Drag rectangles with mouse


[finalrect] = dragrect(initialrect)
[finalrect] = dragrect(initialrect,stepsize)


[finalrect] = dragrect(initialrect) tracks one or more rectangles anywhere on the screen. The n-by-4 matrix initialrect defines the rectangles. Each row of initialrect must contain the initial rectangle position as [left bottom width height] values. dragrect returns the final position of the rectangles in finalrect.

[finalrect] = dragrect(initialrect,stepsize) moves the rectangles in increments of stepsize. The lower left corner of the first rectangle is constrained to a grid of size equal to stepsize starting at the lower left corner of the figure, and all other rectangles maintain their original offset from the first rectangle.

[finalrect] = dragrect(...) returns the final positions of the rectangles when the mouse button is released. The default step size is 1.


Drag a rectangle with dimensions of 50-by-100 pixels.

point1 = get(gcf,'CurrentPoint') % button down detected
rect = [point1(1,1) point1(1,2) 50 100]
[r2] = dragrect(rect)

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Distances in pixels are independent of your system resolution on Windows® and Macintosh systems:

  • On Windows systems, a pixel is 1/96th of an inch.

  • On Macintosh systems, a pixel is 1/72nd of an inch.

On Linux® systems, the size of a pixel is determined by your system resolution.


dragrect returns immediately if a mouse button is not currently pressed. Use dragrect in a ButtonDownFcn, or from the command line in conjunction with waitforbuttonpress, to ensure that the mouse button is down when dragrect is called. dragrect returns when you release the mouse button.

If the drag ends over a figure window, the positions of the rectangles are returned in that figure's coordinate system. If the drag ends over a part of the screen not contained within a figure window, the rectangles are returned in the coordinate system of the figure over which the drag began.


You cannot use normalized figure units with dragrect.

Introduced before R2006a