Plots are a very useful tool for presenting information. This is true in any field, but especially in science and engineering, where MATLAB is mostly used. MATLAB has many commands that can be used for creating different types of plots. These include standard plots with linear axes, plots with logarithmic and semi-logarithmic axes, bar and stairs plots, polar plots, three-dimensional contour surface and mesh plots, and many more. The plots can be formatted to have a desired appearance. The line type (solid, dashed, etc.), color, and thickness can be prescribed, line markers and grid lines can be added, as can titles and text comments. Several graphs can be created in the same plot, and several plots can be placed on the same page. When a plot contains several graphs and/or data points, a legend can be added to the plot as well.

This chapter describes how MATLAB can be used to create and format many types of two-dimensional plots. Three-dimensional plots are addressed separately in Chapter 9. An example of a simple two-dimensional plot that was created with MATLAB is shown in Figure 5-1. The figure contains two curves that show the variation of light intensity with distance. One curve is constructed from data points measured in an experiment, and the other curve shows the variation of light as predicted by a theoretical model. The axes in the figure are both linear, and different types of lines (one solid and one dashed) are used for the curves. The ...

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