Set position of tick labels

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Ariel Balter
Ariel Balter on 2 Mar 2011
Edited: Walter Roberson on 25 May 2021
Sometimes tick labels end up too close to the axis. Is there a way to adjust the position of the tick labels, for instance, moving the y tick labels a little bit to the left?

Answers (5)

JohnA on 3 Nov 2020
Edited: Walter Roberson on 25 May 2021
This is a very simple fix that works in Matlab v2019:
% adjust ticklabels away from axes
a.XRuler.TickLabelGapOffset = -8; % negative numbers move the ticklabels down (positive -> up)
a.YRuler.TickLabelGapOffset = -8; % negative numbers move the ticklabels right (negative -> left)
Credit for this solution here:
  1 Comment
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 May 2021
Note, to move the labels away from the axes the offset values should be positive. The comments in the code above are incorrect.
Credit goes to Yair's undocumented Matlab blog rather than the stackoverflow link (which cites Yair's blog).

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Mar 2011
There is no documented way of doing it.
You could try setting the tick labels manually, to include trailing spaces after the label, something like
set(gca, 'YTickLabel', num2str(reshape(get(gca, 'YTick'),[],1),'%.3f ') )
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Mar 2011
The only solution I know of for xtick is to set xticklabels to [] (the empty array), and then to use the values from the xtick property to figure out where to text() the desired tick labels in to place. With standard font sizes, one line would be 19 pixels high. You have to start out, though, with a conversion between data coordinates and pixels:
xlabshift = 20;
xtickpos = get(gca, 'xtick');
ylimvals = get(gca, 'YLim');
t = text(xtickpos(1), ylimvals(1), str2num(xtickpos(1)));
set(t, 'Units','pixels');
set(t, 'Position', get(t,'Position')-[0 xlabshift 0]);
set(t, 'Units', 'data');
t1 = get(t, 'Position');
xlaby = t1(2);
Then for further labels, instead of setting at y coordinate ylimvals(1) in data space, set at y coordinate xlaby -- it will be the data coordinate corresponding to 20 pixels below the y axis. Unless, of course, you resize the axis...

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Matt Fig
Matt Fig on 2 Mar 2011
Not directly, but try this:
YTL = get(gca,'yticklabel');
set(gca,'yticklabel',[YTL,repmat(' ',size(YTL,1),1)])
This simply moves the ticklabels over to the left. As for the x-axis, I don't know how to do that.

Alejandro Fernández
Alejandro Fernández on 7 Aug 2020
The previous answers doesn't work for me, so I tries with this and that works, it's more os less the previous answer:
ax = gca;
ax.YTickLabel = [num2str(ax.YTick.') repmat(' ',size(ax.YTickLabel,1),1)];

Ross Wilkinson
Ross Wilkinson on 25 May 2021
My hacky way of moving xtick labels away from the x axis is to add lines into each label string:
ax = gca;
sp = '\newline\newline\newline\newline\newline'; %5 lines of spacing
ax.XTickLabel = {[sp 'TickLabel1'],[sp 'TickLabel2'],[sp 'TickLabel3']};

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