I would like to color the horizontal portions (the data) of a ListStepPlot in one style (e.g., blue) and the vertical (linking lines) in a different style (e.g., red) in a plot such as this:

d = Table[RandomReal[], 16]; (* or some other computed list *)

ListStepPlot[d, Center]


Neither Mesh nor ClippingStyle nor Exclusions are appropriate, as you can test yourself.

The option Joined-> False eliminates the vertical segments, but I want them to remain. I can kludge such a graph by plotting two: One in red with Joined->True overlapped by another in blue with Joined->False but this is very inelegant.

I need to apply this to ListStepPlot (for a number of reasons), so alternate kludges will not suffice.


2 Answers 2


Post-processing to re-color horizontal and vertical segments of Line primitives:

postProcess[lsp_, cols_: {Red}] := Module[{cls = cols}, 
   Replace[lsp, {a___, d_Directive, Line[x_]} :> 
     Module[{p = Partition[x, 2, 1], d2 = d /. _?ColorQ -> Last[cls = RotateLeft[cls]]}, 
      {a, d, Line[p[[;; ;; 2]]], d2, Line[p[[2 ;; ;; 2]]]}], All]];


d = Table[RandomReal[], 16];

postProcess[ListStepPlot[d, Center]]

enter image description here

postProcess[ListStepPlot[{d, 1 + d}, Center]]

enter image description here

postProcess[ListStepPlot[{d, 1 + d}, Center], {Directive[Dashed, Purple], Blue}]

enter image description here

postProcess[#, {Dotted, Dashed}] & @
 ListStepPlot[{d, d + 1}, Center, PlotStyle -> 63]

enter image description here

You can use the function postProcess in two ways:

  1. wrap ListStepPlot with postProcess as in the examples above, or
  2. use it as the option value for the option DisplayFunction.

postProcess[#, {Directive[Dotted, Purple], Directive[Dashed, Cyan]}] & @ 
  ListStepPlot[{d, d + 1}, Center]

enter image description here

ListStepPlot[{d, d + 1}, Center, 
 DisplayFunction -> 
   (postProcess[#, {Directive[Dotted, Purple],   Directive[Dashed, Cyan]}] &)]

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I knew I could count on you! ($\checkmark$) $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2020 at 15:50

May be

z0 = RandomReal[];
d = Table[z = RandomReal[];
   o = {
     {Blue, Line[{{i - 1, z0}, {i, z0}}]},
     {Red, Line[{{i, z0}, {i, z}}]}
   z0 = z;
   {i, 16}];

Graphics[d, AspectRatio -> 1, ImageSize -> 300, Axes -> True]

Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but not quite. There are innumerable ways to achieve this (as I and you have found), but as I mentioned I need to apply it to ListStepPlot. (I'll be combining lots of plots, preserving data format, etc., etc.) Any suggestions? $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2020 at 1:08

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