Good morning,

I have some .txt files that contain 3 columns of data: the first one corresponds to the x-axis value of each point, the second one corresponds to the y-axis value of each point, and the third one corresponds to the value that i want in the color bar (meta index).

When I plot the whole thing, the colorbar does not scale with the data in the third column of my txt files.

Here is my code:

% *** PACKAGES ***
\usepackage{standalone} % Pour les stand-alone
\usepackage[usenames,dvipsnames]{xcolor} % 68 dvips colors à déclarer avant tikz
\usepackage{tikz} % Pour les figure Tikz
\usepackage{pgfplots} % Pour tracer les courbes à partir de fichiers de données
\usepackage{pgfplotstable} % Pour pouvoir lire les tableaux des fichiers .txt
% *** PACKAGES END ***
\pgfplotsset{compat=1.12} % pour définir la version de pgfplots
/pgfplots/colormap={hsv2}{rgb255(0cm)=(0,0,0) rgb255(0.10cm)=(128,0,128) rgb255(0.5cm)=(0,0,230)
rgb255(1.cm)=(0,255,255) rgb255(2.5cm)=(0,255,0) rgb255(3.5cm)=(255,255,0) rgb255(6cm)=(255,0,0)}
} % Pour définir les couleurs de la colomap
\tikzset{mark options={mark size=1.5, line width=0.01pt}}
            clip mode=individual, % Pour plot dans l'ordre
    colorbar style={ylabel=$C_{ligne,si}$},%,ytick={0,0.2,...,1}},
    minor x tick num=1,
            xlabel={Real($\lambda (A)$)},
    minor y tick num=1,
            ylabel={Imag($\lambda (A)$)},
    tick label style={font=\footnotesize},
\foreach \m in {1,2,...,100}
{\edef\temp{\noexpand\addplot+[mark=*,only marks,scatter,scatter src=explicit] table[x index=0,y index=1,meta index=2] {./DATA_01/Valeurs_Propres_\m.txt};}\temp}

and here is the end result that I get: LaTeX output

The color bar starts at 10^-6 and goes up to 10^-3; Now I would like the colorbar to scale logarithmically (instead of linearly) so that the "space" between 10^-6 and 10^-5 is the same than between 10^-5 and 10^-4 and between 10^-4 and 10^-3.

I am joining a .zip with my folder containing my .tex files and the .txt files if someone is willing to go this far to help me. You can download it here.

Thank you very much for your help!


  • Please post that as a full answer below.
    – Alenanno
    Feb 3, 2016 at 13:12
  • 1
    VieuxSinge, don't edit your Question. A question should never have the answer inside it. Remove the edit, and post an answer below.
    – Alenanno
    Feb 3, 2016 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


In your answer you just show the colorbar in log values, but didn't "transform" the meta data. To do so use meta expr={log10(\thisrowno{2})}. But then the \foreach loop does result in an error, because the meta expr doens't get expanded. To overcome this issue replace the loop with \pgfplotsinvokeforeach.

So that others can reproduce that it works, I have shortened the data files to two files, which together show values including min and max values from the original data files. In the following picture you see the result including all data points.

    9.92E+00    5.50E+02    6.43E-05
    4.05E+01    5.99E+02    4.98E-05
    7.45E+01    6.52E+02    3.84E-05
    1.12E+02    7.12E+02    2.94E-05
    1.54E+02    7.77E+02    2.23E-05
    2.01E+02    8.51E+02    1.68E-05
    2.53E+02    9.35E+02    1.26E-05
    3.13E+02    1.03E+03    9.29E-06
    3.81E+02    1.14E+03    6.77E-06
    4.60E+02    1.27E+03    4.85E-06
    5.53E+02    1.42E+03    3.41E-06
    6.64E+02    1.61E+03    2.34E-06
    8.00E+02    1.84E+03    1.56E-06
    9.70E+02    2.12E+03    1.00E-06
    -1.61E+02   2.77E+02    1.00E-03
    -1.57E+02   2.81E+02    8.47E-04
    -1.52E+02   2.88E+02    6.79E-04
    -1.45E+02   2.98E+02    5.42E-04
    -1.37E+02   3.10E+02    4.33E-04
    -1.26E+02   3.25E+02    3.44E-04
    -1.14E+02   3.45E+02    2.73E-04
    -9.96E+01   3.69E+02    2.17E-04
    -8.30E+01   3.97E+02    1.71E-04
    -6.39E+01   4.29E+02    1.35E-04
    -4.22E+01   4.66E+02    1.06E-04
    -1.76E+01   5.06E+02    8.26E-05
        mark options={
            mark size=1.5,
            line width=0.01pt,
            colorbar style={
            xlabel={Real($\lambda (A)$)},
            ylabel={Imag($\lambda (A)$)},
            tick label style={
            % -----
            % added so that the boundaries are very similar
            % to the plot in the question
            \pgfplotsinvokeforeach {1,2} {
                \addplot+ [
                    only marks,
                    scatter src=explicit,
                ] table [
                    x index=0,
                    y index=1,
                    % calculate the log of the data
                    meta expr={log10(\thisrowno{2})},
                ] {DATA_01/Valeurs_Propres_Shortened_#1.txt};

image showing result of above code

Please note, that there are a lot of values three times in the data files. Hopefully this is right and not a copy/paste failure or the like.

  • Yes this is normal! I have several Eigenvalues that are identical in the data files. Thanks a lot for your help! i'll try it
    – VieuxSinge
    Feb 5, 2016 at 12:58

I've found how to have a log axis, I should have read the colorbar part in the manual better. I just had to add ymode=log:

colorbar style={ylabel=$C_{ligne,si}$,ymode=log,ytick={1e-6,1e-5,1e-4,1e-3}},

Here is the end result: enter image description here

Now the problem is, the axis changed, but the colors are incorrect: the colors in the figure have not changed even though the corresponding values in the colorbar are not the same anymore due to the log axis (for example, previously, 10^-4 corresponded to blue while now it should correspond to orange in the colorbar, yet the colors have not changed in the Figure, only in the colorbar). I have no idea why...

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