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How can I rotate the axis tick labels in 2-D and 3-D?

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Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 19 May 2023
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 19 May 2023
For MATLAB releases before R2014b, below is an example that demonstrates how to rotate the X-tick labels in MATLAB :
% Create some data:
X = 1:12;
Y = rand(1,12);
% Generate a plot
% Set the tick locations and remove the labels
% Define the labels
lab = [{'January'};{'February'};{'March'};{'April'};{'May'};{'June'};...
% Estimate the location of the labels based on the position
% of the xlabel
hx = get(gca,'XLabel'); % Handle to xlabel
pos = get(hx,'Position');
y = pos(2);
% Place the new labels
for i = 1:size(lab,1)
t(i) = text(X(i),y,lab(i,:));
Following is a simple example of how to rotate an x-label in 3-D:
h = get(gca,'xlabel');
Alternatively, you can use this user created File Exchange submission that can perform the same task:
Please note that the above File Exchange file was not authored by MathWorks. Any questions regarding this file should be directed to the contributing author of that file.
NOTE: If you are working under the MS Windows version of MATLAB, you will need to make sure that you are using a Truetype font in your text objects. Truetype are the only fonts which can be rotated correctly on the screen and on printouts.
  1 Comment
daniel on 4 Feb 2015
I think you are confusing "xlabel" with "XTickLabel" I believe the question is regarding the rotation of XTickLabels and not the Xlabel itself. I too am searching for a solution regarding the rotaion of XTickLabels but have yet to find one.

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More Answers (2)

daniel on 12 Feb 2015
if you have 2014b you can do this:
ax = gca;
ax.XTickLabelRotation = -45;

Alexey on 6 Jan 2016
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 4 Nov 2021
or (I think starting with 2014) you can just do
as per docs


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