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How can I save a figure within app designer?

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I've developed an application using the new App Designer. I'd like to have users be able to click a button and save a figure to a .fig file, or some other image format.
function ButtonSaveFigureButtonPushed(app)
newfigure = figure;
copyobj(app.UIAxesAP, newfigure);
hgsave(newfigure, 'testFIgure.fig');
But that gave me the error...
Error using matlab.ui.control.UIAxes/copyElement (line 1219)
Functionality not supported with UIAxes. For more information, see Graphics Support in App Designer.
What's the best way to go about this?
  6 Commenti
Ankush il 14 Set 2022
@Saurabh Chaudhary how did you save the .fig file of the uifigure?
Saurabh Chaudhary
Saurabh Chaudhary il 16 Set 2022
Yes, I had saved the figure. When the figure pops-up you need to go to the file menu and select save as to save it at desired place.

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Risposta accettata

David il 4 Apr 2018
Modificato: David il 4 Apr 2018
I spent some time on this for my own purposes. The trick is to save the individual values from the figure into local variables to be used in a figure as follows:
h = figure;
h.Visible = 'off';
x = UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children.XData;
y = UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children.YData;
lgndName1 = UIAxes.Legend.String{1};
lgd = legend(lgndName1);
lgd.Box = UIAxes.Legend.Box;
lgd.Location = UIAxes.Legend.Location;
h.CurrentAxes.YLabel.String = UIAxes.YLabel.String;
h.CurrentAxes.YLabel.FontSize = UIAxes.YLabel.FontSize;
h.CurrentAxes.XLabel.String = UIAxes.XLabel.String;
h.CurrentAxes.XLabel.FontSize = UIAxes.XLabel.FontSize;
h.CurrentAxes.Title.String = UIAxes.Title.String;
h.CurrentAxes.Title.FontSize = UIAxes.Title.FontSize;
h.CurrentAxes.XLim = [0 max(x)];
h.CurrentAxes.XLim = [0 max(y)+1];
Notice I have the visibility off, because I don't want the user to see this going in the background.
Note: You will have to change "UIAxes" to whatever you've named your UI figure
You could also add more properties, but you will have to go into your figure and find the object name to use.
I hope this helps.
Edit: I should also mention that to get this to work as function, I had to make it a call function in a separate .m file. I made a function SaveFigures(UIAxes, SaveName) that is called when ButtonSaveFigureButtonPushed. I have multiple possible plots, which is why I allow the UIAxes to vary. (I use a switch case to make sure I save the correct plot.)
  7 Commenti
NE il 5 Mar 2019
Just a quick remark on otherwise very useful reply:
h.CurrentAxes.XLim = [0 max(y)+1];
Shouldn't that be
h.CurrentAxes.YLim = [0 max(y)+1];
Eric Sargent
Eric Sargent il 9 Dic 2020
As of R2020b copyobj supports copying a UIAxes object.

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Più risposte (14)

Joost il 2 Ott 2018
Modificato: Joost il 3 Ott 2018
Inspired by David's answer , I came up with this solution which I believe is more generic. My UIAxes contains a lot of graphics objects (mostly patch objects) which are all copied to a temporary figure and then saved. I took over some UIAxes properties (axes limits and data aspect ratio), but you can add any other property you need there. Specify fileName yourself. I put a button called 'Snapshot' in the app with a callback that contains the code below. Matlab R2018a was used.
% Create a temporary figure with axes.
fig = figure;
fig.Visible = 'off';
figAxes = axes(fig);
% Copy all UIAxes children, take over axes limits and aspect ratio.
allChildren = app.UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children;
copyobj(allChildren, figAxes)
figAxes.XLim = app.UIAxes.XLim;
figAxes.YLim = app.UIAxes.YLim;
figAxes.ZLim = app.UIAxes.ZLim;
figAxes.DataAspectRatio = app.UIAxes.DataAspectRatio;
% Save as png and fig files.
saveas(fig, fileName, 'png');
savefig(fig, fileName);
% Delete the temporary figure.
  12 Commenti
jichen guo
jichen guo il 23 Ott 2019
Hi Stevan,
Okay, I understand and sorry for the trouble.

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Adam Danz
Adam Danz il 24 Mar 2019
Modificato: Adam Danz il 21 Dic 2020
How can I save a figure within app designer?
Matlab r2016a or later
copyUIAxes(handle,parent) from the file exchange copies the content of uiaxes, and the legend and colorbar if requested, to a new figure. It's a substitute for Matlab's copyobj() which does not support uiaxes prior to r2020b.
% Example
fig = figure();
h = copyUIAxes(app.UIAxes, fig);
Alternatively, use a 3rd party app for screenshots.
Matlab r2020a or later
exportgraphics(obj,filename) stores a snapshot of a graphics object (axes or figure) to an image file (jpg,png,tiff,pdf,emf,eps,+more).
% Example
copygraphics(obj) copies a snapshot of a graphics object (axes or figure) to the system's clipboard for each copy-paste.
Matlab r2020b or later
Options (see this Community Highlight for a review)
copyobj(handle,parent) copies a graphics handle, including uiaxes in r2020b+, to a parent.
% Example
fig = figure();
copiedAxes = copyobj(app.UIAxes, fig);
exportapp(fig,filename) exports a UIFigure to a an image file (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, or PDF).
% Example
exportapp(app.UIFigure, 'C:\Users\name\Documents\Matlab\AppImage.png')
F = getframe(ax) or F = getframe(fig) captures the axes or figure as it appears on the screen as a movie frame. getframe() has been around for a long time but its support for uifigures started in r2020b.
% Example
F = getframe(app.UIFigure);
fig = figure();
This answer has been updated. The original answer is in a comment below.
  7 Commenti
Adam Danz
Adam Danz il 21 Apr 2020
Modificato: Adam Danz il 21 Apr 2020
Thanks for the feedback, Ramu Pradip. I'll think about implementing yyaxis functionality in copyUIAxes.
In the mean time, here's a simple way to use copyUIAxes with yyaxis plots. It copies the left and right axes individually (creating two axes on top of eachother).
% Create yyaxis plot within uiaxes
fig = uifigure();
ax = uiaxes(fig);
yyaxis(ax, 'left')
plot(ax, 1:5, rand(1,5), '-')
ylabel(ax, 'left')
yyaxis(ax, 'right')
plot(ax, 1:.2:5, rand(1,21), 'o')
ylabel(ax, 'right')
xlabel(ax, 'x axis')
title(ax, 'Title')
% Copy left and right axes to the same figure
newFig = figure;
yyaxis(ax, 'left')
axLeft = copyUIAxes(ax, newFig);
yyaxis(ax, 'right')
axRight = copyUIAxes(ax, newFig);
% Make some changes to the right axes
axRight.axes.Color = 'none'; % make transparent
axRight.axes.XTick = []; % remove duplicate x-ticks
axRight.axes.XLabel = []; % remove duplicate x-label
axRight.axes.Title = []; % remove duplicate title
Megan Renny
Megan Renny il 4 Mag 2022
@Adam Danz Thank you so much for your answer to this question!
Your code snippet
% Create new figure and new axes
axNew = axes;
% Copy all opjects from UIAxes to new axis
copyobj(app.UIAxes.Children, axNew)
Works for app designer axes in 2020b that have a left and right hand y axis as well!

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Guilherme Salgado Braga
Guilherme Salgado Braga il 24 Feb 2018
According to the R2017b documentation on:
Functions saveas and savefig are not yet supported.

Chao Gong
Chao Gong il 19 Giu 2019
Found the issue of this problem. it's because the 'Visible' property is set 'off'. A workaroudn is as below.
This is not currently possible in MATLAB.
As a workaround, please specify 'visible' option when calling 'openfig' to open the figure after it has been saved.
You can also set the "CreateFcn" property of the figure to a function which sets the "Visible" property to on. This allows you to save the figure when invisible but always make it visible when opening it later.
hFig = figure('Visible', 'off');
% Set CreateFcn callback
set(hFig, 'CreateFcn', 'set(gcbo,''Visible'',''on'')');
% Save Fig file
savefig(hFig, 'savedFigure.fig')

Dharmendra Sharma
Dharmendra Sharma il 15 Giu 2018
Modificato: Dharmendra Sharma il 15 Giu 2018
This is the one potential solution which works for me. First, plot the figure/figures in normal way without using uifigure for example see code below. Visibility is on in the following example-
figure('Name','Acc','NumberTitle','off','units','normalized','outerposition',[0 0 1 1])
Then create a separate matlab function file (and call that matlab function from matlab ui). the function may include code to extract figure properties and save the figures as png file. The following link explains the saving all the figures and the code as well-- see the link--
It just need some modifications and I included these in follwoing code-
function [] = handleFigures()
result = isfolder('figures');
if result==0
mkdir figures;
FolderName = 'figures'; % Your destination folder
FigList = findobj(allchild(0), 'flat', 'Type', 'figure');
for iFig = 1:length(FigList)-1
FigHandle = FigList(iFig);
FigName = get(FigHandle, 'Name');
saveas(FigHandle, fullfile(FolderName, [FigName, '.png']))
disp('closing figures');
close all

Chao Gong
Chao Gong il 19 Giu 2019
Hello David:
I am using the same method answer by you David on 4 Apr 2018. However, I tried to open the saved .fig files afterwards using Matlab, but it doesn't open or respond. The .png files are saved nicely.
Do you encounter similar problem? Is there any possible reason why the saved .fig can't be open?

Eric Sargent
Eric Sargent il 9 Dic 2020
As of R2020b copyobj supports copying a UIAxes object.

Thamer Al-Zuriqat
Thamer Al-Zuriqat il 20 Dic 2020
Improved answer inspired by David and Joost , which is technically a combination of both solutions.
fig = figure;
fig.Visible = 'off';
figAxes = axes(fig);
% Copy all UIAxes children, take over axes limits and aspect ratio.
allChildren = app.UIAxes.XAxis.Parent.Children;
copyobj(allChildren, figAxes)
figAxes.XLim = app.UIAxes.XLim;
figAxes.YLim = app.UIAxes.YLim;
figAxes.ZLim = app.UIAxes.ZLim;
figAxes.DataAspectRatio = app.UIAxes.DataAspectRatio;
lgndName1 = app.UIAxes.Legend.String{1};
lgd = legend(lgndName1);
lgd.Box = app.UIAxes.Legend.Box;
lgd.Location = app.UIAxes.Legend.Location;
fig.CurrentAxes.YLabel.String = app.UIAxes.YLabel.String;
fig.CurrentAxes.YLabel.FontSize = app.UIAxes.YLabel.FontSize;
fig.CurrentAxes.XLabel.String = app.UIAxes.XLabel.String;
fig.CurrentAxes.XLabel.FontSize = app.UIAxes.XLabel.FontSize;
fig.CurrentAxes.Title.String = app.UIAxes.Title.String;
fig.CurrentAxes.Title.FontSize = app.UIAxes.Title.FontSize;
% Save as png and fig files.
saveas(fig, fileName, 'png');
savefig(fig, fileName);
% Delete the temporary figure.

J. Webster
J. Webster il 28 Apr 2016

Tobias Daßler
Tobias Daßler il 20 Dic 2017
I used a workaround:
saveas(gca,uiputfile({'*.png'; '*.fig'; '*.jpg'}));
close Plot;
Maybe you could adapt this for your problem.
  2 Commenti
Eric Long
Eric Long il 4 Giu 2018
Was this used in App Designer?
Adam Danz
Adam Danz il 24 Mar 2019
Functionality not supported with figures created with the uifigure function. So, this doesn't work with axes created in app designer.

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Craig Pearson
Craig Pearson il 8 Gen 2018
I'm having a similar problem and would like a solution. I was trying to use the print function to copy a figure to the clipboard.
Annoyingly, if I use debugging mode, once the figure is created I can quit debugging mode then use
print -dmeta
from the command window and it proceeds fine - I can then paste this into Excel from the command line (which is what I'm aiming to do from within the app).
Why can this not be achieved from within the App?

Blanca Larraga
Blanca Larraga il 4 Giu 2018
Is there a solution for saving the axes plot in a .jpeg format or not yet? I am trying to insert what I got un an axes figure within a report automatically in app designer but I don't manage to do so. Thanks.

Jyothi Karri
Jyothi Karri il 20 Lug 2018
I have the same issue. Cannot export a UIAxes from gui created from app designer. copyobj did not work either.
  1 Commento
Udo Schröder
Udo Schröder il 13 Ago 2018
I have the same issue. It would help if there would be a nice option just to map an UIAxes element into a normal (pop-up) figure. Then the figure could be saved with the common tools.

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Paramjeet Panwar
Paramjeet Panwar il 15 Ott 2018
My current workaround is identifying the pixel position of the UIFigure and UIAxes on the screen and taking a snapshot using Java libraries.
Refer to these links -
2 Using Java library for screenshot - this link


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