# How to add a vertical line to a plot

In the plot below I would like to add two vertical lines at $x = \frac{\pi}{15} \pm \frac{1}{20}$. How can I do that?

f[x_] := (x^2 z)/((x^2 - y^2)^2 + 4 q^2 x^2) /. {y -> π/15, z -> 1, q -> π/600}
Plot[{f[x], f[π/15],f[π/15]/Sqrt}, {x, π/15 - .01, π/15 + .01}] • Are you sure you want +-1/20? This is outside your current plot range. – Ajasja Mar 27 '12 at 10:18
• A related question. – J. M.'s ennui Jun 4 '13 at 6:48

## 7 Answers

An easy way to add a vertical line is by using Epilog.

Here is an example:

f[x_] := (x^2 z)/((x^2 - y^2)^2 + 4 q^2 x^2) /. {y -> π/15, z -> 1, q -> π/600}
Quiet[maxy = FindMaxValue[f[x], x]*1.1]
lineStyle = {Thick, Red, Dashed};
line1 = Line[{{π/15 + 1/50, 0}, {π/15 + 1/50, maxy}}];
line2 = Line[{{π/15 - 1/50, 0}, {π/15 - 1/50, maxy}}];
Plot[{f[x], f[π/15], f[π/15]/Sqrt}, {x, π/15 - 1/20, π/15 + 1/20},
PlotStyle -> {Automatic, Directive[lineStyle], Directive[lineStyle]},
Epilog -> {Directive[lineStyle], line1, line2}] # Caveat

While adding lines as Epilog (or Prolog) objects works most cases, the method can easily fail when automated, for example by automatically finding the minimum and maximum of the dataset. See the following examples where the red vertical line is missing at $$x=5$$:

data1 = Table[0, {10}];
data2 = {1., 1., 1.1*^18, 1., 6., 1.2, 1., 1., 1., 148341.};

Row@{
ListPlot[data1, Epilog -> {Red, Line@{{5, Min@data1}, {5, Max@data1}}}],
ListPlot[data2, Epilog -> {Red, Line@{{5, Min@data2}, {5, Max@data2}}}]
} In the left case, Min and Max of data turned out to be the same, thus the vertical line has no height. For the second case, Mathematica fails to draw the line due to automatically selected PlotRange (selecting PlotRange -> All helps). Furthermore, if the plot is part of a dynamical setup, and the vertical plot range is manipulated, the line endpoints must be updated accordingly, requiring extra attention.

# Solution

Though all of these cases can be handled of course, a more convenient and easier option would be to use GridLines:

Plot[{f[x]}, {x, π/15 - 1/20, π/15 + 1/20},
GridLines -> {{π/15 + 1/50, π/15 - 1/50}, {f[π/15], f[π/15]/Sqrt}}, PlotRange -> All] And for the extreme datasets:

Row@{
ListPlot[data1, GridLines -> {{{5, Red}}, None}],
ListPlot[data2, GridLines -> {{{5, Red}}, None}]
} • @Istvan thanks for the edit. – Ajasja Jun 4 '13 at 12:56
• Welcome Ajasja. A certain data2 & Epilog combo pissed me off recently triggering this edit. Sadly, I can't give a sound explanation on why Mathematica fails to draw the Line in that case. Perhaps someone else has an insight on this. – István Zachar Jun 4 '13 at 16:03
• In the Epilog version, I'd personally use Scaled[] instead of futzing around with bounds. Witness for instance ListPlot[{1., 1., 1.1*^18, 1., 6., 1.2, 1., 1., 1., 148341.}, Epilog -> {Blue, Line[{Scaled[{0, -1}, {5, 0}], Scaled[{0, 1}, {5, 0}]}]}]. – J. M.'s ennui Jun 5 '13 at 11:26
• "Who knew..." - I did. ;) – J. M.'s ennui Jun 5 '13 at 12:44
• You can also use InfiniteLine – JEM_Mosig Mar 16 '18 at 0:43

One way is to use GridLines:

f[x_] := (x^2 z)/((x^2 - y^2)^2 + 4 q^2 x^2) /. {y -> π/15, z -> 1, q -> π/600}

Plot[f[x], {x, π/15 - .1, π/15 + .1},
GridLines -> {{Pi/15 - 1/20, Pi/15 + 1/20}, {f[Pi/15], f[Pi/15]/Sqrt}},
PlotRange -> All, Frame -> True, Axes -> False] Can use Show, but Epilog is better.

f[x_] := (x^2 z)/((x^2 - y^2)^2 + 4 q^2 x^2) /. {y -> π/15, z -> 1, q -> π/600}
plot = Plot[{f[x], f[π/15],
f[π/15]/Sqrt}, {x, π/15 - .01, π/15 + .01}, PlotRange -> {{0, 0.26}, Automatic}];

Show[plot,
Graphics[{Black, Line[{{Pi/15 + 1/20, 2000}, {Pi/15 + 1/20, 9000}}]}],
Graphics[{Black, Line[{{Pi/15 - 1/20, 2000}, {Pi/15 - 1/20, 9000}}]}]] I assume you mean $x = \frac{\pi}{15} \pm \frac{1}{200}$. Then you can use Prolog or Epilog with InfiniteLine, like this:

Plot[
f[x],
{x, π/15 - .01, π/15 + .01},
Epilog -> {
(* add vertical lines *)
InfiniteLine[{π/15 + 1/200, 0}, {0, 1}],
InfiniteLine[{π/15 - 1/200, 0}, {0, 1}]
}
] This does not require you to know the plot range, nor any of the function values. In addition, you are still free to use GridLines for actual grid lines.

In case you don't want to cross the $x$-axis, you can use HalfLine instead of InfiniteLine, and fix the position of the axis with the AxesOrigin option.

Another possibility is to use ParametricPlot in tandem with Show:

Show[{
Plot[{f[x], f[Pi/15], f[Pi/15]/Sqrt}, {x, 0.1, 0.3},
PlotRange -> All, Frame -> True, Axes -> False],

ParametricPlot[{{Pi/15 + 1/20, u}, {Pi/15 - 1/20, u}}, {u, 0, 9000},
PlotStyle -> Black]
}] Another possibility is to use Ticks:

Plot[{f[x], f[π/15], f[π/15]/Sqrt}, {x, π/15 - .06, π/15 + .06},
Ticks -> {{{π/15 + 1/20, π/15 + 1/20, {0.595, 0}, Directive[Red, Dashed]},
{π/15 - 1/20, π/15 - 1/20, {0.595, 0}, Directive[Blue, Dashed]}},
All}, PlotRange -> {{0.12, 0.3}, All}]

• Clever manipulation of the Ticks specification, +1. – rcollyer Jun 4 '13 at 12:47

Next possibility is to use ListPlot:

gp1 = Plot[{({f[x], f[π/15], f[π/15]/Sqrt},{x, π/15 - .05, π/15 + .05}];

ymax = Max[Last /@ Level[Cases[%, _Line, Infinity], {-2}]];

gp2 = ListPlot[{{{π/15 - 1/20, 0}, {π/15 - 1/20,ymax}}, {{π/15 + 1/20, 0}, {π/15 + 1/20, ymax}}},
Joined -> True, PlotRange -> {{0.15, 0.26}, All}];
Show[{gp1, gp2}]

• You might want to note how I formatted your previous answer, and apply that formatting to this answer... – J. M.'s ennui Jun 4 '13 at 7:11
• You may also find it valuable to register your account. – rcollyer Jun 4 '13 at 12:47