration like ['name' int2str(i)] -jpg ?



12 Dec 2012 Ratish Punnoose

Oliver, you are possibly correct. I may have made the change in an earlier version to let my cygwin install work with it (and then forgotten about it). Thanks for incorporating the change. That will make it work well with cygwin.

12 Dec 2012 Oliver Woodford

Ratish: The code was never previously as you say it was. However, I will implement the change you suggest.

michael: It's currently unsupported. I'll look into implementing it.

08 Dec 2012 michael

Really nice function, nice job !!

I'm trying to export an uipanel which contains multiples plots/ axes. Your function can only pass handle or axes. Is there any way to pass a uipanel ?



07 Dec 2012 Bahaa  
26 Nov 2012 Ratish Punnoose

Latest version (Nov 5 2012) breaks usage of ghostscript in cygwin.

In ghostscript.m, the following line
if ispc
bin = {'gswin32c.exe','gswin64c.exe', 'gs'};
else ...

got changed to
if ispc
bin = 'gswin32c.exe','gswin64c.exe'};
else ...

That stopped export_fig from being able to use the ghostscript packaged with cygwin on windows.
Restoring 'gs' to the array fixes this.

26 Nov 2012 University Dschang

Hi, i would like to read a grd file of gridgen software using matlab.Thanks!

21 Nov 2012 Jonathan  
20 Nov 2012 Anoosha papireddy  
13 Nov 2012 zhr

2Aleg: try to use
orient portrait
before export_fig. It helps for me but I can't test your code now.

13 Nov 2012 Oliver Woodford

Aleg: The second sentence of the file description reads "Figure/axes reproduced as it appears on screen". Also there is no mention of a 'PaperOrientation' option in the ample help text.

13 Nov 2012 Aleg

I try to create a pdf file with a figure and it always creates file landscape orientation. No matter what parameters I put in place. Code example:

figure('PaperSize',[20.98404194812 29.67743169791]);
set(gcf, 'Color', 'w');
export_fig ('PaperOrientation','portrait','test.pdf')

Does any one know how to define paper orientation for pdfs in export_fig?


09 Nov 2012 Cesar

For some reason, explicitly specifying the -r150 option fixed the issue. However since export_fig does not pass the -r argument when generating an eps file, I modified it by adding code around line 401 as follows:
p2eArgs = {renderer};
if options.magnify ~= 1
p2eArgs = [p2eArgs {['-r',num2str(options.magnify*get(0, 'ScreenPixelsPerInch'))]}];

Of course this fixed only my issue and probably needs to be verified.

This is strange since "print" uses -r150 by default according to the documentation.

Thanks for the great script!

08 Nov 2012 Cesar

Great work!!
Just one issue.
I am also using addTopXAxis.m (File ID: #9046) to add a second x axis with a label on top of the plot.
When I use your script to save to a PDF file, the second x label is not printed.
Any hints as to why this is happening and how to to correct it?

Thanks for your great script.

06 Nov 2012 Long Nguyen  
02 Nov 2012 Nitin  
25 Oct 2012 Alan Chen  
25 Oct 2012 masiat

YEAH! Best submission ever on the fileexchange! It made my day and saved me from jumping off a bridge while trying to finish my phd thesis!
This seems to be the *only* way to export figures in a reasonable resolution without *very strange* gridlines. The author did an excellent work which the people on mathwork have somehow missed over many years!

22 Oct 2012 Cahaya  
17 Oct 2012 Michael Steinbock

Indispensible tool!! I do have one issue with saving vector figures that have overlaid lines. The white lines turn a dark blue when I save to pdf or eps (but not png). The code below demonstrates:

hold on
plot(1:128, 1:128, '-w', 'linewidth', 2)
hold off
export_fig('-painters', '-r600', '-q101', 'test.pdf')

16 Oct 2012 Juan Cardelino  
16 Oct 2012 Malcolm Hudson  
13 Oct 2012 John

Great script, thanks for your work!

05 Oct 2012 Koen

A wonderful file. This is so much better than the native matlab functions! Now I can finally print figures for publications without a whole lot of re-editing and tweaking to make them look just right.

03 Oct 2012 Olivier  
29 Sep 2012 Karl  
26 Sep 2012 twimmeh  
24 Sep 2012 dbdq

Thanks to this utility, now I can export my images on background with native resolution! Thanks a lot!

24 Sep 2012 dbdq

Thanks to this utility, now I can export my images on background with native resolution! Thanks a lot!

18 Sep 2012 Kami  
18 Sep 2012 Kami  
16 Sep 2012 Laurent  
12 Sep 2012 Sam Johnson

This function is a life saver. I now use it for every publication ready figure as the output is exactly as I see it in MATLAB and sometimes even better!

Thank you.

10 Sep 2012 James Gwilliam

Is there a way to include a URL in a PDF file from export_fig that will work as an active hyperlink in the resulting PDF file?

07 Sep 2012 Rodolphe

Great Job and great function. !
Is there a way to export in pdf/eps with the -transparent option but without the painters renderer?

27 Aug 2012 Will Fonseca

Found the solution of my question ans extra help in:

27 Aug 2012 Michal Ficek

Good job! Something that finaly works as I expected. Thanks!

10 Aug 2012 Will Fonseca

This package is perfect for exporting figures.
However, I have one issue.
How can I export several pictures ?
Because whatever I put after "export_fig" will turn into a string, so I cannot include a name that increases with one variable.

Can anyone point me a solution ?

Thank you very much.

10 Aug 2012 Will Fonseca  
08 Aug 2012 David Wang

I found the pdf figures (4-panel pcolor plots) that export_fig creates on a linux box are rendered very slowly in Preview on my macbook pro (mac os x snow leopard). Does anyone encounter a similar issue? I wonder what's the cause of the problem. The pdf figures are not particularly large (about 5 MB each). Thanks.

08 Aug 2012 Sandrine  
01 Aug 2012 Ratan  
24 Jul 2012 Todd Karin

Hello Oliver,

I have an image that is 40 x 40 pixels. In the matlab figure window, the pixels are crisply separated from one another, but I can't get your code to export a pdf with the pixels cleanly separate. Do you have any suggestions for how to save the figure exactly as it is in the matlab figure window? To see what I mean, try:


23 Jul 2012 Jessica Lam  
22 Jul 2012 Ileana

Thanks! great work

18 Jul 2012 JR King

Impressively efficient.
However, it doesn't export changes of line width for transparent patches, even in png.


18 Jul 2012 Ryan

Well done - robust, continually updated and works great!

16 Jul 2012 Oliver Woodford

Pavel: set the figure size to the size of output you want, e.g. 3x4 inches. Then specify the output resolution you want in the call to export_fig. Simple.

15 Jul 2012 Pavel

I see that the pixel size or size in inches of the produced question has been a subject of discussion. What's the status as of 7/2012? I find that no matter what I try, my PNG comes out the same size (in inches). Then, if I scale it down afterwards, line art and text get affected.

The desired behavior for me is as follows: I get to specify the size (e.g. 3"x4") and the resolution (e.g. 200 dpi). The text size is adjusted so that, proportionally, it looks the same as in the figure. Same for the thickness of line art. However, the higher the resolution, the higher the quality of lines (by affecting the aliasing, I suppose).

Is this achievable? I'm willing to go into the code and modify it.

Thank you for this great script.

15 Jul 2012 Pavel

I see that the pixel size or size in inches of the produced question has been a subject of discussion. What's the status as of 7/2012? I find that no matter what I try, my PNG comes out the same size (in inches). Then, if I scale it down afterwards, line art and text get affected.

The desired behavior for me is as follows: I get to specify the size (e.g. 3"x4") and the resolution (e.g. 200 dpi). The text size is adjusted so that, proportionally, it looks the same as in the figure. Same for the thickness of line art. However, the higher the resolution, the higher the quality of lines (by affecting the aliasing, I suppose).

Is this achievable? I'm willing to go into the code and modify it.

Thank you for this great script.

14 Jul 2012 Alexander Farley

Works as expected first try.

13 Jul 2012 Fabio Gori

Very helpful! But it didn't crop properly when my ylabel was longer than they y axis.

05 Jul 2012 Jeff Evans

Fantastic. I've been using this for several years, and it works perfectly. What you see on the screen is what you get in your exported figure.

Why Mathworks can't develop and implement something that works this well is a mystery to me. I guess as long as you'll do it for free, they don't have to...

Many Thanks

03 Jul 2012 rito

very helpful set of codes! Super well documentation and ease of use. Thanks.

21 Jun 2012 Kevin Moerman

I've a semi-transparent surface (triangulated patch data and the renderer is opengl) with curves on it (plot3 lines). When I use:
to create the figure the lines get thinner with respect to the image content as a function of the resolution. Increasing line width does not seem to have an effect. Is there a way to fix/set line thickness?


20 Jun 2012 Javier


when I save a figure in png a gray border appears, how can I avoid this?

Thank you

15 Jun 2012 Mathieu

Best package out there to save vector graphics. Highly recommended!

31 May 2012 Hamidreza Nourzadeh  
24 May 2012 Zhiyong

Was having trouble saving figures in high resolution, since there seem to be no inbuilt functions that allow this. This user-created function was great. I have an enquiry on the '-native' option of export_fig. Seems like one must specify the desired high resolution himself.

22 May 2012 Haonan Chen

good job

08 May 2012 Hin Kwan Wong  
08 May 2012 Hin Kwan Wong

Thanks, works great. I've tried mat2pgf, mat2tikz, fig2texps, mlf2pdf, none worked with a complex figure I have. This works perfect.

07 May 2012 Antoine C

Thanks a lot for sharing that powerfull founction.

03 May 2012 b


This is the first time off exchange I am trying to use.
I have copied the zip content into my current folder. It still prompts that it cannot find the functions. Even after again adding the path, it cannot find pdftops even though I see it in the directory.

As I need transparency, I cannot use painters or zbuffer. Should I expect quality improvement with this set of tools then?

In the meantime, how do I save a pdf of the figure only and not a page?


25 Apr 2012 John

I am wondering if anyone has found a good technique for using export_fig to automatically paste figures into a word document. i use save2word often, but haven't figured out how to link the two up. Also, I must be doing something wrong with the resolution, so if anyone has a good example of how to get good resolution (for a .PNG maybe?) I would appreciate the advice.

22 Apr 2012 b


This is the first time off exchange I am trying to use.
I have copied the zip content into my current folder. It still prompts that it cannot find the functions. Even after again adding the path, it cannot find pdftops even though I see it in the directory.

As I need transparency, I cannot use painters or zbuffer. Should I expect quality improvement with this set of tools then?

In the meantime, how do I save a pdf of the figure only and not a page?


10 Apr 2012 Oliver Woodford

none: Currently fontnames are case sensitive. Use 'Symbol'.

09 Apr 2012 none

hi oliver.

great bit of code. I have been using it for years.

I think I may have just found a bug though:

I am running MATLAB 2010B on win7 (64bit).

if you run:

T = 2048;
set(gca, 'YTick', [-1 0 1])
str2={'-p' ' 0' '+p'};
export_fig('D:\test', '-PDF');

you see that export_fig "unconverts" the symbol back to plain text and exports it as plain text.

can you comment on this?

I have also posted on the matlab site so others can see too.

best wishes

08 Apr 2012 Scott

Handy! One suggestion: if the output directory doesn't exist, offer to make it. I expected this because it already makes directories for the different file types.

04 Apr 2012 sam p

Great job.!!

29 Mar 2012 John Reinert Nash  
28 Mar 2012 Estee  
28 Mar 2012 Estee

For a long time I've been frustrated that saving .fig's will result in (for some reason) 3D sized images that are not the same size as the original image! This function is awesome, thanks!

20 Mar 2012 Andrey  
18 Mar 2012 Bosheng

I like the transparency!!

09 Mar 2012 Yuri K

Thanks, Oliver. I've solved the problem by using colors from colormap. Thanks for surely the best submission. (Just found that I haven't rate it yet.)

08 Mar 2012 Oliver Woodford

Yuri: Please, this is not the place for bug reports; see my comments on emailing me directly. I have added a note on this issue to the export_fig web page (link at the top).

08 Mar 2012 Yuri K

Oliver, I have a problem exporting bar-plot to PDF if I set the FaceVertexCData property. The output has no plot, only empty axes.

Here is a code example:
hx = bar(rand(10,1),'hist');
fvcd = zeros(10,3) + 0;
fvcd(1:5,:) = 0.5;
set(hx,'EdgeColor','none','FaceColor','flat','FaceVertexCData', fvcd)
export_fig test -pdf

06 Mar 2012 Jaroslaw Tuszynski

Very useful function. i found it especially useful for creating images for PowerPoint presentations which were small enough to be send by email.

05 Mar 2012 Blake Richards  
04 Mar 2012 Umberto

Wow, this is incredible! Finally the long and arduous journey of finding a function that prints cropped vector quality figures is complete. I would give it 6 stars if I could. Cannot thank you enough man. Fantastic work, much appreciated.

01 Mar 2012 Bijesh

thanks a lot!

25 Feb 2012 Igor  
25 Feb 2012 Kiron

Great work!

24 Feb 2012 Chad Greene

Excellent. This has worked wonders for my PowerPoint presentations.

18 Feb 2012 Wonsang You  
14 Feb 2012 Jinwei Gu  
09 Feb 2012 Kevin Moerman

I've tested this for some patch graphics and pdf export. If I just use: export_fig test.pdf, Then for intersecting patch objects (without transparency)it sometimes places the wrong patch objects in front.

Other than that very nice.

03 Feb 2012 Giorgio  
27 Jan 2012 Ken Campbell

Oliver was extremely helpful when I contacted him with a question. His page
also provides many helpful tips.

27 Jan 2012 Oliver Woodford

alexancer: Yes. I don't recommend exporting large patch-based objects to EPS. Better to create a resterized version (e.g. export to PNG) then embed in an EPS file using an external application.

27 Jan 2012 alexancer

One problem is when I export eps file from a surface graph from thousands of data points. The size the exported file is very large, almost 40MB for each.

26 Jan 2012 sunil anandatheertha

wowwww...! Thanks a lot for this great share. Still a beginner here,, :),, and your codes are giving me a lot to learn.

Extremely useful.. Am sharing the links with frnds.. B)

19 Jan 2012 Oliver Woodford

Kemal: MATLAB cannot save transparency using the painters algorithm, so transparency in eps cannot be supported in export_fig either. You can save vector graphics with transparency by exporting to svg (, then convert to eps using an external program.

As for the bug, if you want me to look into it please follow my many requests and contact me directly.

19 Jan 2012 Kemal

Needless to say the Matlab functions don't work.

19 Jan 2012 Kemal

There are problems when exporting figures containing two transparent patches (using patch.m and setting 'facealpha' 0.7).

export_fig 'filename.png' -transparent

this results in a correct png-figure, however I need a higher resolution picture than the default. Using the following command

export_fig 'filename.png' -transparent -m2

the picture gets screwed up: weird misalignments in the upper half of the figure.
Is there a fix for this problem? Exporting a figure with transparent patches to png in high quality (if it would work for eps as well I'd be thrilled).


18 Jan 2012 Zoe Zhang  
17 Jan 2012 Petteri T  
12 Jan 2012 Darren Price

Why on earth is this not part of matlab as default? Sort it out Mathworks people need this type of thing!

12 Jan 2012 Ingo  
01 Jan 2012 Ioannis Filippidis

Works perfectly, thanks! Very powerful in combination with LaTeX annotated axes, title and legend, with export to PDF for use in XeTeX. More direct than other methods (e.g. laprint, PStricks, METAPOST, TikZ exports).

26 Dec 2011 Renwen Lin

v good!

23 Dec 2011 Xin

Very useful package to export beautiful figures.

20 Dec 2011 Nathan Tomlin  
09 Dec 2011 Sebastien PARIS  
08 Dec 2011 Ankur Pawar

Very useful function.

07 Dec 2011 Chris

This is great.

Does anyone know how I can add bookmarks to a multi-page pdf file?


07 Dec 2011 Rene

You are one of my favourite persons now. THANK YOU!!

07 Dec 2011 Rene  
06 Dec 2011 John Colby

This is my favorite FileExchange submission. Period. I've been using it for over a year, and can't imagine going back to the old way. Thanks, Oliver!

29 Nov 2011 owr  
27 Nov 2011 Daniel

Hey Oliver,
thanks for that impressive tool. One problem/question:
I got a square axes in a 16:10 figure. Although I use
set(gcf, 'InvertHardcopy', 'off', 'Color', 'black')
the figure background (not axes bg) and legend texts are getting inverted (also with print()). Is there any way to prevent that? I also used -transparent, but without success.

Thanks, Daniel

24 Nov 2011 Anuj  
14 Nov 2011 pietro

This function is really great, but the eps quality isn't good as the pdf one. Do you have any suggestion?

09 Nov 2011 Cameron Sparr  
03 Nov 2011 Son Hua  
31 Oct 2011 Sam Hallman

I use export_fig all the time and I love it. I've made a lot of wonderful figures thanks to this tool. The web documentation is excellent.

31 Oct 2011 Sam Hallman  
27 Oct 2011 Onkar Singh Gujral

very good

07 Oct 2011 Felix Zoergiebel

I have problems with calling ghostscript (and also pdf2ps) from MATLAB R2011b on OS X 10.6.8. system('/opt/local/bin/gs') gives me this error:

dyld: Library not loaded: /opt/local/lib/libfreetype.6.dylib
Referenced from: /opt/local/lib/libfontconfig.1.dylib
Reason: Incompatible library version: libfontconfig.1.dylib requires version 14.0.0 or later, but libfreetype.6.dylib provides version 10.0.0
/opt/local/bin/gs: Trace/breakpoint trap

I fixed the problem by deleting MATLABs DYLD_PATH_LIBRARY variable before calling ghostscript in ghostscript.m:

[varargout{1:nargout}] = system(sprintf('export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=""; /opt/local/bin/gs %s', cmd));

Same should work for pdf2ps.m.

This problem does not exist on MATLAB 7.4, since there is no libfreetype.6.dylib in the MATLAB installation. Hope that this little report helps somebody else.

22 Sep 2011 Erika  
19 Sep 2011 Oliver Woodford

Shaun: Thanks. I understand a big change to the way MATLAB handles graphics is coming at some point. When it does I expect export_fig will break in many ways. For now you can disable the warnings.

19 Sep 2011 Shaun

Heads up, set(gcf,'color','none') is going away. I am getting warnings..

18 Sep 2011 Oliver Woodford

apañero: Use the -r180 option to set the dpi in the image file correctly (Otherwise how is export_fig supposed to know the dpi? That information isn't stored anywhere in the figure.). Then set the image size so you get the desired output resolution (size of image in pixels). In your case the image size on screen should be 7cm x 7cm.

17 Sep 2011 apañero

There is a problem if you want to keep the same resolution and document size as the original image.

With a 180dpi image and 7 x 7cm size
export_fig image -tif -native
Image exported is 96dpi and 13 x 13cm size (same overall resolution but different dimensions)

If I use -r180
Image exported is 180dpi but 13 x 13cm and double pixel size (again, same overall resulution but image dimensions are wrong).

export_fig image -tif -native

14 Sep 2011 Oliver Woodford

Ole: Export_fig doesn't support embedding tiff previews in eps files, sadly. It's probably possible to do with an external application, and if it has a command line interface you could write a MATLAB wrapper for it.

13 Sep 2011 Ole

This code is of great help! Can anyone say whether or how tiff previews/thumbnails can be included into eps files?

02 Sep 2011 David Wang  
23 Aug 2011 Peter T. S. DeVore

Be warned, you *will* need to tune image parameters to make your image file consistent with the results from saveas.

23 Aug 2011 Peter T. S. DeVore

Works excellently. Found out how to make CMYK tiffs for publication. Follow this code:

figure('InvertHardcopy','off','Color',[1 1 1]); % Force the background to be white
plot(x, y);
export_fig([filepath filename 'full'], '-tif', '-cmyk', '-r300'); % For CMYK 300 DPI tiff images

22 Aug 2011 Oliver Woodford

I'm afraid I won't be responding to requests for help in this comments section from now on. The help text and web page are more than detailed enough. Bug reports can be emailed directly to me.

22 Aug 2011 Martin

This is a very very useful function. But I have one problem. I am not able to get the same screen resolution while exporting quiver plots. I export quiver plots to .tiff files and then I open it in Imagej. But the arrows appear very blurry as I zoom in. I tried the following:

export_fig test.tiff -m2 -r 250

It would be great if you can help me with this.


09 Aug 2011 Oliver Woodford

Patrick: A clean install of R2011a and export_fig on a 32-bit XP machine yielded a cropped, correctly sized figure for me just now. Sorry not to be more help!

08 Aug 2011 Patrick Maletinsky

Oliver: Thanks much for checking! I just repeated what you did (plot(rand(3)); export_fig test.pdf;) and sure enough, the output-pdf contains the figure with the (standard) gray background on a letter-sized white background.
Since things work out on your installation it might have something to do with my Matlab settings/preferences (?). I didn't set anything special though and also checked on a couple of other machines of colleagues of mine and the scheme seems consistent: R2011a yields letter-sized outputs and all earlier installations do what I tell them to do.

If anybody knows a solution to this problem, I would greatly appreciate. For now, I just run export_fig on older versions of Matlab only ;-)

Again, thanks for this great script in any case, Oliver!!!

P.S.: This was all on Windows XP 32-bit machines.

05 Aug 2011 Jiaqi  
04 Aug 2011 weijie

You save me thesis!

03 Aug 2011 Oliver Woodford

Patrick: I just installed R2011a on a Vista 32-bit machine and ran
export_fig test.pdf;
It worked as expected.

02 Aug 2011 Patrick Maletinsky

Great script - thanks a lot Oliver!

I recently upgraded from Matlab R2009a to R2011a, which caused a problem with export_fig: after the upgrade, figures exported to .pdf (and/or .eps) have a fixed paper-size of US legal (i.e. typically a lot of white space around my figures). I can't find a way to alter the paper size of my exported figures in Matlab now. When I ran export_fig on Matlab R2009a, the paper-size after exporting with export_fig used to be set by the original figure size. Any ideas how I can get back to these settings?

02 Aug 2011 Patrick Maletinsky  
29 Jul 2011 Sébastien  
28 Jul 2011 Jie

Hi, Oliver, thank you so much for your kind help. The zbuffer renderer works for me. However, I still prefer the EPS output than BMP (it blurs when zoom out or zoom in). As what you said, the white tin network did have different appearances in different applications.

Thank you once again for your kind help.

28 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Jie: Yes, the lines should not be visible in printed figures. Also, try the zbuffer renderer if opengl fails.

28 Jul 2011 Jie

Hi, Oliver, thank you for your swift reply. You know, Google is fighting against with the Chinese government, and I can not see the examples and explanations listed in google site.

What you mean is that the paper-printed figure will not show such tin network? However, when I try to save the bmp and jpg format, I got following error:
setting PBuffer for OpenGL printing: invalid drawable.

Interestingly, I did save jpg file several days before. I do not know why I can not save bmp now.

28 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Jie: I explain the reason for this on the examples webpage. It's your PDF reader at fault, but it means that 3D surfaces are better exported as bitmaps.

27 Jul 2011 Jie

Hi, Oliver, the export_fig is really a great tool which helps a lot to my paper. Thank you.

But, I got a problem when I want to export a 3D surface produced by 'mesh' or 'surf'. Although the output in the figure window of Matlab is normal, the exported figure are covered with white tin network, which is especially evident for gray surface.

Actually, you can find the white tin network on the icon of export_fig at the top of this webpage (the nice color surface produced by this tool is covered with white tin network).

This problem is deriving me crazy in recent days. I tried to change various line properties, however, it never works.

22 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Brad: You can use -painters and -r200. If it doesn't do what you expect then contact me directly. Also, just put the files on your MATLAB path to avoid moving them to your current directory - that is standard and nothing to do with export_fig, though.

22 Jul 2011 Brad

This function is fantastic. Whats more, is that it can be incorporated into my functions, so that I can save multiple plots and figures in glorious high resolution. I love it and its so easy to use!

However, I've been copying all the export_fig files located in the export_fig folder to current working directory (which changes often). This works, but I don't want to do it everytime I start working in a new directory and I want to make figures.

Is there a way to put export_fig in its own folder (perhaps C:/Program Files/Export Fig/export_fig) and call it from my current directory without changing back and forth to that directory? Also, I'd like to use options like -painters and -r200.

Thanks Oliver!

21 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Eli: Yes, -painters works on all systems. If you have a specific problem you should contact me directly.

21 Jul 2011 Eli

Thanks Oliver. I am referring to the size of the image (in Kb). If you have many pictures in your file, the document size grows quickly and cannot be submitted. I already tried -q30 etc, -r, it has no effect. The gs command with options in linux can reduce the size (not so nice), but I want to do everything in export_fig. I guess I have to re-program my plot.

I would like to thank you for this code. It has served me good in past weeks !

Suggestion: put set(gcf, 'Color', 'w') in default. It scares off newcomers to see those, often unwanted, margins.

Is -painters option supposed to work on pdf/eps files on any system?

21 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Eli: Are you refering to file size or paper size? File size can be changed using the -qXX option, e.g. -q50, though it only affects the images in files. If paper size, change the figure size.

If you want me to assist you with errors then I suggest you follow the instructions at the end of the description.

21 Jul 2011 Eli

Great software.

How do you control the size of the output PDF or EPS? I want to reduce the size.

In addition, the -painters option does not work for me, in pdf/eps files. I tried it on various linux and win systems.

20 Jul 2011 Dan K

Thanks for the response... Following your suggestion, I found IMCLIPBOARD ( which does just that. Now if I can just find one that outputs to clipboard in vector format.

19 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

Dan: No, there isn't. However, you can output the image as an array, so if you find a way of copying an array to the clipboard as an image you're there.

19 Jul 2011 Dan K

Hi Oliver,
Very nice. One question: I am also fighting with the whitespace outside of copied images. Your cropping seems to do the job nicely. Is there a way to use export_fig to export to the clipboard?

18 Jul 2011 Oliver Woodford

pvans: You can control the amount of whitespace around an axes by setting the axes' position and using export_fig's -nocrop option.

17 Jul 2011 Austin

Thanks for this.

Mathworks, it's ridiculous that I have to resort to third-party packages to programmatically export my figures. Every time I come across some problem like this it moves me closer and closer to doing all my development with numpy/scipy.

14 Jul 2011 pvans

Hi Oliver,

I would like to save an figure with both

1) an image object inside of it saved at native resolution

2) control over the size of the whitespace outside of that image's axes, in pixels.

Your '-native' option works well for 1), but it seems that in order to accomplish 2) simultaneously, I need to resize the figure without resizing the image. I can do this by setting the image axes 'Units' property to 'Pixels' (instead of the default 'Normalized'), but that change seems to make export_fig work incorrectly. Is there a way to do this with your program?

29 Jun 2011 Emily  
20 Jun 2011 Sherif

Very useful. Thank you.

19 Jun 2011 Céldor

In EPS files which I export my figures to, all fonts are changed to different ones. Arial is changed to Helvetica, Arial Narrow is changed to Courier, etc.

13 Jun 2011 Oliver Woodford

Farzad: export_fig has the same font issue as print, as described on my usage and examples web page (link in description above).

11 Jun 2011 farzad

to Zbigniew:
What do you mean by wrong font? isnt it the original font you see before exporting?! It exports the figure as the way you see on the screen. If you want another font you have to change it before using export_fig command.

10 Jun 2011 Céldor

Hi there,

This is brilliant function. It helped me to export figures properly to eps. The only thing is that it still substitutes and exports a figure with wrong fonts.

09 Jun 2011 A

This is the most wonderful program! Thank you :)

07 Jun 2011 Oliver Woodford

Farzad: As you say, export_fig saves the figure as it appears on screen, and you can have a landscape-shaped figure on a portrait-oriented display, no problem.

07 Jun 2011 farzad

Hi Oliver,

This might not be a good question but if you change your display to portrait, is it then possible to save figures in landscape? I guess not since it is said that the figure is saved exactly like it is on the screen.

29 May 2011 Shiguo  
28 May 2011 nsbd  
18 May 2011 farzad  
17 May 2011 Matthijs Klomp  
17 May 2011 farzad

Ah, I made a mistake in that. Thanks for correcting me Oliver. export_fig is really great. Although it doesn't need to mention. 908 downloads just in the last 30 days!!!

17 May 2011 Oliver Woodford

farzad: MATLAB has to ways of passing variables to functions. Withough brackets, every input is considered to be a string. With brackets, you need to specify what is a string and what isn't using ''. This is completely standard. So in your case do:
export_fig(sprintf('plot%d.png', a), '-a1');

16 May 2011 farzad

Hi Oliver
I have a question regarding the export_fig use in a for loop. In the examples, you gave this format for it:

export_fig(sprintf('plot%d.png', a));

what if I want to use additional arguments as well such as disabling the anti-aliasing which originally is:
export_fig plot.png -a1
I tried different formats to pass the value of 'a' parameter to export_fig in the loop but I failed. Shouldnt it be like this:
export_fig(sprintf('plot%d.png', i),a);
where a (anti-aliasing value) is the second input argument to export_fig ?!

I appreciate your great work it.

29 Apr 2011 Dan

Thank you Oliver. I honestly did not notice it. The interface of the File Exchange has changed quite a bit recently and yours is the first file I download. The clarity of the tag "Download All" could be disputed though.

28 Apr 2011 Oliver Woodford

Dan: There is a large blue "Download All" button at the top right of the page. Did you try that? It worked for me.

28 Apr 2011 Dan

New file exchange interface is just not working. No "download" option displayed and "Watch this File" sends you in a loop between the current page and the "Watchlist" without actually showing the file.

Any suggestions?

08 Apr 2011 Liang Zhan

actually it's Walter Roberson refer me to use your function, excellent, it solve me a big problem, appreciate for your code!!!

08 Apr 2011 Martin  
06 Apr 2011 farzad

I didnt know about drawnow. It works better with graphics and I learned a new command. Thank you very much Oliver.

06 Apr 2011 farzad

Thanks Oliver. I'll try to replace maximize with something else.

06 Apr 2011 Oliver Woodford

Farzad: However, a solution is to call drawnow just before export_fig.

06 Apr 2011 Oliver Woodford

Farzad: This is an issue with maximize, and not export_fig.

06 Apr 2011 farzad

Thanks for sharing this very useful file.
I have a problem with using export_fig with maximize. May be someone can help. When I use maximize I have to add pause (at least 0.5 sec) before export_fig otherwise it saves the small size version. Here is the order of commands:
h = figure;
plot ...
export_fig test.bmp -m2

R2009b on Win 7, 32 bit

25 Mar 2011 Martin  
16 Mar 2011 Katharina Schaefer

Hi Oliver, thanks a lot for a great script. I am a mac user (os x 10.6) and had some trouble with ghostscript. On this website you can download GPL Ghostscript (dmg file). This worked for me.

15 Mar 2011 Reza

Great function!

When working with images, that would be great to export the lines, texts, legend, etc. in a vector format and the images in a pixel format (ideally both in one pdf file). You might know that there has been some work done in the original exportfig

I think it will be a great feature!

05 Mar 2011 Oliver Woodford

Meggy: Make sure that you have installed ghostcript (not the ghostscript.m MATLAB function) as per the instructions, then select the folder which contains the ghostscript program when prompted. If you have any more problems please contact me directly, as requested several times on this page already.

22 Feb 2011 Oleg Komarov

I'll start using matlab graphics thanks to your function!

20 Feb 2011 Oliver Woodford

Bogdan: This sort of issue is best emailed to me as a minimal working example.

20 Feb 2011 Bogdan

Hi Oliver,

when I create a pdf file and include it in Latex the blue color get washed in the Latex document. However, it is okay in the created pdf itself. Do you have any idea why, as it looks really bad. Other included pdfs created with the print command do not have this issue.

15 Feb 2011 Oliver Woodford

Reinhard: Thank you. That could be very useful info for some people out there.

15 Feb 2011 Reinhard

FYI: I've just tried creating temporary PDF files using export_fig, and then appending them in a single go using ghostscript. It's much faster that way. Ghostscript obviously optimizes the call if it receives all the file names to append simultaneously.

15 Feb 2011 Oliver Woodford

ImageAnalyst: It demonstrates that you can export figures with transparency information (as one is visible through the other). Probably not very intuitive, though.

15 Feb 2011 Image Analyst

I'm not sure I understand your screenshot. Why the double images superimposed?

15 Feb 2011 Oliver Woodford

Reinhard: No, this isn't something I've investigated. One possibility is that the slowness comes from export_fig copying the file before appending to it, for error recovery reasons. You could take this step out of eps2pdf.m and see what happens. Otherwise it's down to ghostscript, which I have no control over.

15 Feb 2011 Reinhard

Thanks Oliver, we've been using your code for a while and especially use the PDF export function. One thing that we have noticed is that if you append a lot (30+) of plots to the same PDF the process becomes much slower as the PDF gets bigger. Do you know what causes this?

15 Feb 2011 Reinhard  
14 Feb 2011 Elsa Birch

Many thanks!

06 Feb 2011 Joseph LIM  
03 Feb 2011 Rossella

This is a really useful and well written funnction. Thanks a lot!

03 Feb 2011 Ask Svane  
03 Feb 2011 Ask Svane

Great work!

25 Jan 2011 Tobias Lamour

Hi Oliver,
Thanks for your incredible work here! You saved me lots of time already you triple the value of Matlab without a shadow of a doubt.
Please carry on as you did.
Cheers, Tobi

30 Nov 2010 mathworks2011  
25 Nov 2010 Julia

Dear Oliver,

thanks for saving my (publication) life.


18 Nov 2010 Oliver Woodford

Craig: Nice observation. Done.

15 Nov 2010 Craig

Thanks for the response. It has occured to me that the resolution can be set relative to native by just resizing the image prior to display then using the -native switch. Rather than modifying the function, perhaps add a note to your website for people who are slow on the uptake like me?

Thanks again, Craig.

15 Nov 2010 Oliver Woodford

Craig: Intermediate images can be larger than the output image if antialiasing is used, so the warning is correct. Your suggestion of an additional resolution option has been noted - thanks.

15 Nov 2010 Craig

Great function(s) - thanks Oliver. It works very well in concert with 'maximize.m'.

Like so many others I'm at a loss to understand why such functionality isn't built-in to MATLAB. I had reached the point of saving my images as MATLAB 'fig' format and copying and pasting into other documents to try to preserve some quality. I have one small, almost insignificant, suggestion:

Could a additional resolution option be included so that resolution can be specified as a percentage of 'native' rather than only relative to the size on screen? Is there a simple way to do this already using the -r switch?

I've also noticed that MATLAB (Win7 64-bit R2010b) produces a scary warning "Warning: print2array generating a 185.1M pixel image. This could be slow and might also cause memory problems." when in fact the image size is one-tenth that with -m set to 10. It's not important but had me worried until I realised it was bunkum.

Thanks again,

03 Nov 2010 Matthijs Klomp

I have used print_pdf for all my publications.

29 Oct 2010 Nick Fyson

Excellent function, makes it easy to produce high quality figures. (Normally look significantly better than in the figure window itself.) Never had a single problem with it.

29 Oct 2010 Oliver Woodford

Monique: The cropping works fine on my system with the figures you give. No-one else has reported this problem either, so I would say that the autocropping does work, and that your comment is misleading to other users. Read on if you would like me to investigate your specific problem further.

Everyone: As I've stated twice on this page already, please do email me (use the "Contact Author link on my author page) when you have a problem (assuming you've checked everywhere and can't find a solution), rather than place it here. I'll respond quicker, be able to request figures and results, and also people finding the function won't think it never works!

28 Oct 2010 Monique Messié

Very useful function even though I'm far from having explored all the possibilities.
One question: when saving a figure with a transparent background, the autocrop doesn't work. Any reason for that? any way to still get autocrop?
figure, plot(1:10), set(gcf,'Color','w'), set(gca, 'color', 'w','XLim',[0 20]);, axis off, export_fig test % (autocrop)
figure, plot(1:10), set(gcf,'Color','none'), set(gca, 'color', 'none','XLim',[0 20]);, axis off, export_fig test2 % (doesn't autocrop)

27 Oct 2010 David Lloyd

Superb function and documentation. You deserve a big fat check from Mathworks for doing something long overdue. In the mean time please accept my grateful thanks :)

16 Oct 2010 Vinesh Rajpaul

Good documentation, easy to use, and does the job very well! Thanks!

16 Oct 2010 Vinesh Rajpaul  
24 Aug 2010 Matthew Arthington  
16 Aug 2010 Mark  
09 Aug 2010 Joseph  
04 Aug 2010 Joachim Schlosser

A great script. Along with the hints in article this makes pretty nice graphics!

09 Jun 2010 Oliver Woodford

Dan: Unfortunately this can't be avoided. The painters renderer used for vector graphics doesn't support transparency. For more details see here:

09 Jun 2010 Dan

Very nice script, I use it all the time.

Just one thing, when saving to a .pdf it seems to mess up transparent elements on the the plot and make them opaque.

Is there a way to remedy this?


03 Jun 2010 Daniel

I was wrong, it does work to include the path in the file name. I just can't use a '~' as a short cut to my home directory. At least not with a Mac. Using the full path works for all formats, and the '~' works for everything expect pdf and eps.

Oliver, thanks for your help troubleshooting this for me!

03 Jun 2010 Daniel

this program is great. I have tried several hacks over the years to do something similar, but not worked this clean.

When specifying a path in the file name it works for all formats except pdf and eps. These will only save to the current directory. Is there a way to specify the path in the call? Currently I just cd to the desired directory and then cd back to where I was.

Thanks for the work and for sharing.

03 Jun 2010 Daniel  
25 May 2010 Philip Valencia

Top job Oliver - great utility with a tonne of functionality.
The -painters option is great. I can render a graph from the command line with transparent axis and background and save it onto my desktop (with geektool). It looks so awesome and it wouldn't be possible without these scripts.

18 May 2010 Oliver Woodford

Royi: This will generate two images, one with anti-aliasing and one without -
export_fig aa.png
export_fig no_aa.png -a1
The anti-aliasing option can be used with any other combination of options. Note that the anti-aliasing settings only affect bitmap outputs. They make no difference to vector outputs such as pdf and eps files.

17 May 2010 Royi Avital

You need to clarify the syntax a bit more (I don't understand how to turn Anti Aliasing off, Triad -a1 with no difference, I guess I don't write the syntax how it should be).
Adding some examples for usages of the Syntax would be great!

22 Apr 2010 Oliver Woodford

Jared: Fonts should be embedded in exported pdfs by default, and also in eps files (the latter depending on what pdftops executable you have on your system). You need to import a figure into Myriad Pro before exporting from it - I suggest you ask the newsgroup if you need help with this.

21 Apr 2010 Jared

How does one export with embedded fonts? For instance, can one export using Myriad Pro?

13 Apr 2010 Adam A

Very useful, thanks.

12 Apr 2010 Sylvain Fa

Very good function. I am using it for a while now without any problem. I have just noticed that when a figure contain a:
"text(...,'interpreter','latex')" then the function print2eps does not set the boundingbox properly or at least the figure is not cropped when using eps2pdf.

A closer look at this showed that when the latex interpreter is used, the obtained eps file (with the MATLAB print function) contained font information. This might interfer somehow. Any idea how to solve this issue?

10 Apr 2010 Glenn Fulford  
10 Apr 2010 shuangou ren

very useful. simpler use with respect to the laprint

09 Apr 2010 Glenn Fulford  
09 Apr 2010 Shai Sabbah

Oliver: Thank you very much.
Finally I can produce nice figures with Matlab.

09 Apr 2010 Oliver Woodford

Shai: The line style problem can be fixed by specifying the painters algorithm, using the -painters option. Note you need ghostscript installed for this to work.

09 Apr 2010 Shai Sabbah

Great program.

However, I’ve encounter a small difficulty.
I’m trying to export a B&W figure that includes solid, dashed, and dotted lines at a resolution of 350 dpi in tif format. However, in the tif image, dashed lines look like dotted lines, and the dotted lines look like solid gray lines.

I’ve tried all the four anti-aliasing levels.

Is there a way to export in high resolution tif format while keeping the appearance of the lines similar to the original?

Thanks a lot,

09 Apr 2010 Roland  
20 Mar 2010 Michael Johnston

Extremely useful.

03 Mar 2010 Oliver Woodford

In response to comments by Muhammad and xtofe xtofe I've added the -native and -r<val> options respectively.

Viktor: I don't have or use Simulink, unfortunately, so can't address your issue. Simulink support was never claimed, though, and I hope the function does everything it says on the tin.

24 Feb 2010 viktor

Hi Oliver,

Your file works great but is there a way to apply it to simulink systems? you can print a picture of your model but cropping is very hard.


18 Feb 2010 Oliver Woodford

I convert from eps to pdf then back to eps because I know how to set the quality of bitmap compression and how to embed fonts when saving to pdf through ghostscript, but not when saving to eps. My hack is therefore to save as a pdf to get these things right, then use software which converts a pdf to eps without changing anything in those respects.

If anyone knows of a more direct approach please let me know.

16 Feb 2010 Jonas

Very useful program!

1) When you print to .eps, you print to .eps, then convert to .pdf, then back to .eps. Why?

2) On OS X, the uigetdir file dialog does not show the title. Thus, when the user is asked to provide the path to pdftops, it is not clear at all what is going on. I suggest adding the following before line 60 of pdftops.m:
if ismac
wh = warndlg('pdftops not found. Please locate the program, or install xpdf-tools from');

29 Jan 2010 Jean-Baptiste Carré  
26 Jan 2010 Oliver Woodford

xtofe xtofe:
Set the magnification as follows -
dpi = 300;
mag = dpi / get(0, 'ScreenPixelsPerInch');
export_fig('name.png', sprintf('-m%g', mag));

26 Jan 2010 xtofe xtofe

very useful it is indeed.

How the resolution of the final file could be changed?
e.g., 300dpi, 400dpi, etc.

Any ideas??

13 Jan 2010 Madhusudhan

Very useful fix for missing functionality within Matlab.

10 Jan 2010 Muhammad

hi again,

thanks for a very helpful hint,i tried using various value of magnification and anti-aliasing until i get the perfect pair to get the native resolution.

09 Jan 2010 Oliver Woodford

Muhammad: This depends on the size of the on screen figure, and the magnification you're applying - you can change these two things to get the output you want. However, it is rarely a good idea to save an image at native resolution by exporting a figure containing the image. I suggest you post what you are trying to do to the newsgroup and ask for suggestions of alternative approaches.

09 Jan 2010 Muhammad

I noticed the image (.jpg) produced doesn't have the same size (eg. 600 x 800) with the input do I set the size to be the same?

07 Jan 2010 Muhammad

yep,it worked well.thanks again

06 Jan 2010 Oliver Woodford

Call export_fig using the functional form to have functional and numerical input arguments, e.g.:
export_fig(figure_handle, sprintf('directory/name%d.jpg', n), '-a2', '-painters');

06 Jan 2010 Muhammad

Hello and good day,
thanks for a great submission.
I'd like to know how do I save a figure along with the directory path,like the one i figured with imwrite function

30 Nov 2009 Oliver Woodford

For improved rendering of dashed and dotted lines in bitmap outputs (especially at higher magnifications) you can now use the painters renderer:
export_fig test.png -painters
However, see the help text for notes on the impact of using different renderers.

30 Nov 2009 Yvonne Haesevoets

Thanks for the last version, which solves the line-style issue!

29 Nov 2009 Xuezhong Wang  
23 Nov 2009 Oliver Woodford

A useful aspect of export_fig is that it can output the rasterized figure as an image array. For example, you can use this output to save the figure in grayscale, or with a specific resolution (pixels/inch value).

22 Nov 2009 Yvonne Haesevoets

...and how do you preserve the line style in tiff files e.g.? Thanks again!

22 Nov 2009 Yvonne Haesevoets

Absolutely awesome!! If only I had found this sooner!! Thanks for sharing!
How can I increase the resolution? The -m option increases the file size, not the resolution.

20 Nov 2009 Bob

Oliver, thanks very much but something is funny. If I have the property editor open for the original figure the color is white. I run the set commands and the color is none. I then use export_fig and the color goes back to white (as seen in the Property Manager), and the figure has a white background (export_fig foo.png -pdf; OS X 10.6.2, 2009b). Same white background on the pdf and the png.

20 Nov 2009 Oliver Woodford

set(gcf, 'color', 'none'); % Set the figure background to transparent
set(gca, 'color', 'none'); % Set the axes background to transparent

20 Nov 2009 Bob

Wish I had found this great script sooner!

Can someone tell me how to set the color property to 'none'. If you set edit figure and then use the property editor you only get an option for color (e.g. a palette), you can't type in 'none'. I'm missing something obvious here, can someone please help me with this.

20 Nov 2009 Bob  
13 Nov 2009 Keely Willis

My graphics driver was out of date. Since I updated the driver, everything work perfectly. Thanks!

12 Nov 2009 Oliver Woodford

A reminder for everyone: As I say in the description, please do email me (use the "Contact Author link on my author page) when you have a problem, rather than place it here. I'll respond quicker, and also people finding the function won't think it never works!

12 Nov 2009 Keely Willis

I'm having trouble printing to png format, the figures come out completely black. I'm using MATLAB version 2008b. The command I'm using is "export_fig filename -png".

Thanks for any advice.

11 Nov 2009 Clark Richards

Great script. It's driven me nuts for a long time that outputting to pdf in Matlab is a headache.

It would be useful if there was an 'append' option for the pdf output. I don't always want to append to the end of a file, often I just want to update a figure and have it overwrite whatever was already there.

26 Oct 2009 Oliver Woodford

Michael: MATLAB's print often does funny things to a plot, such as changing the number of tick marks, when you export it, and I don't know how to avoid it. Export_fig uses print, and therefore unfortunately suffers from the same problem.

20 Oct 2009 Michael Kitz

I wanted to use this tool to save a jpg with the borders cropped. Now I realized that the axes settings were changed during export.
I was using a figure with three subplots, two graphs and an image.
The plots were displaying 7000 data points in a customized scale using the whole axes area. Matlab's autoscale uses 8000 points and so did the export function.
Is there a way to avoid the autoscale?

27 Sep 2009 Francesco Montorsi  
22 Sep 2009 Oliver Woodford

m g: The figure you wish to export must be open. You cannot specify it by the filename. The filename is that of the output file, not the input file.

Erica: The filename should be a string. Just like any other MATLAB function, you can call export_fig using parentheses around the input arguments, or not, in which case the inputs are interpreted as strings; i.e. if one of the inputs is not a string then you must use parentheses. The outputs are not the same as those used by print. Type
help export_fig
for a full description of usage.

18 Sep 2009 Erica Alston


What is the calling sequence for using this function? should the filename be in parentheses? are the output formats the same as used by matlap e.g. -depsc?

Many thanks!

14 Sep 2009 m g

I am unable to use export_fig on my linux machine
i am using the command
export_fig f.fig -eps
and i get the following error:
'No Figure to Print"
and a Warning /tmp/tmp<long string>.eps not found

please help.

31 Jul 2009 Annette

I'm trying to use this function with Matlab r2007b on a Mac (OS 10.5), and I get the error:

??? Error using ==> rdivide
Number of array dimensions must match for binary array op.

Error in ==> export_fig at 143
A = uint8(B ./ A(:,:,[1 1 1]));

Any insight?


22 Jul 2009 68c46a6

Great function! It saves me a lot of time, thanks!
Wish I could disable cropping more easily though.

14 Jul 2009 cartonn

how do you export the image with a greater value of dpi?
-r600 does not work

08 Jul 2009 Sebastiaan  
07 Jul 2009 Johannes Korsawe

Really nice.
I still have a problem using uipanels (guis):

If i create a plot and a colorbar, the colorbar will not be printed in the result.

Is it possible to enable for a search for colorbars? I tried to adopt your code but failed in copying the correct stuctures.

To say it with Stefan: Can you fix/enable that?

03 Jul 2009 Gabriel Akira Schreiber  
02 Jul 2009 Gabriel Akira Schreiber  
29 Jun 2009 Daisy Fan


How can I get a high resolution eps, e.g., >300dpi? Matlab's documentation says to use the -r option, e.g.,
print -deps -r300 myfile
but it actually doesn't work. When I look at the produced eps in a software such as Adobe Photoshop the resolution is just 72dpi. Thanks for you input!

03 Jun 2009 Stefan

Great job!

But still one bug: Exporting does not work if axes is child of uipanel. Seems to be some problem when using cobyobj
Can you fix that?

28 May 2009 wei feng

Great work! You sir saved me a LOT of time.

I've been using your print_eps function for a while and found this today. However, I have a problem with converting images to eps format that has been bugging me. For example, I have two images in a matlab figure. On both images I have used the "plot" function to plot some lines on the images. The plotted lines are gray in color. When I export them into eps format, the lines on the first image would remain gray. But the lines on the second image would change to black. The same thing happens when I have more than two images with plotted lines, in which case all the plotted lines except in the first image will turn black. I was wondering if you can shed some light on this?

Thanks a lot.

28 May 2009 Edgar Guevara

Great job!
Finally I can get publication-quality graphs in a simple way.
Thanks Oliver for making it easier than ever before.

21 Apr 2009 Christian Dorion

Great piece of work, thanks.

A minor thing though... Under my installation, the private/ghostscript.m function had a minor bug that resulted in the whole function being whipped out and replaced by solely the 'gs' path. Just in case it happens to anyone else, here is a simple patch:

--- MY/private/ghostscript.m
+++ ONLINE/private/ghostscript.m
@@ -103,9 +103,8 @@
fstrm = fread(fh, '*char')';
% Find the path
-first_sec = regexp(fstrm, '[\n\r]*function path = current_gs_path[\n\r]*path = ''', 'end', 'once');
-second_sec = first_sec + regexp(fstrm(first_sec+1:end), ''';[\n\r]*return', 'once');
-assert(~isempty(first_sec) && ~isempty(second_sec));
+first_sec = regexp(fstrm, '[\n\r]function path = current_gs_path[\n\r]path = ''', 'end', 'once');
+second_sec = first_sec + regexp(fstrm(first_sec+1:end), ''';[\n\r]return', 'once');
% Save the file with the path replaced
fh = fopen(fname, 'wt');
fprintf(fh, '%s%s%s', fstrm(1:first_sec), path, fstrm(second_sec:end));

19 Apr 2009 Oliver Woodford

Dan: Currently the only way to change the exported figure size is to change the Matlab figure size before exporting. To get round this, set the paper size options manually within export_fig.

Matt C: Thanks for the great suggestion.

Shameem/Mohammed: I wanted to keep the interface simple, so unfortunately there is no formal way to control file size. Jpeg file size can be changed by varying the quality setting within export_fig. For more options regarding quality/compression, see savefig (also on the FEX).

18 Apr 2009 Mohammed Islam

Hi Oliver,
Thanks soo much for this script. It's of great use for me. So far I haven't had any trouble using it. Just one question, is it possible to use it to control the size of the output file?

Also, thanks to Matt for the addition, Its nice to not replace an existing file and keep adding up additional figues at the bottom. Thats what I wanted to do.

Great job guys. keep it up.


17 Apr 2009 Matt C

This suite of exportation options is really great! I used to cook up these functions on my own, but with the frontend you created this is now a lot simpler.

When using it I found that the way you are currently implementing ghostscript will destroy the destination file if it already exists. While this may be the intended implementation, let me offer an alternative that could possibly be as useful to others.

I have edited the 'eps2pdf.m' file to allow for appending additional figures to an already existing .pdf file as follows:

function eps2pdf(source, dest)
% Construct the options string for ghostscript - create new or append
% additional sheets if the destination exists
if (exist(dest, 'file') == 2)
tmp_nam = tempname;
copyfile(dest, tmp_nam);
options = ['-q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dEPSCrop -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -sOutputFile="' dest '" "' tmp_nam '" -f "' source '"'];
options = ['-q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dEPSCrop -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -sOutputFile="' dest '" -f "' source '"'];

% Convert to pdf using ghostscript


I hope some of you can find this modification useful!

15 Apr 2009 danny

Hello! How can I use your program to export a MATLAB graph to .eps or .pdf format with size changes ?

Thank you,

15 Apr 2009

Added ability to export rasterized figure straight to the workspace.

19 Apr 2009

Added ability to append to pdf files, as suggested by Matt C. Corrected some help text.

21 Apr 2009

Incorporated Christian Dorion's patch for updating ghostscript (and also pdftops) path. Fixed bug that didn't correctly detect if pdftops path was valid (due to a MATLAB/Windows bug).

24 Apr 2009

Added ability to compute transparency of patch objects when outputting to png and exporting to workspace.

28 Jun 2009

Fixed bug to allow exporting of axes that are children of uipanels. Thanks to Stefan for pointing out the bug.

21 Jul 2009

Export colorbars associated with subplots when in a uipanel. Thanks to Johannes Korsawe for pointing out the bug.

29 Jul 2009

Added options to disable cropping and set level of anti-aliasing. Added a fix to get round a rendering bug in print (thanks to Johannes Korsawe for pointing it out).

31 Jul 2009

Added option to use zbuffer renderer for bitmaps. This avoids some errors caused by bugs in the opengl renderer.
Fixed bug when exporting greyscale figures with an alphamatte (thanks to Annette for pointing it out).

09 Oct 2009

Added ability to export at any resolution (bitmap outputs only) and also in CMYK colorspace (tiff, pdf, eps only).

12 Nov 2009

Appending to end of pdf files is now off by default, and enabled by the -append option. Suggested by Clark Richards.

12 Nov 2009

Fixed bug that meant -tif lead to jpeg being output instead.

24 Nov 2009

Bug fix (thanks, Andreas Offenhaeuser). Added grayscale option (suggestion thanks to Bob Sica). Added correct resolution for tiff & png (sugestion thanks to Yvonne Haesevoets).

25 Nov 2009

No change to the file, just a correction - I thank Paul Soderlind for suggesting the grayscale output option, not Bob Sica (apologies to you both).

25 Nov 2009

Improved rendering of dashed and dotted lines for bitmap outputs using the -painters algorithm. This overcomes the "shrinking dash" problem mentioned by Yvonne Haesevoets (thanks!).

02 Mar 2010

Added -native option for exporting to bitmap at native resolution of an image. Fixed uigetdir title problem on MAC OS X (thanks to Jonas for the bug report).

03 Mar 2010

Improved accuracy of native resolution feature in some circumstances.

05 Mar 2010

Added ability to vary quality/compression level for jpg, pdf & eps output. Thank you to Fabio Viola for pointing out compression artifacts using the default settings.

08 Apr 2010

Fix to colorbar axes color bug with transparent bitmap export (thanks to Roland Martin for reporting it). Look for ghostcript in default location on 64 bit Windows (thanks to suggestion by Nathan Childress).

13 Apr 2010

Fix for R2006b (possibly even R2007a) and earlier: move embedded fonts after bounding box information. Thanks to Sylvain Fa for reporting the problem.

20 Apr 2010

Fix to bug which caused an error when exporting to transparent bitmap with no colorbar present (introduced 8th April 2010). Thanks to Gracee for reporting it.

25 May 2010

Fixed bug which caused bitmaps to be poorly rendered when using the painters renderer on figures with many patches in. Also added fix to bug reported by Andrew Matthews (thanks!) affecting export in -nodisplay mode.

01 Jun 2010

Added ability to append to tiff. Added link to usage examples web page (thanks to Brett Shoelson for the suggestion).

23 Jun 2010

Isolate axes better in presence of gui objects (thanks to Tammy Threadgill for reporting the issue). Maintain resolution of very small images in vector formats when using lossless compression (thanks to Scott for reporting the issue).

06 Oct 2010

Faster bitmap export using hardcopy. Better error checking for when exporting to non-existent directories (thanks to Aldebaro Klautau for reporting this).

02 Feb 2011

Enable exporting of multiple axes (when a subset of all axes). Don't save user specific paths in .m files that may be version controlled (thanks to Jonas Dorn for the suggestion). Minor bug fixes.

02 Feb 2011

Save user specific paths in a single, hidden directory. Put isolate_axes code in a separate function.

27 Apr 2011

Find 64-bit Ghostscript on Windows (thanks to Paul Durack and Shaun Kline for both reporting this issue). Fix bug in isolate_axes (thanks to Rosella Blatt for reproting this).

28 Apr 2011

Bug fix to ghostscript.m mostly affecting Linux (thanks to Paul Durack for reporting it).

15 Sep 2011

Fix bitmap cropping with painters renderer. Make bitmap outputs exactly the right size. Suppress warnings by setting EraseModes to normal when using opengl or zbuffer renderers (thanks to Pawel Kocieniewski for reporting the issue).

21 Sep 2011

Fix to bug in print2array causing an error when exporting using painters with a white background. Thanks to Tobiar Lamour for reporting it.

14 Nov 2011

Various bug fixes - thanks to Phil Trinh, Mathieu Morlighem and Meelis Lootus for reporting the issues. Also added new -transparent option, and set default anti-aliasing down to -a3.

08 Dec 2011

Allow use of arbitrary fonts with the painters renderer, e.g. in eps and pdf files.

09 Dec 2011

More reliable export of non-standard fonts using painters renderer.

14 Dec 2011

Fix bug affecting export using -painters with spaces in font names. Thanks to David Szwer for reporting the issue.

26 Jan 2012

Improve font swapping behaviour. Thanks to Anna Rafferty and Adam Jackson for reporting issues.

27 Jan 2012

Fix bug when exporting tall figures to bitmap using the painters renderer. Thanks to Ken Campbell for reporting it.

23 Feb 2012

Ensure axes limits are the same on screen and printed.

14 Mar 2012

A bug fix to the previous change, ensuring that axes limits are correctly set. Thanks to Tobias Lamour for reporting the issue.

16 Mar 2012

Fixed a bug to do with copyfig not being available to export_fig. Thanks to Bob Fratantonio for pointing it out.

10 Apr 2012

Make font swapping case insensitive. Fix bug affecting export to bitmap using painters in r2012a (thanks to Andy Matthews for reporting it).

09 May 2012

Add ability to add bookmarks based on figure names into PDFs - thanks to Petr Nechaev for this. Keep tick marks fixed - thanks to Arcelia Arrieta for this.

20 Sep 2012

Fix to bug introduced by R2012b

05 Nov 2012

Bug fix to font swapping in vector formats, fixed paper orientation bug and removed conflict with the path function. Many thanks to Malcolm Hudson, Michael Watts and Michel Slivitzky for reporting those issues respectively.

12 Dec 2012

Allow export of uipanel objects, and improve finding Ghostscript on Windows. Thanks to michael and Ratish Punnoose for highlighting these issues.

22 Mar 2013

Access user strings in text, not binary mode, to avoid errors. Now swap fonts in axes labels when exporting in vector format. Thanks to Christian and Rasmus Ischebeck for pointing out these respective errors.

28 Jun 2013

Fixed bug with calling ghoscript 9.07 in Linux. Many thanks to Jannik for the fix.

14 Aug 2013

Fixed a font swapping bug and a MATLAB bug affecting the export of white lines to EPS. Thanks to George and Sebastian for reporting the issues.

14 Aug 2013

Fixed a font swapping bug and a MATLAB bug affecting the export of white lines to EPS. Thanks to George and Sebastian for reporting the issues.

08 Oct 2013

Allow setting of resolution for vector formats (thanks to Jan Jaap Meijer for suggesting this). Fix bug in isolate_axes (thanks to Will Grant for this).

05 Dec 2013

Fix bug in isolate axes; thanks to Remington Reid for bringing the issue to my attention.

22 Apr 2014

Switch to GitHub repository

08 May 2014

Replace acknowledgements

02 Jul 2014

Added support for HG2

09 Jul 2014

Update description

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