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In an attempt to squeeze more plots and controls into the limited space for a demo UI, I am trying to remove any extra white spaces I see.

I am not sure what options to use to reduce the amount of space between the ticks labels and the actual text that represent the labels on the axes.

Here is a small Plot example using Frame->True (I put an outside Frame as well, just for illustration, it is not part of the problem here)


 Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi},
  Frame -> True,
  FrameLabel -> {{Sin[x], None}, {x, 
     Row[{"This is a plot of ", Sin[x]}]}},
  ImagePadding -> {{55, 10}, {35, 20}},
  ImageMargins -> 0,
  FrameTicksStyle -> 10,
  RotateLabel -> False

 FrameMargins -> 0

Mathematica graphics

Is there an option or method to control this distance?

Notice that ImagePadding affects distance below the frame label, and not between the frame label and the ticks. Hence changing ImagePadding will not help here.

Depending on the plot and other things, this space can be more than it should be. The above is just a small example I made up. Here is a small part of a UI, and I think the space between the t(sec) and the ticks is too large. I'd like to reduce it by few pixels. I also might like to push the top label down closer to the plot by few pixels also.

Mathematica graphics

I am Using V9 on windows.

update 12/22/12

Using Labeld solution by @kguler below is a good solution, one just need to be little careful with the type-sitting for the labels. Plot automatically typeset things as Text in TraditionalFormat, which is a nice feature. To do the same when using Labeled one must do this manually using TraditionalForm and Text as well.

Here is example to show the difference

1) Labeled used just with TraditionalForm. The left one uses Plot and the right one uses Labeled with TraditionalForm. Notice the difference in how labels look.


   Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, 
    FrameLabel -> {{Sin[x], None}, {x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}}, 
    ImageSize -> 300, FrameTicksStyle -> 10, FrameStyle -> 16,RotateLabel -> False],

    Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, ImageSize -> 300], 
    TraditionalForm /@ {Sin[x], x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}, {Left, Bottom, Top}, 
    Spacings -> {0, 0, 0}, LabelStyle -> "Panel"]

   }, Frame -> All]

Mathematica graphics

2) Now we do the same, just need to add Text to get the same result as Plot.

   Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, FrameTicksStyle -> 10, 
    FrameStyle -> 16, 
    FrameLabel -> {{Sin[x], None}, {x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}}, 
    ImageSize -> 300, RotateLabel -> False],

    Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, ImageSize -> 300], 
    Text /@ TraditionalForm /@ {Sin[x], x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}, {Left, 
     Bottom, Top}, Spacings -> {0, 0, 0}, LabelStyle -> "Panel"]

   }, Frame -> All]

Mathematica graphics

Update 12/22/12 (2)

There is a big problem with controlling the spacing.

Labeled spacing only seem to work for horizontal and vertical spacing, taken togother.

i.e. One can't control spacing on each side of the plot separately? Here is an example, where I tried to move the bottom axes label up, this ended with moving the top label down as well. Which is not what I want.

Labeled[Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, ImageSize -> 300], 
 Text /@ TraditionalForm /@ {Sin[x], x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}, {Left, 
  Bottom, Top}, Spacings -> {-.2, -0.7}]

Mathematica graphics

Will see if there is a way to control each side spacing on its own. Trying Spacing->{-0.2,{-0.7,0}} does not work, it seems to take the zero in this case and ignored the -0.7

This gives the same result as above:

Labeled[Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, ImageSize -> 300], 
 Text /@ TraditionalForm /@ {Sin[x], x, E Tan[x] Sin[x]}, {Left, 
  Bottom, Top}, Spacings -> {-.2, -0.7, .0}]

Mathematica graphics

ps. there might be a way to specify the spacing for each side with some tricky syntax. I have not figured it out yet. Still trying thing....

update 12/22/12 (3) Using combination of ImagePadding and Spacing should have worked, but for some reason, the top label now is cut off. Please see screen shot. Using V9 on windows

enter image description here

Note: The above seems to be related to the issue reported here: some Graphics output do not fully render on the screen until an extra click is made into the notebook

Need an extra click inside the notebook. Then label become un-chopped !

share|improve this question
Might I suggest you migrate the second half of this post into an answer? I feel this is a fairly frequently asked question, but this post is fairly hard to parse and separate into a question and an answer. – Emilio Pisanty May 1 '15 at 12:49
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The most convenient way I found is to wrap Plot (without FrameLabels and PlotLabel and with appropriate ImagePadding and ImageMargins) inside Labeled and use the Spacings option to position the labels:

 Labeled[Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}, Frame -> True, 
 ImagePadding -> {{20, 1}, {15, 2}}, ImageMargins -> 0, 
 FrameTicksStyle -> 10, RotateLabel -> False], 
 TraditionalForm /@ {Sin[x], x, Row[{"This is a plot of ", Sin[x]}]}, 
 {Left, Bottom, Top}, 
 Spacings -> {0, 0}, LabelStyle -> "Panel"]

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
@Nasser, good point re label styles. Actually, I just threw in TraditionalForm and LabelStyle->Panel - did not try to match the default label styles of Plot. Glad to know that just adding Text does work to reproduce the font style. – kglr Dec 22 '12 at 12:58
Nasser, the setting {0,0,0} was a typo - meant {0,0}. As you noticed the two numbers are horizontal and vertical spacings and these spacings apply to all the labels. Unfortunately, it seems one can not specify a pair of spacings for each of the labels as one would wish/expect. A workaround: Changing the setting for ImageMargins from 0 to {{0, 0}, {0, 10}} in Plot combined with Spacings -> {-.2, -.7} seems to work to control the positioning of the top label above the top frame. – kglr Dec 22 '12 at 13:50
Nasser, try also Row[{"This is a plot of ", Sin[x]}, BaselinePosition -> Bottom] (together with ImageMargins settings). – kglr Dec 22 '12 at 14:11
Right ... it does not happen in V.8.0.4. – kglr Dec 22 '12 at 14:23
@Nasser, I think it is a good idea to post the issue re Show as separate question. Regarding the current question, a more robust method than the one suggested in my post is needed to fine-tune the spacings between various elements. Various alternatives that I have seen used in the past for similar Q/As (most of them about adjusting tick labels), combine Inset and wrappers like Style, Framed ... Pane around elements to be placed and playing with the settings of ImageMargins,FrameMargins, Alignment, BaselinePosition ... options. – kglr Dec 23 '12 at 0:30

This can also be achieved by

  • encasing the graphic inside a Show,
  • setting the outer Show's PlotRangeClipping to False, and
  • adding the labels as Text commands inside an Epilog.

Thus, for your example, you would do

  Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}
   , Frame -> True
   , FrameLabel -> {{None, None}, {None, 
      Row[{"This is a plot of ", Sin[x]}]}}
   , ImagePadding -> {{55, 10}, {35, 20}}
   , ImageMargins -> 0
   , FrameTicksStyle -> 10
   , RotateLabel -> False
  , PlotRangeClipping -> False
  , Epilog -> {
    Text[x, {0, -1.4}],
    Text[Sin[x], {-4.12, 0}]
 , FrameMargins -> 0

which produces

Mathematica graphics

You can then freely place the label text anywhere within the image box by adjusting the Text coordinates.

This has the advantage that (as far as I can tell, on v10.1.0) the resulting styling is identical to that produced by setting the labels via AxesLabel or FrameLabel; if you want to style them directly then you can do that as well.

Further, this produces an actual Graphics object, as opposed to an object with a Labeled head, which can be advantageous for manipulating and exporting the resulting plot.

Due credit to David Park's answer on this comp.soft-sys.math.mathematica thread for pointing out the technique.

share|improve this answer
+1. The key point of this technique is that Epilog (as well as Prolog) never triggers the actual plot range of Graphics (even when PlotRange->All or PlotRange->Full is specified). This feature allows to add graphics primitives outside of the plot range safely. The drawback is that you must adjust ImagePadding by hands because Epilog also does not affect image paddings even when ImagePadding -> All is specified. – Alexey Popkov May 2 '15 at 0:49
This method is better (IMO) for many reasons; the fact that it produces a Graphics object as you say, this also means it can be made a known ImageSize, also it gets the alignment of the axes labels correct, the x is beneath the 0. You can make your code more general still by using Scaled values for the positions in the Epilog, ie replace Text[x, {0, -1.4}] with Text[x, Scaled[{0.5, -0.2}]] as you then don't need to know the PlotRange. – Quantum_Oli Jan 29 at 22:40
Is there a reason you have chosen to put the Epilog in a Show instead of simply within the Plot? – Quantum_Oli Jan 29 at 22:51
@Quantum_Oli Yes. This lets you set PlotRangeClipping to True for the plot itself. Otherwise it is not necessary. – Emilio Pisanty Jan 30 at 4:16
@Emilio Pisanty, it seems to me that the value of PlotRangeClipping given in the Show overrides that given in the Plot (unfortunately). I guess it might be system dependent (I'm on 10.3 on OS X). If you take your example and set PlotRangePadding->None (so we can observe whether clipping is occurring or not) you will see that adding a PlotRangeClipping->True inside the Plot doesn't stop the plot from slightly spilling over the frame at (-pi,0). I'm wondering how to fix this.... – Quantum_Oli Jan 30 at 16:39

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