# Switch from logarithmic to linear scaling partway along a plot's axis

In the 2015 Planck satellite results, they give the latest plot of the temperature power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background, which I show below. (I am only interested in the main plot; you can ignore the residuals at the bottom.)

Notice that there is a dotted vertical line at $\ell=30$, and the x-axis to the right of that line is linear while to the left it is logarithmic.

How close of an approximation to this effect can I create in Mathematica? • I have this solved in a package I wrote for my needs. It involves plotting f[g[x]] instead of f[x] where g is a Piecewise function that grows logarithmically in one range of x and then linearly in the next. Then you need to manually specify the ticks such that the positions are distorted as the inverse function of g. Once I get to work tomorrow I can post a full answer if someone doesn't come up with one before that. May 4, 2015 at 19:35
• Related: (6877), (8241), (13373) May 4, 2015 at 19:36
• @LLlAMnYP I look forward to your answer. I think that is similar in concept to what I did here: (78708) May 4, 2015 at 19:36
• @Mr.Wizard, it's actually very simple when using the TickPostTransformation option in CustomTicks. I'll see if I have anything useful on my laptop right now. May 4, 2015 at 19:40
• @Mr.Wizard, that a very interesting thing with ScalingFunctions you did in your solution. So far, though, they only work with a limited set of plotting functions, right? May 4, 2015 at 20:41

Ok, here's a very brief toy example while I don't have access to my desktop computer at work.

It's easy enough to figure out, that a LogPlot of f is basically the plot of Log[f[x]]. And A LogLinearPlot is the plot of f[Exp[x]]. But we can extend this to arbitrary scalings of the axes.

I start with defining a piecewise function which maps x values between 0 and 1 to the interval from 1 to 10 logarithmically and x values between 1 and 2 to the interval 10 to 100 linearly, as well as the inverse of that.

g[x_] := Piecewise[{{10^x, 0 <= x < 1},
{Rescale[x, {1, 2}, {10, 100}], x >= 1}}]
inverseg[x_] :=
Piecewise[{{Log[10, x], 1 <= x < 10},
{Rescale[x, {10, 100}, {1, 2}], x >= 10}}]


Then if you have the CustomTicks package:

Needs["CustomTicks"];
ticks = LinTicks[1, 10, TickPostTransformation -> inverseg]~Join~
LinTicks[10, 100, TickPostTransformation -> inverseg];


If you don't have it:

ticks = {N@inverseg@#,
ToString@#, {0.01, 0}, {}} & /@ (Range[2, 10, 2]~Join~
Range[20, 100, 20]);


Finally (I show Sin[x] in this toy example):

Plot[Sin[g[x]], {x, 0, 2}, Ticks -> {ticks, Automatic}] Note, how according to the x-y coordinates taken from the axes labels this is just the regular Sin[x] function, but everything is distorted such, that we see the desired log scaling before 10 and linear scaling after.

This plot was generated without using the CustomTicks package, hence lazy and without minor ticks. I'll go into more details tomorrow.

Update 05.05.15

Writing out these piecewise functions by hand is tedious. I've automated this.

Firstly, a function I called MapLog, though logRescale may have been more appropriate. Although, unlike Rescale[x, {x1, x2}, {y1 y2}] where simply swapping the 2nd and 3rd argument gives you the inverse function, with a logarithmic/exponential mapping it's a bit less straightforward.

MapLog[{x1_, x2_, y1_, y2_}, type_String: "Direct"] :=
Which[
type == "Direct", (Log[(x2/x1)^(1/(y2 - y1)), #1/x1] + y1 &),
type == "Inverse", (x1 (x2/x1)^((#1 - y1)/(y2 - y1)) &)]


The default "Direct" form take the interval {x1, x2} and maps it to the interval {y1, y2} logarithmically.

Plot[MapLog[{1, 10, 0, 1}][x], {x, 1, 10}] MapLog[{1,10,0,1}, "Inverse"]


will naturally give the inverse of such an operation.

Next comes the main function AxisBreaks, which handles the construction of the direct and inverse transformation functions for the ticks and coordinates.

Options[AxisBreaks] = {Output -> "Direct"};
AxisBreaks[specs :
PatternSequence[{{_?NumericQ, _?NumericQ, _?NumericQ, _String : "Lin"} ..}],
opts : OptionsPattern[]] :=
Module[{
fullspecs = (If[Length[#] == 3, Join[#, {"Lin"}], #, #] &) /@ specs,
ranges2 = Accumulate[specs[[All, 3]]],
ranges1 = Accumulate[specs[[All, 3]]] - specs[[All, 3]],
expspecs, dirfunc, invfunc, output
},
expspecs =
Transpose@{fullspecs[[All, 1]], fullspecs[[All, 2]], ranges1, ranges2, fullspecs[[All, 4]]};

If[OptionValue[Output] == "Direct",
dirfunc[x_] :=
Piecewise[Table[
{Which[j[] == "Lin", Rescale[x, j[[1 ;; 2]], j[[3 ;; 4]]],
j[] == "Log", MapLog[j[[1 ;; 4]], "Direct"][x]],
j[] <= x <= j[]}, {j, expspecs}]];];

If[OptionValue[Output] == "Inverse",
invfunc[x_] :=
Piecewise[Table[
{Which[j[] == "Lin", Rescale[x, j[[3 ;; 4]], j[[1 ;; 2]]],
j[] == "Log", MapLog[j[[1 ;; 4]], "Inverse"][x]],
j[] <= x <= j[]}, {j, expspecs}]];];

Which[OptionValue[Output] == "Direct", output = dirfunc;,
OptionValue[Output] == "Inverse", output = invfunc;];
output
]


Usage is as follows:

specs = {{1, 30, 1, "Log"}, {30, 500, 4}};
dg = AxisBreaks[specs];
ig = AxisBreaks[specs, Output -> "Inverse"];


Which means in plain English "give me a function, that maps the interval {1, 30} logarithmically to 1 part of the plot and the interval {30, 500} to 4 parts of the plot (specifically, to {0, 1} and {1, 5}, respectively. Also give me the inverse function of this."

Then a little helper to generate the ticks:

makeTicks[func_, major_List, minor_List: {}] :=
({func@#, ToString@#, {0.01, 0}, {}} & /@ major) ~Join~
({func@#, "", {0.005, 0}, {}} & /@ minor);


Usage:

major = {2, 10, 30}~Join~Range[100, 500, 100]; (* can't be bothered to make minor ticks *)
ticks = makeTicks[dg, major];


Basically give the transformation function as the first argument, the list of major ticks as the second, minor ticks are an optional third argument.

Now plot f[x], replacing as f[ig[x]] (ig is the inverse transformation), and if you want to plot between x1 and x2, you now need to substitute dg[x1] and dg[x2] (dg is the direct transformation).

Plot[Sin[15/Sqrt[ig@x]], {x, dg, dg},
Ticks -> {ticks, Automatic}, PlotRange -> Full] Neat examples

This goes beyond the scope of the OP, but AxisBreaks can do a lot more, that I'd like to showcase.

LogLinearPlot for negative values? Negative and positive values? No problem.

specs = {{-1000, -5, 2, "Log"}, {-5, 5, 1}, {5, 1000, 2, "Log"}};
dg = AxisBreaks[specs];
ig = AxisBreaks[specs, Output -> "Inverse"];
ticks =
makeTicks[dg,
{-1000, -300, -100, -30, -10, 10, 30, 100, 300, 1000}~Join~Range[-4, 4, 2]];
Plot[Log[1 + y^2] /. y -> ig[x], {x, dg[-1000], dg},
Ticks -> {ticks, Automatic}, AxesOrigin -> {dg, 0}] Generating a broken or snipped axis?

The graphical part aside (that's straighforward with Epilog), how to show two datasets like

data1 = RandomReal[{0, 1}, 30];
data2 = RandomReal[{1000, 1001}, 30];


on one graph? Simple, the intervals need not be continuous, just monotonically increasing and log mapping mustn't cross zero.

specs = {{0, 1.1, 1}, {999.9, 1001.1, 1}};
dg = AxisBreaks[specs];
ig = AxisBreaks[specs, Output -> "Inverse"];
ticks = makeTicks[dg, Range[0, 1, .2]~Join~Range[1000, 1001, .2]];
ListPlot[{dg /@ data1, dg /@ data2}, Ticks -> {Automatic, ticks},
Joined -> True] Note, that as it is now the y-axis being rescaled, I apply the direct transformation to the data (dg, not ig), and I actually don't need the inverse. Also I slightly padded the intervals being remapped, as they aren't continuous.

Both axes at the same time. Say we have four datasets which occupy rather different ranges (smallX, smallY), (smallX, bigY), (bigX, bigY), (bigX, smallY), although with some limitations.

data1 = Transpose@{Range[1, 10],
Range[.5, 5, .5] + RandomReal[{0, 0.3}, 10]};
data2 = Transpose@{Range[1000, 1100, 10],
Range[5, 0, -.5] + RandomReal[{0, 0.3}, 11]};
data3 = Transpose@{Range[1000, 1100, 10],
Range[500, 1500, 100] + RandomReal[{0, 10}, 11]};
data4 = Transpose@{Range[1, 10],
Range[1500, 600, -100] + RandomReal[{0, 10}, 10]};
specsx = {{0, 11, 1}, {990, 1110, 1}};
specsy = {{0, 6, 1}, {500, 1600, 1}};
dgx = AxisBreaks[specsx];
dgy = AxisBreaks[specsy];
ticksx = makeTicks[dgx, Range[1, 10]~Join~Range[1000, 1100, 20]];
ticksy = makeTicks[dgy, Range[1, 5]~Join~Range[500, 1500, 200]];
ListPlot[Map[{dgx[#[]], dgy[#[]]} &, {data1, data2, data3,
data4}, {2}], Ticks -> {ticksx, ticksy}] In the case of ListPlot where data are given as x-y pairs, we apply the direct transform to the x coordinate too. The inverse is again not needed.

Feel free to suggest further examples.

Bonus - reproduction of the graph in OP

Simply load the definitions of AxisBreaks and MapLog and run below code to get

specs = {{2, 30, 2, "Log"}, {30, 2500, 4}};
dg = AxisBreaks[specs, Output -> "Direct"];
ig = AxisBreaks[specs, Output -> "Inverse"];
makeTicks[func_, major_List,
minor_List: {}] := ({func@#, ToString@#, {0.02, 0}, {}} & /@
major)~Join~({func@#, "", {0.01, 0}, {}} & /@ minor);
major = {2, 10, 30}~Join~Range[500, 2500, 500];
minor = Range[3, 9]~Join~{20}~Join~Range[100, 2400, 100];
ticks = makeTicks[dg, major, minor];
func[x_] :=
Total@Thread[((#2 #3 x^2)/(#3^2 x^2 + (-x^2 + #1^2)^2) &)
[{2, 250, 600, 800, 1500}, {2, 100, 40, 40, 40}, {30, 200, 200, 200, 1000}]]
Plot[10^4 func[ig[x]], {x, dg, dg}, FrameStyle -> Thick,
ImageSize -> 600, BaseStyle -> 16, Frame -> True,
FrameTicks -> {ticks, Automatic},
Epilog -> {Gray, Dashed, Line[{{dg, -200}, {dg, 5500}}]}] • Well, if everything's properly defined, you simply need to adjust the Range[...] properly. In my example I figured I want a major tick in steps of 2 at the log-scale part and in steps of 20 at the linear scale part and the x-values there were ranging from 1 to 10 and 10 to 100, respectively. So I wrote Range[2,10,2] and Range[20,100,20]. You want something along the lines of Range[a,b,stepsize1] and Range[b,c,stepsize2], then fine-tune according to your plot. May 4, 2015 at 20:52
• These are tick length specifications. I'd refer you to the documentation for Ticks which explains in detail, how ticks are specified and such. If you're comfortable with shorthand notations in Mathematica, such as &/@ which I used a lot of, then after studying the docs for the Ticks option you should have no problem understanding what's going on in my ticks = ... assignment. May 4, 2015 at 20:55
• Happy 1K rep! :D May 5, 2015 at 1:11
• And I threw in an attempt to reproduce your plot. I'm almost certain you can get arbitrarily close, as that plot looks like it's also been made in Mathematica. May 5, 2015 at 14:31
• func is simply a sum of five lorentzians - terms with the following dependence on frequency: Im[f/(f0^2-f^2-I g f)]. As this seems to be a spectrum of some sort, I figured it's an appropriate term. I constructed a pure function for the above expression and threaded it over a list of 5 frequencies (for the peak position), 5 amplitudes, 5 widths (that's the g). Apologies though, the func in my code has only 3 lorentzians, but the plot was generated with 5. Will update in a moment. May 5, 2015 at 18:42

If you are comfortable using undocumented and unsupported functionality we can do this with a ScalingFunctions option as I did for ListLogLinearPlot for the whole real numbers.

(* listability *)
(self :    fn[off_, scale_])[x_List] := self /@ x
(self : invfn[off_, scale_])[x_List] := self /@ x

fn[off_, scale_][x_?NumericQ] :=
If[x < off, Log[x], x/scale + (Log[off] - off/scale)]

invfn[off_, scale_][x_?NumericQ] :=
If[x < Log[off], Exp[x], off + x scale - scale Log[off]]

splitlog[n_, scale_: 10] := {fn[n, scale], invfn[n, scale]}


To use it:

Plot[Sin[15/x], {x, 1, 50},
PlotRange -> All,
ScalingFunctions -> {splitlog, None},
GridLines -> {{9}}
] The first parameter is the x point at which to switch from log to linear. The second (optional) parameter of splitlog controls relative scale of the two halves of the plot:

Table[
Plot[Sin[15/x], {x, 1, 50},
PlotRange -> All,
ScalingFunctions -> {splitlog[point, scale], None},
GridLines -> {{point}},
ImageSize -> 180
],
{point, {3, 15, 35}},
{scale, {2, 10, 30}}
] // GraphicsGrid • That is neat! So what's up with the ticks and labels? M seems to be a bit arbitrary in generating them and it seems to only be dependent on scale May 4, 2015 at 23:19
• @LLlAMnYP I agree the generation seems a bit random but it is likely a rather complex problem to handle generally. You can use one of the tools from (1742) to peer at the definitions of ChartingScaledTicks, ChartingFindTicks, ChartingFindLogTicks etc. to see the process. Ultimately manual generation may be needed for the best visual result. May 5, 2015 at 0:19
• Thank you sir, this is pure gold. When I was fiddling around, trying to build custom tick functions, these would always come up in error messages... May 5, 2015 at 0:59
• In Mathematica 9, I don't see quite the same behavior. In particular, I have to draw the GridLine at Log rather than just 9 for it to appear at the place labeled 9 in the plot. May 5, 2015 at 18:24
• @thecommexokid regarding grid line at Log that is indication of further development of this function which is encouraging, but also indication that one cannot expect it to remain unchanged. Because I chose SubValues notation for fn I cannot use Listable itself as that would only thread over off and scale rather than x_List; this is my workaround. May 5, 2015 at 23:04