version 1.9 (24.3 KB) by Christopher Schulte
Fork of Plot2LaTex.m by Jan de Jong


Updated 13 Oct 2022

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Fork of Plot2LaTex.m by Jan de Jong

Original files:

Creator: Jan de Jong

Tested with Matlab 2016b on Microsoft Windows and Inkscape v1.1.1

View Plot2LaTeX on File Exchange


PLOT2LATEX saves matlab figure as a pdf file in vector format for inclusion into LaTeX. Requires free and open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape. This allows links of varible names to be placed within the axis or legend and so on, or variables can be subsequently renamed without having to recreate the Matlab plot.


PLOT2LATEX(h, filename, 'option1', value, 'option2', value, ...) or PLOT2LATEX(h, filename, options_struct) saves figure with specified options.

  • 'Renderer':'painters' (default), 'opengl', ''(no change)
  • 'yCorrFactor': 0.8 (default, in px)
  • 'DIR_INKSCAPE': directory to inkscape.exe
  • 'Verbose': ['console' (default), 'waitbar', 'both', false], Should a waitbar appear to show progress or a console text
  • 'useOrigFigure' false (default, Use the original figure or create a copy?)
  • 'OnlySVG': false (default), Option to stop after creating the svg file. Can be used, if the plots are used as svg files or if inkscape is not installed.
  • 'Interpreter': 'tex' (default, 'latex','none'), changes the matlab text interpreter
  • 'FontSize': 11 (default, in pt), should be equal to the font size inside of the document, use '' if the font size should not be changed before hand.
  • 'ReplaceList': ['' (default), a cell with 2 columns, first column: text in figure, second column: new text in .svg], Should a placeholder text in the figure be replaced with a LaTeX command that e.g. matlab can't correctly display? example : {'placeholder','\acr{thickness}'; 'placeholder2','$\exp{-4r^2}$'}
  • 'Inkscape_Export_Mode': ['export-area-page' (default), 'export-area', 'export-area-drawing', 'export-use-hints'], inkscape export options, see

Example function calls:

  • PLOT2LATEX(gcf, 'FirstPlot')
  • PLOT2LATEX(gcf, 'FirstPlot', 'Verbose', false)
  • PLOT2LATEX(gcf, 'FirstPlot', 'doExportPDF', false, 'FontSize', '')


PLOT2LATEX(h, filename) saves figure with handle h to a file specified by filename, without extention. Filename can contain a a full path or a name (e.g. 'C:\images\title', 'title') to save the figure to a different location.

PLOT2LATEX requires a installation of Inkscape. The program's location can be 'hard coded' into this matlab file if 'inkscape' is not a valid command for the command window. Please specify your inscape file location by modifying opts.DIR_INKSCAPE variable on the first line of the actual code or specify the location of inkscape.exe on the first run.

PLOT2LATEX saves the figures to .svg format. It invokes Inkscape to save the svg to a .pdf and .pdf_tex file to be incorporated into LaTeX document using \begin{figure} \input{image.pdf_tex} \end{figure}. More information on the svg to pdf conversion can be found here:

PLOT2LATEX produces three files: .svg, .pdf, .pfd_tex. The .svg-file contains vector image. The .pdf-file contains figure without the text. The .pdf_tex-file contains the text including locations and other type setting.

The produced .svg file can be manually modified in Inkscape and included into the .tex file using the using the built-in "save to pdf" functionality of Inkscape.

PLOT2LATEX saves the figure to a svg and pdf file with approximately the same width and height. Specify the Font size and size within Matlab for correct conversion.

The y-offset of all text can be modified using yCorrFactor. The default is 'yCorrFactor' = 0.8. The units are px. With options.Renderer the renderer of the figure can be specified: ('opengl', 'painters').

Workflow of the code

  1. Matlab renames duplicate strings of the figure. The strings are stored to be used later. To prevent a change in texbox size, duplicate labels get "." at the end of the label.
  2. Matlab saves the figure with modified labels to a svg file.
  3. Matlab opens the svg file and restores the labels with the original string
  4. Matlab invokes Inkscape to save the svg file to a pdf + pdf_tex file.
  5. The pdf_tex is to be included into LaTeX. Instruction can be found inside the pdf_tex file.


  • Complex figures such as plotyy, logarithmic scales.
  • It parses LaTeX code, even if it is not supported by Matlab LaTeX.
  • Supports real transparency.
  • SVG is a better supported, maintained and editable format than eps
  • SVG allows simple manual modification into Inkscape.


  • Text resize is still done in PLOT2LATEX. The LaTeX fonts in matlab do not correspond completely with the LaTeX font size.
  • Legend size is not always correct, use \hspace or \vspace in matlab legend to achieve a nicer fit. Requires some iterations.
  • Rotating 3D images using toolbar does not work, using view([]) works.
  • Text boxes with LaTeX code which is not interpretable by matlab results in too long text boxes.
  • Very large figures sometimes result in very large waiting times.
  • Older versions than matlab 2014b are not supported.
  • PLOT2LATEX currently does not work with titles consisting of multiple lines.
  • PLOT2LATEX does not work with annotation textbox objects.
  • PLOT2LATEX does not support colored text.
  • PLOT2LATEX currently exports all text to the same size (the text size inside of the document).

Trouble shooting

  • For Unix users: use the installation folder such as: '/Applications/ ' as location.
  • For Unix users: For some users the bash profiles do not allow to call Inkscape in Matlab via bash. Therefore change the bash profile in Matlab to something similar as setenv('DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH','/usr/local/bin/'). The bash profile location can be found by using '/usr/bin/env bash'

To do:

  • Annotation textbox objects
  • Allow multiple line text
  • Use findall(h,'-property','String')
  • Speed up code by smarter string replacement of SVG file
  • Resize of legend box using: [h,icons,plots,str] = legend(); (not so simple)
  • Size difference .svg and .fig if specifying units other than px. (Matlab limitation?)

Cite As

Christopher Schulte (2022). Plot2LaTeX (, GitHub. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2016b
Compatible with R2016b and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.
To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.