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Appdesigner Print Screen Problem - Appdesigner is a disappointment!

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Baha411 on 1 Oct 2019
Commented: Adam Danz on 17 Nov 2020
I am transitioing to the use of appdesigner, but it seems to suck at printing interface with figures and tables all together.
I saw a post where someone suggested to create a local handle to plot and save a figure, but I am trying to plot everything on the interface including figures, tables, buttons etc.
I tried using print command that I was using in "guide" that was warking perfectly there, but obviously it doesn't work in app designer. Did they purposely make the appdesigner horrible with basic tools like print, save, saveas, rotate, etc... missing so that nobody should use the appdesigner? If I am creating an app, I d want to print it in a way to store it, right?!!! Anyways, this is kind of disappointing. Is there any easy way around this, anybody knows?
I don't want to use an external screen snipping tool b/c the quality of those are not as good and not as professional.
I appreciate any comments!
This is the error I get with "print" command:
Error using print (line 79)
Functionality not supported with figures created with the uifigure function. For more information, see Graphics Support in App Designer.
Error in app2/Button5Pushed (line 82)
print -clipboard -dmeta; % copy the figure to clipboard
Error using matlab.ui.control.internal.controller.ComponentController/executeUserCallback (line 335)
Error while evaluating Button PrivateButtonPushedFcn.


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Baha411 on 2 Oct 2019
Hi Ankit,
What do you mean by copy the exes? Does that copy everyting including tables and buttons I have on the interface? That's my main problem. "print -clipboard -dmeta" was working for me perfectly on guide.
I would also appreciate if you could explain how you created zoom in/out, saveas, etc.
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 2 Oct 2019
@Baha411, if the goal is to show the app as a figure embedded in a document, you'll need to rely on 3rd party screenshot programs for now, until matlab creates a way to capture the app image.
If the goal is to save the GUI state so that it can be restored in efforts to replicate the results, you can save the values of each GUI component to a mat file that can then be reloaded upon request. Saving graphics handles can result in very large files so I don't recommend saving the entire "app" structure (but you could try). Instead, you may have to painstakingly save the critical properties (.value. string, etc) of each component. Then, within another function, you can restore those values.
Baha411 on 2 Oct 2019
Adam, I am trying to just screen capture whatever is seen in the interface with as good quality as the "print" command was doing. Yeah I am trying to avoid the 3rd party snipping tools for now and not trying to save the entire gui state.

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Answers (4)

Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 23 Apr 2020
Edited: Adam Danz on 17 Nov 2020
There are two new functions as of r2020a that address this problem,
They are still a little buggy but I'm sure improvements will come with future releases.
Also take note of copyUIAxes from the file exchange that copies a UIAxes (not an entire figure). I'd first try to use the two functions above, though.
Also see this a Community Highlight to learn about exportapp and getframe with Apps in Matlab r2020b+.


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Subhadeep Koley
Subhadeep Koley on 31 Oct 2019
Hi, fortunately the function export_fig() from MATLAB File Exchange now supports exporting uifigures and uiaxes.
Although it still has some limitations like - uicontrols within the uifigures are not being exported, etc.
Hope this helps!


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Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 31 Oct 2019
@Baha411, you may want to follow the export_fig function (go to the link, click "follow" button). That way you'll get updates on the function. Yair Altman provides some amazing functions to the community and he might come up with workaround to apply this function to UIFigures at some point. It's probably your best bet unless Matlab comes out with a solution in a future release.
Baha411 on 31 Oct 2019
Thanks for the advise, Adam! Yeah I have seen some of functions (complicated!). For now I gave up on the appdesigner and I am back to the guide. I hope in future they will make appdesigner more capable. I really appreciate your comments!
Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson on 23 Apr 2020
If you are using Windows 10, use the "Snipping Tool" (just type that in the search window lower left). Works fine!

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Allen on 16 Nov 2020
I have been trying to find a solution to the same issue. I was able to save my figure to an image file perfectly in GUIDE, which served to screen capture the figure and all of its contents. As Adam states, App Designer does not yet have the functionality to do this in a simple fashion (shame). I have tried to use the new exportgraphics function, but unsuccessfully. However, I have had moderate success by using the following code that uses undocumented features in MATLAB. Its main issue is when using various montitor sizes, configurations, and/or resolutions.
% This option is necessary since saveas() does not work with App Designer's UIFigures.
robot = java.awt.Robot();
temp = app.fig_SpeedTrapTool.Position; % returns position as [left bottom width height]
allMonPos = get(0,"MonitorPositions");
curMon = find(temp(1)<(allMonPos(:,1)+allMonPos(:,3)),1,"first");
curMonHeight = allMonPos(curMon,4)+1;
pos = [temp(1),curMonHeight-(temp(2)+temp(4)),temp(3)-1,temp(4)]; % [left top width height]
rect = java.awt.Rectangle(pos(1),pos(2),pos(3),pos(4));
cap = robot.createScreenCapture(rect);
% Convert to an RGB image
rgb = typecast(cap.getRGB(0,0,cap.getWidth,cap.getHeight,[],0,cap.getWidth),"uint8");
imgData = zeros(cap.getHeight,cap.getWidth,3,"uint8");
imgData(:,:,1) = reshape(rgb(3:4:end),cap.getWidth,[])';
imgData(:,:,2) = reshape(rgb(2:4:end),cap.getWidth,[])';
imgData(:,:,3) = reshape(rgb(1:4:end),cap.getWidth,[])';
hImg = imshow(imgData);
If you or someone else has been able to come up with a better solution, I would be excited if able to share. Hopefully, Mathworks has plans to improve on the exportgraphics function in a near future upgrade.


Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson on 17 Nov 2020
Thank you very much for this. I may try this at some time in the future, but for now I have given up on AppDesigner and am back to GUIDE. When AppDesigner is truly at (and above) the functionality of GUIDE, I will migrate. The additional knobs and meters may be very useful for Simulink kinds of processes, but doesn't matter to me. Too many issues like this. I hope MathWorks comes out with update announcements with new releases.
Baha411 on 17 Nov 2020
Thanks for your input, Allen. I gave up on the appdesigner, too, but I will keep this on mind for the future. I really appreciate!
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 17 Nov 2020
If the new functions I mentioned in my answer do not work in r2020a or later, tell the tech support about it: Report a Bug

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Allen on 17 Nov 2020
So after a bit more digging around I found exportapp(fig,filename), which does exactly as needed.


Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 17 Nov 2020
Yes, that's the function I was pointing to in the Community Highlight link in my answer but that wasn't so clear (I clarified it). Also see getframe which is also demonstrated in that link. Both of these will require Matlab r2020b or later if you're using it with AppDesigner.
Allen on 17 Nov 2020
Adam, I have to admit that I missed your Community Highlight link. I use getframe often for animating 2D position plots as a function of time. Works great there, but never saw it as I screen capture tool for App Designer. Thanks for the tip.
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 17 Nov 2020
It just became available for Apps in r2020b. Glad I could help.

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