Print figure or save to specific file format
saves the current
figure to a file using the specified file format, such as
print('BarPlot','-dpng'). If the file name does not
include an extension, then
additional options that are available for some formats.
print( specifies the printer. Specify the
printer as a character vector or string containing the printer name preceded by
-P, for example,
'-Pmy printer'. The
printer must be set up on your system.
the driver. Use this option if you want to ensure that the printed
output is either black and white or color.
the current figure to the clipboard using the format specified by
You can paste the copied figure into other applications.
print( maximizes the figure
size to fill the page. Specify
'-bestfit' to preserve the figure's aspect ratio or
'-fillpage' to ignore the aspect ratio. These options are
valid only when saving to a page format (PDF, and PS) or printing to a printer.
Use this option with any of the input arguments from the previous
print( uses the specified
resolution. Specify the resolution as a character vector or string containing an
integer value preceded by
-r, for example,
'-r200'. Use this option with any of the input arguments
from the previous syntaxes.
the specified renderer. Specify the renderer as either
returns the RGB image
data for the current figure. This option differs from screen captures in that
all printing features apply to the output. You can also specify the
cdata = print('-RGBImage');
fig options with this syntax. However, you cannot
specify a Simulink block diagram.
Print Paper Copy of Figure
Create a bar chart and print it to your system
default printer. If you do not specify the figure to print, then
Copy Figure to Clipboard
Create a plot and copy it to the system clipboard.
You can paste the copied plot into other applications.
Save Figure as Image File
Create a plot and save it as a PNG image file.
Save Figure as Vector Graphics File
Create a plot and save it as an Encapsulated PostScript® file.
Add TIFF Preview to EPS File
Save the current figure as an Encapsulated PostScript File and add a TIFF preview.
Specify Figure to Save
Save a specific figure by passing its object
fig = figure; plot(1:10) print(fig,'MySavedPlot','-dpng')
Alternatively, refer to a figure using the value of its
which is the integer value that displays in the figure window title
bar. For example, save the figure with
Figure 2 displayed
in the title bar. Precede the integer value by
figure(2); plot(1:10) print('-f2','MySavedPlot','-dpng')
Save Figure at Screen Size and Resolution
Save a surface plot to a PNG file. Set the
for the figure to
'auto' so that it saves at the
size displayed on the screen. Use
'-r0' to save
it with screen resolution.
surf(peaks) set(gcf,'PaperPositionMode','auto') print('PeaksSurface','-dpng','-r0')
Save Figure that Fills Page
Save a figure that fills the page using the
bar([1 10 7 8 2 2 9 3 6]) print('FillPageFigure','-dpdf','-fillpage')
Return RGB Image Data for Figure
Return the RGB image data for a figure.
surf(peaks) cdata = print('-RGBImage');
Display the image data at full resolution using
Create High Resolution Movie Frame
Create a surface plot. Return the RGB image data for the
figure and specify the image resolution. Then, convert the image data to a movie
surf(peaks) cdata = print('-RGBImage','-r120'); F = im2frame(cdata);
filename — File name
character vector | string
File name, specified as a character vector or string containing the desired file name and path.
'My Saved Chart'
'Folder\My Saved Chart'
"My Saved Chart"
The maximum file name length, including the path, is operating system and file format specific. Typically, the file name should be no more than 126 characters, or if you include the path, then no more than 128 characters.
formattype — File format
File format, specified as one of the options in these tables.
An image file contains a pixel-based representation of figure. The size of the generated file depends on the figure, the format, and your system resolution. Images are widely used by web browsers and other applications that display graphics. However, they do not support transparency or scale well and you cannot modify individual graphics objects, such as lines and text, in other graphics applications.
This table lists the supported image formats.
|Option||Image Format||Corresponding File Extension|
|TIFF 24-bit (compressed)|
|TIFF 24-bit (not compressed)|
|Enhanced metafile (Windows only)|
Vector Graphics File
Vector graphics files store commands that redraw the figure. This type of format scales well, but can result in a large file. In some cases, vector graphics might contain stray lines or other visual artifacts. Some applications support extensive editing of vector graphics formats. However, some applications do not support editing beyond resizing the graphic. In general, try to make all the necessary changes while your figure is still in MATLAB®.
If you set the
Renderer property for the figure, then
'-vector' as an input argument to the
If you want output that has transparency, then create a vector graphics file using a Metafile, PDF, or SVG format. If you use an EPS format, then transparency is only supported for the figure and axes backgrounds. Image files do not support transparency, but will closely match what is shown on screen to give the appearance of transparency.
The default figure renderer is OpenGL®. If the figure renderer
differs from the renderer used when generating output, some details
of the saved figure can differ from the figure on the display. If
necessary, you can make the displayed figure and the saved figure
use the same renderer. Set the
for the figure or specify the
argument to the
This table lists the supported vector graphics formats.
|Option||Vector Graphics Format||Corresponding File Extension|
|Full page Portable Document Format (PDF) color|
|Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) Level 3 black and white|
|Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) Level 3 color|
|Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) Level 2 black and white|
|Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) Level 2 color|
|Enhanced Metafile (Windows® only)|
|SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)|
You cannot save Simulink block diagrams as EPS files.
Only the PDF format uses the first two elements of the
PaperPosition property. Other formats ignore
formatoptions — Additional formatting options
Additional formatting options supported by some file formats, specified as one or more of these values:
'-tiff'— Include a TIFF preview. EPS files only.
'-loose'— Use a loose bounding box. EPS and PS files only.
'-cmyk'— Use CMYK colors instead of RGB colors. EPS and PS files only.
'-append'— Append the figure to an existing PS file. PS files only.
print('my file','-deps','-tiff','-loose') saves
the current figure to the file
my file.eps using
a loose bounding box and includes a TIFF preview.
printer — Printer name
character vector | string
Printer name, specified as a character vector or string containing
the printer name.
'-Pmy local printer'
"-Pmy local printer"
To view a list of available printers, use this command:
[~,printers] = findprinters
If you do not specify a printer, then
driver — Printer driver
Printer driver, specified as
'-dprnc'. If you do
not specify a driver, then
The option you use depends on your system, for example:
|Windows||Black and white|
|Linux® or Mac||Black and white|
clipboardformat — Format copied to clipboard
Format copied to clipboard, specified as one of these options:
'-dmeta'— Enhanced metafile (Windows only)
'-dbitmap'— Image file (Windows and Mac OS)
'-dpdf'— PDF file (Windows and Mac OS)
resize — Option to expand figure to fill page
Option to expand figure to fill page, specified as one of these values:
'-fillpage'— Maximize the size of the figure to fill the page. Leave a .25 inch margin on all sides of the page. The tick marks, layout, and aspect ratio of the figure might change.
'-bestfit'— Maximize the size of the figure to fill the page, but preserve the aspect ratio of the figure. The figure might not fill the entire page. This option leaves a minimum page margin of .25 inches.
Both options are valid only when printing a figure to a printer or saving to a page format such as PDF and PS. They are not valid for Simulink block diagrams.
resolution — Resolution
character vector | string
Resolution, specified as a character vector or a string containing
an integer value indicating the resolution in dots per inch. For example,
'-r300' sets the output resolution to 300 dots per
inch. To specify screen resolution, use
In general, using a higher resolution value yields higher-quality output, but at the cost of higher memory use and larger output files. The higher the resolution setting, the longer it takes to render your figure.
Specifying the resolution is useful when creating an image or when using the OpenGL renderer with a vector graphics file format (since OpenGL produces an image even with vector formats). Specifying the resolution has no effect when using the Painters renderer with a vector graphics file format, since Painters produces a true vector graphics file that contains the commands that redraw the figure.
Simulink printing does not support the resolution option. For higher quality output of Simulink models, use a vector format such as SVG or PDF.
renderer — Graphics renderer
Graphics renderer, specified as
'-image'— OpenGL renderer. Use this renderer when saving images. OpenGL produces an image even with vector formats, which might limit the extent to which you can edit the image in other applications.
'-vector'— Creates vector graphics output. Use this renderer when saving vector graphics files. If you save to a vector graphics file and if the figure
RendererModeproperty is set to
'-vector'option. For example:
If you save a file with the
you might encounter one or more of the following issues:
Longer rendering times
Incorrect arrangement of graphics objects in 3-D views
Lines that disappear if they are thinner than one pixel
If you do not specify the renderer, then
Renderer property for the
fig — Figure, Simulink block diagram
figure object | Simulink block diagram
Figure object or Simulink block diagram. You can refer
to a figure using either its object variable name or using the figure
number preceded by
-f. For example,
to the figure with a
Number property value of
When specifying a Simulink block diagram, precede the model name
-s. Specify the current model using
You cannot save Simulink block diagrams as EPS files.
cdata — Image data
Image data, returned as an n-by-m-by-3 array. The size of the
image data array depends on the
of the figure and the output resolution.
Starting in R2015b, if you use
'-r0' option on a high-resolution system, then
the size of the
cdata output array is larger than
in previous releases or on other systems. Also, the number of elements
cdata might not match the size of the figure
in pixels based on the figure’s
and the root’s
For more information, see DPI-Aware Behavior in MATLAB.
Starting MATLAB in no display mode on Linux or using the
-noFigureWindowsstartup option on any platform has these limitations for
Printing or saving figures with visible uicontrols errors. To print or save the figure, hide the uicontrols by setting their
'off', or use the
'-noui'option with the
Always uses the painters renderer, even if you specify the
In MATLAB Online™,
The current figure is typically the last figure that you create or click with the mouse. User interaction can change the current figure.
To print a specific figure, specify the figure as the first input
argument. If you do not specify a figure, then the
returns empty, then
You can set properties of the figure to control some printing and saving parameters. This table lists properties of the figure related to printing and saving.
Figure Property Description
Size of the printed or saved figure. If printing to a printer or a full-page output format, then this property also determines the figure location on the page.
Specifies whether to use the
PaperPositionproperty or the size of the figure on the screen to set the size of the printed or saved figure.
Specifies whether to use the current background color of the figure or to change the background color to white when printing or saving the figure.
Figure orientation on printed page.
Standard printer paper size.
Custom width and height of printer paper.
Units for the
If you are using a Linux or Mac system and get an error about an invalid or unrecognized printer, save the contents of the figure as a PDF file. For example:Then print the PDF file using an external PDF viewer.
If you print a figure that has a callback defined for the
SizeChangedFcnproperty and if the output size differs from the size of the figure on the screen, then the
PaperPositionModeproperty for the figure to
Since in R2020a
exportgraphics function saves the contents of any axes, figure, chart
that can be a child of a figure, tiled chart layout, or container such as a panel. This
function provides a better alternative to the
Save graphics displayed in an app or in MATLAB Online
Minimize the white space around the content
Save a PDF fragment with embeddable fonts
Save a multipage PDF (since R2021b)
Save a subset of the content in the figure
Control the background color without having to modify properties on the figure
copygraphics function provides much of the same functionality as the
exportgraphics function, except that it copies the content to
your system clipboard instead of saving it to a file. Use this function to copy and
paste content from MATLAB into other applications.
Version HistoryIntroduced before R2006a
R2022b: UI components will not be supported in a future release
In a future release, the
'-noui' option when calling
To export a figure containing UI components, call the
exportapp function. For example, create a simple app containing two
buttons and a slider. Export the contents of the figure as a PDF file by calling the
% Create figure with three UI components f = uifigure; button1 = uibutton(f,"Position",[150 300 100 50]); button2 = uibutton(f,"Position",[300 300 100 50]); slider1 = uislider(f,"Position",[150 250 250 3]); % Export the contents of the figure exportapp(f,"myapp.pdf")
Alternatively, call the
getframe function to capture the
contents of the figure. Then call the
imwrite function to save the
content. This time, save the content as a JPEG file.
F = getframe(f); imwrite(F.cdata,"myapp.jpg");
R2022b: PostScript (
.ps) files will not be supported in a future release
In a future release, the
.ps) files. To export vector graphics files, use
one of these methods:
exportgraphics function. Specify an
.emf file extension and set the
ContentType option to
function captures content that is tightly cropped around plots, and it does not
create full-page output. For example, create a plot and save the contents of the
current figure as a PDF file containing vector graphics.
plot([0 3 2 4 1]); exportgraphics(gcf,"myplot.pdf","ContentType","vector")
Alternatively, call the
file extension. For example, create a plot and save the contents of the current
figure as an EPS file.
plot([0 3 2 4 1]); print("myplot.eps","-depsc")
For the PostScript options supported in earlier releases, see print (22a).
R2022b: BMP, HDF, PBM, PCX, PGM, and PPM files will not be supported in a future release
The BMP, HDF, PBM, PCX, PGM, and PPM file formats will no longer be supported in a future release.
To export graphics using one of these formats, use the
imwrite function instead. For
example, create a line plot, and capture the contents of the current figure using
getframe function. Then save the
content as a BMP file.
plot([0 3 2 4 1]); F = getframe(gcf); imwrite(F.cdata,"myplot.bmp");
For the file format options supported in earlier releases, see print (R2022a).
-painters, are not recommended
|Not Recommended||Replacement Option|
R2016a: Printed and Saved Figures Match On-Screen Size
Printed and saved figures match the size of the figure on the screen by default. Previously, printed and saved figures were 8-by-6 inches by default.