How to change the color of individual bars in a bar chart?

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Make a simple bar chart (and get its handle):

rng default
hb = bar(rand(1,3));

How can I set the colors of those bars now (after I have made the figure)? I want each bar to be a different color.

I am specifically asking about MATLAB R2016b.

I asked a very similar question about MATLAB R2014b earlier, but that method no longer seems to work. (Or I am overlooking something again.

Accepted Answer

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 1 Nov 2016
Edited: Image Analyst on 1 Nov 2016
See attached demo.
Sorry - it's basically the same as what Sean did, just fancier and more flexible. You could put a wrapper around it to make it easier to use though.

More Answers (4)

Scott MacKenzie
Scott MacKenzie on 18 Apr 2021
Edited: Scott MacKenzie on 18 Apr 2021
Here's a simple solution. Notably, all the bar colors are set in a single statement (provided the new colors are pre-defined in a matrix).
x = 1:3;
y = randi(100,1,3);
clr = [223 145 167;
178 198 65;
134 156 211] / 255;
b = bar(x, y, 'facecolor', 'flat');
b.CData = clr;

Dr. Murtaza Khan
Dr. Murtaza Khan on 16 Mar 2019
Edited: Dr. Murtaza Khan on 16 Mar 2019
color= ['r','g','b','k'];
figure, hold on
% % if data is more than colors then colors will be repeated
m = length(color);
for k = 1:length(mydata)
i = mod(k-1,m); %%i is remainder after division of k-1 by m
i = i+1;

Yaser Khojah
Yaser Khojah on 21 Oct 2019
how would you show the legend color here?

Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 31 Oct 2016
Why not just make a second bar?
y = rand(1,3);
hb = bar(y);
hold on
hbr = bar(2,y(2),'r');
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 1 Nov 2016
I don't know of a way to do it using documented properties. You can trick bar into returning a bar array by padding with NaNs but then you need to deal with limits and ticks yourself all while still creating more bars so it's not saving you anything but is adding more headache.
b = bar([rand(1,3);nan(1,3)],'b')
b(2).FaceColor = 'r'
Which is why calling bar a few times is really not the end of the world. It's not like with a line where there could be millions of points so you're going to chew up data to plot duplicate lines. Most figures will only have less than few dozen bars total.
All of this said, I think it's a fair enhancement request to have an option to get back a handle to each bar separately.

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