stairs
Stairstep graph
Syntax
Description
Vector and Matrix Data
stairs(
draws a stairstep graph of
the elements in Y
)Y
.
If
Y
is a vector, thenstairs
draws one line.If
Y
is a matrix, thenstairs
draws one line per matrix column.
Table Data
stairs(
plots the specified variable from the table against the row indices of the
table. If the table is a timetable, the specified variable is plotted against
the row times of the timetable. To plot one set of yvalues,
specify one variable for tbl
,yvar
)yvar
. To plot multiple sets of
yvalues, specify multiple variables for
yvar
. (since R2022b)
Additional Options
stairs(___,
modifies the stairstep chart using one or more namevalue pair arguments. For
example, Name,Value
)"Marker","o","MarkerSize",8
specifies 8 point circle
markers.
stairs(
plots
into the axes specified by ax
,___)ax
instead of into the current
axes (gca
). The option, ax
, can precede
any of the input argument combinations in the previous syntaxes.
returns
one or more h
= stairs(___)Stair
objects. Use
h
to make changes to properties of a specific Stair
object after it is created.
Examples
Plot Single Data Series
Create a stairstep plot of sine evaluated at 40 equally spaced values between 0 and $$4\pi $$.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,40); Y = sin(X); figure stairs(Y)
The length of Y
automatically determines and generates the xaxis scale.
Plot Multiple Data Series
Create a stairstep plot of two cosine functions evaluated at 50 equally spaced values between 0 and $$4\pi $$.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,50)'; Y = [0.5*cos(X), 2*cos(X)]; figure stairs(Y)
The number of rows in Y
automatically determines and generates the xaxis scale.
Plot Single Data Series at Specified xValues
Create a stairstep plot of a sine wave evaluated at equally spaced values between 0 and $$4\pi $$. Specify the set of xvalues for the plot.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,40); Y = sin(X); figure stairs(X,Y)
The entries in Y
are plotted against the corresponding entries in X
.
Plot Multiple Data Series at Specified xValues
Create a stairstep plot of two cosine waves evaluated at equally spaced values between 0 and $$4\pi $$. Specify the set of xvalues for the plot.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,50)'; Y = [0.5*cos(X), 2*cos(X)]; figure stairs(X,Y)
The first vector input, X
, determines the xaxis positions for both data series.
Plot Multiple Data Series at Unique Sets of xValues
Create a stairstep plot of two sine waves evaluated at different values. Specify a unique set of xvalues for plotting each data series.
x1 = linspace(0,2*pi)'; x2 = linspace(0,pi)'; X = [x1,x2]; Y = [sin(5*x1),exp(x2).*sin(5*x2)]; figure stairs(X,Y)
Each column of X
is plotted against the corresponding column of Y
.
Specify Line Style, Marker Symbol and Color
Create a stairstep plot and set the line style to a dotdashed line, the marker symbol to circles, and the color to red.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,20);
Y = sin(X);
figure
stairs(Y, '.or')
Specify Additional Style Options
Create a stairstep plot and set the line width to 2, the marker symbols to diamonds, and the marker face color to cyan using Name,Value
pair arguments.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,20); Y = sin(X); figure stairs(Y,'LineWidth',2,'Marker','d','MarkerFaceColor','c')
Plot Data from a Table
Since R2022b
A convenient way to plot data from a table is to pass the table to the stairs
function and specify the variables to plot.
Read the first 100 rows and 7 columns of weather.csv
as a timetable tbl
. Then display the first three rows of the table.
tbl = readtimetable("weather.csv","Range",[1 1 101 7]); head(tbl,3)
Time WindDirection WindSpeed Humidity Temperature RainInchesPerMinute CumulativeRainfall ____________________ _____________ _________ ________ ___________ ___________________ __________________ 25Oct2021 00:00:09 46 1 84 49.2 0 0 25Oct2021 00:01:09 45 1.6 84 49.2 0 0 25Oct2021 00:02:09 36 2.2 84 49.2 0 0
Plot the Time
variable on the xaxis and the CumulativeRainfall
variable on the yaxis. Then use the axis padded
command so that the line and the plot box do not overlap.
Return the Stair
object as h
. Notice that the axis labels match the variable names.
h = stairs(tbl,"Time","CumulativeRainfall"); axis padded
Change the color of the line to purple by setting the Color
property.
h.Color = [0.5 0 0.8];
Plot Multiple Table Variables on One Axes
Since R2022b
Create vectors x
, y1
, and y2
, and use them to create a table. Plot the y1
and y2 variables against the x
variable. Use the axis padded
command so that the line and the plot box do not overlap.
Add a legend, and notice that the legend labels match the variable names.
x = linspace(0,6,20); y1 = cos(x); y2 = sin(x); tbl = table(x,y1,y2); stairs(tbl,"x",["y1","y2"]); % Pad x and yaxes, and add legend axis padded legend
Alternatively, you can omit the x
variable and plot the y1
and y2
variables against the row indices of the table.
stairs(tbl,["y1","y2"]); axis padded legend
Specify Axes for Stairstep Plots
You can display a tiling of plots using the tiledlayout
and nexttile
functions. Call the tiledlayout
function to create a 2by1 tiled chart layout. Call the nexttile
function to create the axes objects ax1
and ax2
. Create separate stairstep plots in the axes by specifying the axes object as the first argument to stairs
.
x = linspace(0,2*pi); y1 = 5*sin(x); y2 = sin(5*x); tiledlayout(2,1) % Top plot ax1 = nexttile; stairs(ax1,x,y1) % Bottom plot ax2 = nexttile; stairs(ax2,x,y2)
Modify Stairstep Plot After Creation
Create a stairstep plot of two data series and return the two stair objects.
X = linspace(0,1,30)'; Y = [cos(10*X), exp(X).*sin(10*X)]; h = stairs(X,Y);
Use small circle markers for the first data series. Use magenta filled circles for the second series. Use dot notation to set properties.
h(1).Marker = 'o'; h(1).MarkerSize = 4; h(2).Marker = 'o'; h(2).MarkerFaceColor = 'm';
Create a Stairstep Plot using plot Function
Evaluate two cosine functions at 50 equally spaced values between 0 and $$4\pi $$ and create a stairstep plot using plot
.
X = linspace(0,4*pi,50)'; Y = [0.5*cos(X), 2*cos(X)]; [xb,yb] = stairs(X,Y);
stairs
returns two matrices of the same size, xb
and yb
, but no plot.
Use plot
to create the stairstep plot with xb
and yb
.
figure plot(xb,yb)
Input Arguments
Y
— y values
vector or matrix
y values, specified as a vector or matrix.
When Y
is a vector, stairs
creates
one stair object. When Y
is a matrix, stairs
draws
one line per matrix column and creates a separate stair object for
each column.
Data Types: single
 double
 int8
 int16
 int32
 int64
 uint8
 uint16
 uint32
 uint64
 categorical
 datetime
 duration
X
— x values
vector or matrix
x values, specified as a vector or matrix.
When Y
is a vector, X
must be
a vector of the same size. When Y
is a matrix, X
must
be a matrix of the same size, or a vector whose length equals the
number of rows in Y
.
Data Types: single
 double
 int8
 int16
 int32
 int64
 uint8
 uint16
 uint32
 uint64
 categorical
 datetime
 duration
LineSpec
— Line style, marker, and color
string scalar  character vector
Line style, marker, and color, specified as a string scalar or character vector containing symbols. The symbols can appear in any order. You do not need to specify all three characteristics (line style, marker, and color). For example, if you omit the line style and specify the marker, then the plot shows only the marker and no line.
Example: "or"
is a red dashed line with circle markers.
Line Style  Description  Resulting Line 

""  Solid line 

""  Dashed line 

":"  Dotted line 

"."  Dashdotted line 

Marker  Description  Resulting Marker 

"o"  Circle 

"+"  Plus sign 

"*"  Asterisk 

"."  Point 

"x"  Cross 

"_"  Horizontal line 

""  Vertical line 

"square"  Square 

"diamond"  Diamond 

"^"  Upwardpointing triangle 

"v"  Downwardpointing triangle 

">"  Rightpointing triangle 

"<"  Leftpointing triangle 

"pentagram"  Pentagram 

"hexagram"  Hexagram 

Color Name  Short Name  RGB Triplet  Appearance 

"red"  "r"  [1 0 0] 

"green"  "g"  [0 1 0] 

"blue"  "b"  [0 0 1] 

"cyan"
 "c"  [0 1 1] 

"magenta"  "m"  [1 0 1] 

"yellow"  "y"  [1 1 0] 

"black"  "k"  [0 0 0] 

"white"  "w"  [1 1 1] 

tbl
— Source table
table  timetable
Source table containing the data to plot, specified as a table or a timetable.
yvar
— Table variables containing ycoordinates
string array  character vector  cell array  pattern  numeric scalar or vector  logical vector  vartype()
Table variables containing the ycoordinates, specified using one of the indexing schemes from the table.
Indexing Scheme  Examples 

Variable names:


Variable index:


Variable type:


The table variables you specify can contain numeric, categorical,
datetime, or duration values. If xvar
and
yvar
both specify multiple variables, the number of
variables must be the same.
Example: stairs(tbl,"x",["y1","y2"])
specifies the table
variables named y1
and y2
for the
ycoordinates.
Example: stairs(tbl,"x",2)
specifies the second variable
for the ycoordinates.
Example: stairs(tbl,"x",vartype("numeric"))
specifies
all numeric variables for the
ycoordinates.
xvar
— Table variables containing xcoordinates
string array  character vector  cell array  pattern  numeric scalar or vector  logical vector  vartype()
Table variables containing the xcoordinates, specified using one of the indexing schemes from the table.
Indexing Scheme  Examples 

Variable names:


Variable index:


Variable type:


The table variables you specify can contain numeric, categorical,
datetime, or duration values. If xvar
and
yvar
both specify multiple variables, the number of
variables must be the same.
Example: stairs(tbl,["x1","x2"],"y")
specifies the table
variables named x1
and x2
for the
xcoordinates.
Example: stairs(tbl,2,"y")
specifies the second variable
for the xcoordinates.
Example: stairs(tbl,vartype("numeric"),"y")
specifies
all numeric variables for the
xcoordinates.
ax
— Axes
object
Axes
object
Axes
object. If you do not specify the axes,
then stairs
plots into the current axes.
NameValue Arguments
Specify optional pairs of arguments as
Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN
, where Name
is
the argument name and Value
is the corresponding value.
Namevalue arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the
pairs does not matter.
Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose
Name
in quotes.
Example: "Marker","s","MarkerFaceColor","red"
plots the stairstep graph with
red square markers.
The properties listed here are only a subset. For a complete list, see Stair Properties.
LineStyle
— Line style
""
(default)  ""
 ":"
 "."
 "none"
Line style, specified as one of the options listed in this table.
Line Style  Description  Resulting Line 

""  Solid line 

""  Dashed line 

":"  Dotted line 

"."  Dashdotted line 

"none"  No line  No line 
LineWidth
— Line width
0.5
(default)  positive value
Line width, specified as a positive value in points, where 1 point = 1/72 of an inch. If the line has markers, then the line width also affects the marker edges.
The line width cannot be thinner than the width of a pixel. If you set the line width to a value that is less than the width of a pixel on your system, the line displays as one pixel wide.
Color
— Line color
[0 0.4470 0.7410]
(default)  RGB triplet  hexadecimal color code  "r"
 "g"
 "b"
 ...
Line color, specified as an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal color code, a color name, or a short name.
For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.
An RGB triplet is a threeelement row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range
[0,1]
, for example,[0.4 0.6 0.7]
.A hexadecimal color code is a string scalar or character vector that starts with a hash symbol (
#
) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from0
toF
. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes"#FF8800"
,"#ff8800"
,"#F80"
, and"#f80"
are equivalent.
Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.
Color Name  Short Name  RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

"red"  "r"  [1 0 0]  "#FF0000"  
"green"  "g"  [0 1 0]  "#00FF00"  
"blue"  "b"  [0 0 1]  "#0000FF"  
"cyan"
 "c"  [0 1 1]  "#00FFFF"  
"magenta"  "m"  [1 0 1]  "#FF00FF"  
"yellow"  "y"  [1 1 0]  "#FFFF00"  
"black"  "k"  [0 0 0]  "#000000"  
"white"  "w"  [1 1 1]  "#FFFFFF"  
"none"  Not applicable  Not applicable  Not applicable  No color 
Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB^{®} uses in many types of plots.
RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

[0 0.4470 0.7410]  "#0072BD"  
[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]  "#D95319"  
[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]  "#EDB120"  
[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]  "#7E2F8E"  
[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]  "#77AC30"  
[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]  "#4DBEEE"  
[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]  "#A2142F" 
Example: "blue"
Example: [0
0 1]
Example: "#0000FF"
Marker
— Marker symbol
"none"
(default)  "o"
 "+"
 "*"
 "."
 ...
Marker symbol, specified as one of the values listed in this table. By default, the object does not display markers. Specifying a marker symbol adds markers at each data point or vertex.
Marker  Description  Resulting Marker 

"o"  Circle 

"+"  Plus sign 

"*"  Asterisk 

"."  Point 

"x"  Cross 

"_"  Horizontal line 

""  Vertical line 

"square"  Square 

"diamond"  Diamond 

"^"  Upwardpointing triangle 

"v"  Downwardpointing triangle 

">"  Rightpointing triangle 

"<"  Leftpointing triangle 

"pentagram"  Pentagram 

"hexagram"  Hexagram 

"none"  No markers  Not applicable 
MarkerSize
— Marker size
6
(default)  positive value
Marker size, specified as a positive value in points, where 1 point = 1/72 of an inch.
MarkerEdgeColor
— Marker outline color
"auto"
(default)  RGB triplet  hexadecimal color code  "r"
 "g"
 "b"
 ...
Marker outline color, specified as "auto"
, an RGB triplet, a
hexadecimal color code, a color name, or a short name. The default value of
"auto"
uses the same color as the Color
property.
For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.
An RGB triplet is a threeelement row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range
[0,1]
, for example,[0.4 0.6 0.7]
.A hexadecimal color code is a string scalar or character vector that starts with a hash symbol (
#
) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from0
toF
. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes"#FF8800"
,"#ff8800"
,"#F80"
, and"#f80"
are equivalent.
Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.
Color Name  Short Name  RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

"red"  "r"  [1 0 0]  "#FF0000"  
"green"  "g"  [0 1 0]  "#00FF00"  
"blue"  "b"  [0 0 1]  "#0000FF"  
"cyan"
 "c"  [0 1 1]  "#00FFFF"  
"magenta"  "m"  [1 0 1]  "#FF00FF"  
"yellow"  "y"  [1 1 0]  "#FFFF00"  
"black"  "k"  [0 0 0]  "#000000"  
"white"  "w"  [1 1 1]  "#FFFFFF"  
"none"  Not applicable  Not applicable  Not applicable  No color 
Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB uses in many types of plots.
RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

[0 0.4470 0.7410]  "#0072BD"  
[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]  "#D95319"  
[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]  "#EDB120"  
[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]  "#7E2F8E"  
[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]  "#77AC30"  
[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]  "#4DBEEE"  
[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]  "#A2142F" 
MarkerFaceColor
— Marker fill color
"none"
(default)  "auto"
 RGB triplet  hexadecimal color code  "r"
 "g"
 "b"
 ...
Marker fill color, specified as "auto"
, an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal
color code, a color name, or a short name. The "auto"
option uses the
same color as the Color
property of the parent axes. If you specify
"auto"
and the axes plot box is invisible, the marker fill color is
the color of the figure.
For a custom color, specify an RGB triplet or a hexadecimal color code.
An RGB triplet is a threeelement row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range
[0,1]
, for example,[0.4 0.6 0.7]
.A hexadecimal color code is a string scalar or character vector that starts with a hash symbol (
#
) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from0
toF
. The values are not case sensitive. Therefore, the color codes"#FF8800"
,"#ff8800"
,"#F80"
, and"#f80"
are equivalent.
Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.
Color Name  Short Name  RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

"red"  "r"  [1 0 0]  "#FF0000"  
"green"  "g"  [0 1 0]  "#00FF00"  
"blue"  "b"  [0 0 1]  "#0000FF"  
"cyan"
 "c"  [0 1 1]  "#00FFFF"  
"magenta"  "m"  [1 0 1]  "#FF00FF"  
"yellow"  "y"  [1 1 0]  "#FFFF00"  
"black"  "k"  [0 0 0]  "#000000"  
"white"  "w"  [1 1 1]  "#FFFFFF"  
"none"  Not applicable  Not applicable  Not applicable  No color 
Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB uses in many types of plots.
RGB Triplet  Hexadecimal Color Code  Appearance 

[0 0.4470 0.7410]  "#0072BD"  
[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]  "#D95319"  
[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]  "#EDB120"  
[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]  "#7E2F8E"  
[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]  "#77AC30"  
[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]  "#4DBEEE"  
[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]  "#A2142F" 
Output Arguments
h
— Stair
objects
Stair
objects
Stair
objects. These are unique identifiers,
which you can use to query and modify the properties of a specific Stair
object
after it is created.
xb
— x values for use with plot
vector or matrix
x values for use with plot
,
returned as a vector or matrix. xb
contains the
appropriate values such that plot(xb,yb)
creates
the stairstep graph.
yb
— y values for use with plot
vector or matrix
y values for use with plot
,
returned as a vector or matrix. yb
contains the
appropriate values such that plot(xb,yb)
creates
the stairstep graph.
Extended Capabilities
GPU Arrays
Accelerate code by running on a graphics processing unit (GPU) using Parallel Computing Toolbox™.
The stairs
function
supports GPU array input with these usage notes and limitations:
This function accepts GPU arrays, but does not run on a GPU.
For more information, see Run MATLAB Functions on a GPU (Parallel Computing Toolbox).
Distributed Arrays
Partition large arrays across the combined memory of your cluster using Parallel Computing Toolbox™.
Usage notes and limitations:
This function operates on distributed arrays, but executes in the client MATLAB.
For more information, see Run MATLAB Functions with Distributed Arrays (Parallel Computing Toolbox).
Version History
Introduced before R2006aR2022b: Pass tables directly to stairs
Create plots by passing a table to the stairs
function
followed by the variables you want to plot. When you specify your data as a table,
the axis labels and the legend (if present) are automatically labeled using the
table variable names.
See Also
Functions
Properties
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