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I'm looking for a way to have the axes at the origin in a 3D plot and to label the (x,y,z) axes in the usual way---with x near the end of the drawn portion of the x axis, y near the end of the drawn portion of the y axis, etc. I've tried

Plot3D[x^2 + y^2 + 3, {x, -3, 3}, {y, -3, 3}, 
      AxesOrigin -> {0, 0, 0}, PlotRange -> {-1, 20}, AxesLabel -> {x, y, z}]

which works well for the axes position but horribly for the labeling. (The labels appear all together near the origin; it is not at all clear which axis is associated with which label.) Any suggestions?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

With Scaled position:

Show[{Plot3D[x^2 + y^2 + 3, {x, -3, 3}, {y, -3, 3}, 
      AxesOrigin -> {0, 0, 0}, PlotRange -> {-1, 20}], 
  Graphics3D[{Text["x", Scaled[{-.05, .5, 0}], {0, -1}], 
    Text["y", Scaled[{.5, -.05, 0}], {0, -1}], 
    Text["z", Scaled[{.5, .5, 1.1}]]}]}, Boxed -> False]
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You can add them manually:

Show[{Plot3D[x^2 + y^2 + 3, {x, -3, 3}, {y, -3, 3}, 
 AxesOrigin -> {0, 0, 0}, PlotRange-> {-1, 20}], 
 Graphics3D[{Text["x", {3, 0, 0}], Text["y", {0, 3, 0}], Text["z", {0, 0, 20}]}]}]

Mess around with the Text[ ] functions to change sizes and positions. I'm sure there must be a better way, though.

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1  
using Scaled location can help to place labels: Show[{Plot3D[x^2 + y^2 + 3, {x, -3, 3}, {y, -3, 3}, AxesOrigin -> {0, 0, 0}, PlotRange -> {-1, 20}], Graphics3D[{Text["x", Scaled[{-.1, .5, 0}]], Text["y", Scaled[{.5, -.1, 0}]], Text["z", Scaled[{.5, .5, 1.1}]]}]}] – halmir Mar 18 '13 at 18:41
    
That's a good and scalable (pun not intended) solution. I knew there must be improvements. – nickjamesuk Mar 18 '13 at 18:48
    
@halmir, please feel free to post that as an answer, too. – Verbeia Mar 18 '13 at 20:28

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