I need ticks with equal lenghts to the outside (plen) and to the inside (mlen) of the frame of a plot. I have:

xTicks = Table[{i, i, {plen, mlen}}, {i, 0, 4, 0.2}];

and I am using Frame -> {{True, False}, {False, True}}, FrameTicks -> {xTicks, Automatic}.

The problem is, the ticks in the resulting image, as seen after exporting to pdf and zoomed in, do not have the same lenght in both directions.

This works if I use Ticks instead, or if the value is changed to 0.003 or above, but I need to use a frame, as I don't know how to force the ticks labels out of the frame by using Ticks, and I need them to be less than 0.003, as I want to distinguish them from other ticks (placed elsewhere) which are about the same lenght.

EDIT: Example code:

 Plot[x^2, {x, 0, 4}, Frame -> {{True, False}, {False, True}}, 
  FrameTicks -> {xTicks, Automatic}, ImageSize -> 1000]]
  • $\begingroup$ This seems OK in Mathematica 10.1 under Windows. What version/platform are you using? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard: I am using Mathematica 12 under Windows 10. Meanwhile, I played around a bit and found out that using Union[Table[{i, , {0, 0.0015}}, {i, 0, 4, 0.02}], Table[{i, , {0, -0.0015}}, {i, 0, 4, 0.02}]] (essentially adding out and in ticks separately) seems to work. $\endgroup$
    – xihiro
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In MMA 12.0 on Win10-64 I get shorter outward ticks when I use your lengths (which, by the way, is TINY). If I use longer ticks, e.g. plen = mlen = 0.005, then everything seems to work. So, at your size, I can reproduce the problem, but at a longer length it goes away. So it's some awful tricky corner case perhaps in the conversion to PDF. What about other formats (e.g. raster PNG vs. vector SVG)? $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcoB: I'll try. In the meanwhile, I found a workaround, so I'd say it is not a PDF issue. EDIT: Confirmed, it's not. $\endgroup$
    – xihiro
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @xihiro What's the workaround? You might want to put it in a self-answer to this question for others in the future. $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


From the comments, this seems to be a problem with (at least) version 12.0. EDIT: version 12.1 has the same issue.

There's a workaround, by writing a table for the inward ticks and another for the outward ones, only using a negative length:

outxTicks = Table[{i, i, {0,  0.0015}}, {i, 0, 4, 0.02}];
inxTicks  = Table[{i, i, {0, -0.0015}}, {i, 0, 4, 0.02}];
xTicks = Union[outxTicks,inxTicks];

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