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Edward
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How do I change the font size for text in my figure?

Asked by Edward
on 26 May 2014
Latest activity Commented on by ubaid haroon on 27 Jun 2019
I'm using "set(gca,'fontsize', 18);" in a function to change fonts in a figure. My code does not throw an error, but it also does not change the font size. I can manually change the fonts via the UI, but this is a slow process. I'm running MATLAB 2013a on RHEL6.5
I've also tried "set(gca,'FontSize', 18);" and specifying 'FontSize', 18 in title, xlabel, ylabel and legend. None of these have worked.
Please advise!

  7 Comments

If you set axis properties in your figure (XLim, YLim etc) you have to give the command referring to the fontsize at the end. So first the plot command then axis properties and then ylabel with fontsize. Maybe there's another way but this did it for me.
>> help xlabel...
xlabel('text','property1',property1value,'property2',property2value)
here is an example...
title('speed vs. time','fontsize',18);
you can include more properties inside the parenthesis, i only did one in my example
Edward's sol worked for me on ubuntu w/ R2016A many thx!

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7 Answers

Answer by Image Analyst
on 27 May 2014
 Accepted Answer

Usually you can set the font size on every control individually as you update its text, like
title('This is my plot', 'FontSize', 24);
xlabel('x axis', 'FontSize', 24);
text(x, y, 'Hey, look at this', 'FontSize', 24);
What's wrong with doing it like that? That's what I do.

  5 Comments

Here's the screen shot, as requested...
I don't know. That's bizarre. You should call tech support.
well, probably this font is not available in other sizes

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Answer by Mike Garrity
on 10 Feb 2016

Yes, this can be confusing. Here's what you're probably seeing:
figure % Creates a figure
set(gca,'FontSize',18) % Creates an axes and sets its FontSize to 18
plot(x,y) % Resets the axes and plots into it
Notice the "Resets the axes" part. One of the things that happens there is that the FontSize property gets set to the default!
This doesn't happen when hold is on because then the axes doesn't get reset.
There are a couple of ways around this.
The simplest is to set the FontSize after plotting.
A somewhat more complicated way is to change the default:
figure('DefaultAxesFontSize',18)
plot(x,y)
Does that make sense?

  1 Comment

The point is that the font size property is inherited from the figure. So instead of calling gca, you should call gcf. But indeed, best practice is setting the font size on creation of the figure window.

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Answer by José Crespo Barrios on 10 Feb 2016

set(findall(gcf,'-property','FontSize'),'FontSize',18)

  3 Comments

When I invoke this after a call to figure, there does not appear to be any change in text size.
on ubuntu w/ R2016A
I use this on unix R2015a and it seems to work for me

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Answer by Sean de Wolski
on 27 May 2014

I think what you want to do is set the 'Default' font size for the axes
set(gca,'DefaultTextFontSize',18)
Now any text object on that axes will have 18 font
text(0.5,0.5,'hello')

  1 Comment

Edward's "Answer" moved here since it's a reply to Sean:
set(gca,'DefaultTextFontSize',18) executes without triggering an error, but unfortunately, does not change the font size.

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Answer by Anu
on 1 Jan 2015

I have also encountered the same problem. I was using Linux Mint OS. I solved it by installing the xfont 100 and 75 dpi and the truetype fonts. Try it out once.

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Answer by Daniel
on 26 Mar 2015

I just wanted to weigh in on this given I've spent the last couple of hours looking into this.
I am running Matlab 2013b on Ubuntu 12.04LTS. Similar as many here, changing labels/legend properties works fine but setting the axis ticklabel fontname/size was not working - at least, the axis property list reflected the change, but the window plot was not rendering to the new font settings. After printing the plot to eps and including this in my latex compiled document, it turns out the axis font properties were changing. It would appear to be just a rendering bug.
Installing additional fonts did not work for me - and I did not expect to, since rendering/changing font properties of other objects such as labels and legends worked fine in Matlab.
So for those of you cocnerned with the looks of your plots for publications, it would appear to me that the actual exported figures do reflect the editing (at least this was my experience when printing to .eps).
Cheers,
Daniel

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Answer by Renato Campana on 18 Nov 2017

Im working with Matlab 2016. You can tried two things:
1)figure('DefaultAxesFontSize',30); % here the font size is 30. figure (1) plot(x,y,'LineWidth',4); % note that the linewidth here is 4 xlabel('length bar','FontSize',18); % note that the font size label here is 18 ylabel('wide bar','FontSize',18); % note that the font size label here is 18
and you must to use the dame command figure('DefaultAxesFontSize',30) in each figure. If you dont specified the font size in each label, the labels shows the size in "30"
Or you can tried:
2) figure (1) plot(x,y,'LineWidth',4); set(gca,'FontSize',28); % please, note that the font size is AFTER the plot command :)

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