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zlim

Set or query z-axis limits

Description

Specific Limits

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zlim(limits) sets the z-axis limits for the current axes. Specify limits as a two-element vector of the form [zmin zmax], where zmax is greater than zmin.

example

zl = zlim returns the current limits as a two-element vector.

Automatic or Manual Limit Selection

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zlim(limitmethod) specifies the limit method MATLAB® uses for automatic limit selection. Specify the limit method as 'tickaligned', 'tight', or 'padded'. MATLAB sets the ZLimitMethod property of the axes to the value you specify.

You can specify the limitmethod argument without parentheses. For example, zlim tight enables tight z-axis limits.

example

zlim(limitmode) specifies automatic or manual limit selection. The limitmode can have either of two values:

  • 'auto' — Enable automatic limit selection. MATLAB selects the limits based on the range of your data and the value of the ZLimitMethod property of the axes. If you plot into the axes multiple times, the limits update to encompass all the data.

  • 'manual' — Freeze the z-axis limits at their current value.

You can specify the limitmode argument without parentheses. For example, zlim auto enables automatic limit selection.

m = zlim('mode') returns the current z-axis limits mode, which is either 'auto' or 'manual'. By default, the mode is automatic unless you specify limits or set the mode to manual.

Target Axes or Chart

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___ = zlim(ax,___) uses the axes specified by ax instead of the current axes. Specify ax as the first input argument for any of the previous syntaxes. You can include an output argument if the original syntax supports an output argument. Use single quotes around the mode inputs, for example, zlim(ax,'auto').

Examples

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Plot a surface and set the z-axis limits to range from -5 to 5.

[X,Y,Z] = peaks;
surf(X,Y,Z);
zlim([-5 5])

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type surface.

Create a mesh surface plot and show only z values greater than 0. Specify the minimum z-axis limit as 0 and let MATLAB choose the maximum limit.

[X,Y,Z] = peaks;
mesh(X,Y,Z)
zlim([0 inf])

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type surface.

Create a surface plot of the peaks data set. Adjust the view of the plot box so that you can see the surface from the side.

surf(peaks)
view([-45 15])

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type surface.

Adjust the z-axis limits to so that there is less space above and below the surface. Change the limit method to 'tight'.

zlim tight

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type surface.

Starting in R2019b, you can display a tiling of plots using the tiledlayout and nexttile functions. Call the tiledlayout function to create a 2-by-1 tiled chart layout. Call the nexttile function to create the axes objects ax1 and ax2. Plot data into each of the axes. Then set the z-axis limits for the bottom plot by specifying ax2 as the first input argument to zlim.

[X,Y,Z] = peaks;
tiledlayout(2,1)
ax1 = nexttile;
surf(X,Y,Z)

ax2 = nexttile;
surf(X,Y,Z)
zlim(ax2,[-5 5])

Figure contains 2 axes. Axes 1 contains an object of type surface. Axes 2 contains an object of type surface.

Use manual mode to maintain the current z-axis limits when you add more plots to the axes.

First, create a 3-D scatter plot.

theta = linspace(0,2*pi);
X = cos(theta);
Y = sin(theta);
Z = theta;
scatter3(X,Y,Z)

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type scatter.

Set the z-axis limits mode to manual so that the limits to not change. Use hold on to add a second plot to the axes.

zlim manual
hold on 
Znew = 5*theta;
scatter3(X,Y,Znew)
hold off

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains 2 objects of type scatter.

The z-axis limits do not update to incorporate the new plot.

Switch back to automatically updated limits by setting the mode to automatic.

zlim auto

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains 2 objects of type scatter.

Create a 3-D scatter plot of random data. Return the values of the z-axis limits.

x = randn(50,1);
y = randn(50,1);
z = randn(50,1);
scatter3(x,y,z)

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type scatter.

zl = zlim
zl = 1×2

    -3     3

Input Arguments

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Minimum and maximum limits, specified as a two-element vector of the form [zmin zmax], where zmax is greater than zmin. You can specify the limits as numeric, categorical, datetime, or duration values. However, the type of values that you specify must match the type of values along the z-axis.

You can specify both limits, or specify one limit and let MATLAB automatically calculate the other. For an automatically calculated minimum or maximum limit, use -inf or inf, respectively. MATLAB uses the 'tight' limit method to calculate the corresponding limit.

Example: zlim([0 1])

Example: zlim([-inf 1])

Example: zlim([0 inf])

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

Limit selection method, specified as a value from the table.

The examples in the table show the approximate appearance for each method. Your results might differ depending on your data, the size of the axes, the viewing angle of the plot box, and the type of plot you create.

ValueDescriptionExample
'tickaligned'

In general, align the edges of the axes box with the tick marks that are closest to your data without excluding any data. The appearance might vary depending on the type of data you plot and the type of chart you create.

Plotted surface with 'tickaligned' limit method.

'tight'

Fit the axes box tightly around the data by setting the axis limits to the data range.

Plotted surface with 'tight' limit method.

'padded'

Fit the axes box around the data with a thin margin of padding on each side. The width of the margin is approximately 7% of the data range.

Plotted surface with 'padded' limit method.

Note

The limit method has no effect when the ZLimMode property of the axes is set to 'manual'.

Limit mode, specified as one of the following values:

  • 'auto' — Enable automatic limit selection, which is based on the total span of the data and the value of the ZLimitMethod property of the axes. If you plot into the axes multiple times, the limits update to encompass all the data. You can use this option if you change the limits and want to set them back to the default values.

  • 'manual' — Freeze the limits at the current values. Use this option if you want to retain the current limits when adding new data to the axes using the hold on command.

When you specify this argument, MATLAB sets the ZLimMode property of the axes to the value you specify. However, the ZLimMode property changes to 'manual' whenever you set the z-axis limits explicitly, either by calling zlim(limits), or by setting the value of the ZLim property on the axes.

Target axes, specified as an Axes object or an array of Axes objects.

If you do not specify this argument, then zlim sets the limits on the current axes.

Output Arguments

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Current limits, returned as a two-element vector of the form [zmin zmax].

Querying the limits returns the ZLim property value for the corresponding Axes object.

Current limits mode, returned as one of these values:

  • 'auto' — Automatically determine the limits.

  • 'manual' — Use manually specified limits that do not update to reflect changes in the data.

Querying the z-axis limits mode returns the ZLimMode property value for the corresponding Axes object.

Algorithms

The zlim function sets and queries several axes properties related to the z-axis limits.

  • ZLim — Property that stores the z-axis limits.

  • ZLimMode — Property that stores the z-axis limits mode. When you set the z-axis limits, this property changes to 'manual'.

  • ZLimitMethod — Property that controls how the z-axis limits are calculated when the ZLimMode property is set to 'auto'.

Introduced before R2006a