I try to understand coordinate systems of pgfplots, an MWE is as follows:

\usepackage{tikz, pgfplots}


\begin{axis}[width=\textwidth, height=0.7\textwidth, restrict x to domain = 1:10, xmin=1, xmax=10, clip=false]
\addplot gnuplot[raw gnuplot, color=red, no marks, thick]{set samples 1000; plot x**2*sin(x)};
\filldraw[blue!50] (rel axis cs:-0.1,1.1) rectangle +(axis cs:2,1);

Actually I need to draw some graph (function or table with points) and several primitives (lines, rectangles) above of that graph. Because I don't know in advance maximum y-value I use relative coordinates for primitives. But I also need to use axis cs: coordinates for x in primitives. Is it possible to mix different coordinate systems: \draw (a,b) rectangle (c,d), where a and c are in rel axis cs:, but b and d are in axis cs:?

And the second question: how to clip primitives to same x limits as for graph? In my MWE rectangle starts at some coordinate (say, x=0) and I want it to be clipped at x=1, as the graph. If I use clip=true this will completely erase the rectangle.

  • You can access the min/max values of the axis with e.g. \pgfkeysvalueof{/pgfplots/xmin}, see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/22018/… – Torbjørn T. Aug 31 '17 at 13:10
  • I don't really understand your last question. Your entire rectangle is outside the axis, so naturally the whole thing disappears with (the default) clip=true. Try \filldraw[blue!50] (rel axis cs:-0.1,1.1) rectangle (axis cs:2,1);, you'll see that the blue rectangle does appear. (You have +(axis cs:2,1) in your code.) – Torbjørn T. Aug 31 '17 at 13:16
  • This is not what I need, sorry, or I don't understand how to use that answer. It is said there that xmin, ... etc. should be set explicitly, but I dont know ymax before the graph. So, e.g. I need to draw rectangle from (0,70) to (2,75). How can I do this if I don't know "70" -- value depending on ymax? – Alx Aug 31 '17 at 13:27
  • 1
    Oh sorry, that part is a bit outdated, it also works if xmin etc. is not set explicitly. \draw (0,\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgfplots/ymax}-5) rectangle (2,\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgfplots/ymax});? – Torbjørn T. Aug 31 '17 at 13:31
  • Concerning my second question. I draw somehow rectangle from (0,70) to (2,75), and graph below. And I want to clip this rectangle to be from (1,70) to (2,75). In other words, initially I have graph and rectngle start from x=0, and then I want to clip both to start from x=1. How to do this? – Alx Aug 31 '17 at 13:32

Unfortunately your question isn't very precise so I am a bit guessing what you really want. If this isn't what you are asking for, please edit your question accordingly.

Please have a look at the comments of the code for details.

% used PGFPlots v.1.15
    % use this `compat' level or higher so you don't need to prepend
    % TikZ coordinates by `axis cs:' because it is the default coordinate
    % system then
        % use this key--value only, if you really need to draw something
        % outside the axis limits
        % just in case you cross the axis border, it should be drawn on top
        % of everything
        axis on top,
        \addplot gnuplot [
            raw gnuplot,
            no marks,
            % there is no need for the 1000 samples, the default is fine
            % when used together with `smooth'
            % added plot limits here
            plot [1:10] x**2*sin(x);

        \filldraw [blue!50]
            % -----------------------------------------------------------------
            % here is a way how you can mix different coordinate systems
            ({rel axis cs:-0.05,0} |- {axis cs:0,15})
            % (as written above: when using an appropriate `compat' level
            %  there is no need to write `axis cs:')
            ({rel axis cs:0.3,0} |- {0,35})
            % -----------------------------------------------------------------

        % ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        % use a scope and `\clip' to solve problem b
        % (of course you can also use the above shown method of mixing
        %  coordinate systems here, but in addition you can access the axis
        %  limits and use them directly)
                (rel axis cs:1,1)
            \fill [green!50] ({rel axis cs:0.1,0} |- {axis cs:0,-50})
                circle (50pt);
        % ---------------------------------------------------------------------

image showing the result of above code

  • Thank you! I can use your method of scope and clip with some modifications. – Alx Aug 31 '17 at 14:01

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