With pgfplots I'm experiencing some trouble with tick label format with some "higher" value of coordinates. Here a sample code which is working fine:

      \begin{axis}[yticklabel style={/pgf/number format/.cd,1000 sep={\,}}]
            \addplot[red] coordinates{(1, 200) (2, 1500) (3, 9000)};

But changing the of (3,9000) by (3,10000) generate this error:

! Package pgfkeys Error: I do not know the key '/pgf/number format/at', to which you passed '(0,1)'

What's happening?

1 Answer 1


It happens because you change the key family to number format and the next key after evaluating this is the position of the label which is a TikZ key. But because the current key family is /pgf/number format it appends it and hence looks for /pgf/number format/at

Use /pgf/number format/1000 sep instead (you also have to turn the scaling of the axis too).

  • 1
    Alternatively, you can use scaled ticks=false, yticklabel style={/pgf/number format/.cd, 1000 sep={\,}}. But I agree, for a single key it's better not to use the .cd functionality.
    – Jake
    Oct 9, 2016 at 15:38
  • @Jake I'm a bit inclined to see this as more than a shortcoming but less than a bug.
    – percusse
    Oct 9, 2016 at 15:39
  • Yeah, I agree. Understanding this behaviour requires more knowledge of the internals of PGF and PGFPlots than a "normal" user should need to have. I think it would be good if the examples in the documentation didn't use /.cd at all, but just stuck to the full keys.
    – Jake
    Oct 9, 2016 at 15:48
  • 1
    Thanks. Finally this : scaled ticks=false, yticklabel style={/pgf/number format/.cd,1000 sep={\,},fixed} works to obtain the good format for me : thousands separation and no scientific notation. Oct 9, 2016 at 16:08

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