# pgfplots and figure centering

I'm wondering about a way to exclude the axis labels and axis graduation from how latex will center the figure with respect to the caption. Labels and graduation along the y-axis (assuming it lies on the left of the figure) will tend to move the rest of the content to the right. I feel like it looks better when only the "main" content serves for centering purposes. Is such feature available?

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The straight-forward and manual way would be use negative spacing (via \hspace*{<hspace>}). But I guess you want something more robust. – Werner Aug 10 '11 at 18:01
Related question: Centering a TikZ picture around an area – Martin Scharrer Aug 10 '11 at 18:21
@Martin: I missed it. If I am correct, it is from May: is there something new? – pluton Aug 10 '11 at 19:41

Using pgf 2.10, you can provide the arguments trim axis left and trim axis right to the tikzpicture environment:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{pgfplots}

\begin{document}

\centering
\begin{tikzpicture}[trim axis left, trim axis right]
\begin{axis}[ylabel={$y$},
xlabel={$x$}]
\end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}

(a)

\bigskip \bigskip

\begin{tikzpicture} % Example of leaving this out
\begin{axis}[ylabel={$y$},
xlabel={$x$}]
\end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}

(a)

\end{document}


gives

This works without disturbing the bounding box for the purposes of image externalisation and so forth (avoiding some of the problems discussed in @Martin's earlier question).

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I've updated your code and image to more clearly highlight the experimental feature of pgfplots. The wide y-axis label distracted from the horizontal alignment, since there was no context (like a label (a), say, that I've added). Feel free to rollback if this is unwanted. Good find on trim left axis and trim right axis though! – Werner Aug 10 '11 at 20:47
oh, I see - yes, this is a better way of demonstrating the centering than artificially broadening the y-axis label and needing to show the page margins. Thanks! Incidentally, although this is marked as experimental in the pgfplots manual, that refers to pgf 2.00: the relevant code has been incorporated into pgf 2.10 so it should be pretty generally usable, I think. – Ant Aug 10 '11 at 21:04
You're right - I was looking at an older version of the manual. Actually, much older than 2.00. – Werner Aug 10 '11 at 21:05
I've tried the provided code in a externalization setting, and the margins are not updated, meaning there is no centering. Is there something else that can be done then? – pluton Jun 15 '12 at 13:47