I have created a nice plot in Matlab and converted it into tikz with the matlab2tikz library. It works great but there are two problems:

  1. The ticks of the axis are not good. Especially for the y-axis there should be more ticks and a tick at -16 and 5 (at the bounds) as well as -6 (the middle). For the axis equal plot (the last plot below), the number of ticks should be the same for the x-axis and y-axis.
  2. The caption seems no to be centered.

How can these two problems be solved?

First, let me show the Matlab code:

h = figure('outerposition', [0 0 1920 1080]);
set(h, 'Units', 'centimeters');
hold on


a = 0:pi/100:2*pi;
b = sin(a);

hold off
NumTicks = 11;
L = get(gca,'XLim');
set(gca, 'FontSize', 24, 'fontname', 'times');
xlabel('x', 'Interpreter','latex', 'fontsize', 24);
ylabel('y', 'Interpreter','latex', 'fontsize', 24);
title('This is a Test', 'Interpreter','latex', 'fontsize', 24);
box on

% Export to tikz
matlab2tikz('test.tikz', 'height', '\figureheight', 'width', '\figurewidth', 'showInfo', false);

When exported to .png the plots looks as follows:

enter image description here

Now I included the test.tikz into a LaTeX document in the following way:

\pgfplotsset{plot coordinates/math parser=false}

    \caption{This is my caption}

The output looks as follows:

enter image description here

It is visible that especially the y-axis have misplaced ticks (no ticks at -16,-6 and 4) and too few ticks.

When I use \setlength\figurewidth{6cm}, i.e. a square (axis equal) plot, the output is the following:

enter image description here

For this type I would like to have the number of ticks for both axis the same.


2 Answers 2


The two problems can be fixed by editing the call to matlab2tikz to the following:

matlab2tikz('test.tikz', 'height', ...
    '\figureheight', 'width', '\figurewidth', ...
    'showInfo', false,...
    'extraaxisoptions','ytick={-16,-14,...,4}', ...
    'extratikzpictureoptions','trim axis left,trim axis right'...

Instead of the extraaxisoptions, you could alternatively set the yticks explicitly as well, as you have with the xticks (e.g. set(gca,'YTick',linspace(-16,4,NumTicks))). The thing is that if not told otherwise, pgfplots will determine tick locations by itself.

As for the caption, it is centered in your image, you have to consider that as far as LaTeX is concerned, it just sees a box, which it centers. That box contains not just the axis, but also the yticks and the ylabel. The extratikzpictureoptions shown above will set the bounding box of the tikzpicture so that anything left or right of the axis boundary is not considered. That way, the caption will be centered relative to the axis, but on the other hand the diagram as a whole will be offset a bit to the left.

  • Thank you so much for your answer. This worked well. The problem is that I have created a lot of plots and setting the ticks manually is very time consuming. Most of the time I have just let Matlab choosing the ticks. Is it not possible to force pgfplots to determine better tick locations itself? Matlab can do this also on its own...
    – machinery
    Jun 3, 2016 at 22:08
  • Second, how can I make the font for the plot smaller than the font of my document?
    – machinery
    Jun 3, 2016 at 22:10
  • @machinery Define "better". One option could be to set the distance between ticks with for example ytick distance=2. Another could be matlab2tikz('test.tikz', 'extraaxisoptions','small,width=\figurewidth,height=\figureheight'); The small key will reduce the fontsize, and potentially (because the ticklabels are smaller) give you more ticks. For even smaller fonts, you can try footnotesize or tiny instead of small. Jun 4, 2016 at 6:15
  • small and the similar styles sets the width, and because extraaxisoptions are added at the end of the list of options, you need to add the width and height key there as well. Jun 4, 2016 at 6:17
  • Is it also possible to set the fontsize (of the axis labels, legends etc.) inside LaTeX, i.e. when I include the tikz? In this way I would not have to bother about fontsize at plotting (Matlab) time.
    – machinery
    Jun 4, 2016 at 10:11

I also faced a similar problem. However, the solution from Torbjørn T. is not automatic. Meaning, it needs information of the range of the data.

To make things automatic, use \pgfplotsset{try min ticks=6} in the document preamble. Replace 6 with number of ticks you prefer.

Referred from here.

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