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plottools by ronw

MATLAB plotting wrappers and GUI controls

Example usage

Load some data

[dsrc1 fs] = wavread('sounds/ssc/clean/t25_bwik1s_m25_bgwf4n.wav');
[dsrc2 fs] = wavread('sounds/ssc/clean/t25_bwik1s_m25_bgwf4n_masker.wav');

dmix = dsrc1 + dsrc2;

NFFT = 640;
NHOP = NFFT / 4;
Ssrc1 = dB(stft(dsrc1, NFFT, NWIN, NHOP));
Ssrc2 = dB(stft(dsrc2, NFFT, NWIN, NHOP));
Smix = dB(stft(dmix, NFFT, NWIN, NHOP));

Msrc1 = melfcc(dsrc1);
Msrc2 = melfcc(dsrc2);
Mmix = melfcc(dmix);


plotall lets you organize multiple subplots using a single function call.

plotall(Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2);
% Note that this is equivalent to passing in a cell array of data as a
% single argument:
plotall({Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2});

Panning and zooming

% Note the nifty scrollbars that let you pan and zoom the x-, y-, and
% color axes.  Left click and drag to scroll.  Right click to zoom.
plotall(Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2)

Configuring subplot layout

% plotall can automatically manage subplot layout.
% (Note that subplots are filled in row-wise)
plotall(Smix, Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2, 'subplot', [2 2]);

Aligning axes

% Let each subplot have independent y and color axes, but keep the time
% axis fixed across all subplots.
plotall(Ssrc1, Msrc1, 'align', 'x')
% Sometimes you don't want anything to be aligned.
plotall(dsrc1, Ssrc1, 'align', '')


% If the 'subplots' property is set but there are more arguments than
% subplots, the subplots are split over multiple "pages".  Pages can be
% navigated using the controls on the top right of the figure.
% See the 'plot_pages' function for another way to get this functionality
% without the rest of plotall's goodies.
plotall(Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2, 'subplot', [2 1])

More properties

% You can pass in name-value pairs to configure different properties
% of the subplots.  Passing cell arrays in lets you configure
% different properties for each subplot, otherwise properties are
% shared across all subplots.  See 'help plotall' for more details.
t = [1:NHOP:length(dmix)] / fs;
% Quantize things to the nearest hundredth of a second.
t = round(t * 100) / 100;
xticks = 1:20:length(t);
f = [0:NFFT/2] * fs / NFFT * 1e-3;
yticks = 1:80:length(f);
plotall(Smix, Ssrc1, Ssrc2, 'clim', [-25 25], 'colorbar', false, ...
	'ytick', yticks, 'yticklabel', f(yticks), ...
	'ylabel', 'Frequency (kHz)', ...
	'xtick', {[], [], xticks}, 'xticklabel', t(xticks), ...
	'xlabel', {'', '', 'Time (seconds)'}, ...
	'title', {'Mixture', 'Clean source 1', 'Clean source 2'}, ...
	'pub', true)  % "'pub', true" turns off scrollbars.

plotall gets even more useful when combined with the celltools package.

% Get a list of all wave files in the current directory.
wavfiles = glob('*.wav');
% There sure are a lot of files here, but we're going to plot them all at once.
ans =
% Define a function to compute features from a wavefile.
compute_features = @(filename) dB(stft(wavread(filename), NFFT, NWIN, NHOP));
% Build a super simple spectrogram browser for all of wavfiles.
plotall(lazymap(compute_features, wavfiles), 'subplot', [1 1], 'title', wavfiles)
% Since lazymap (unlike cellfun or map) only calls compute_features on
% a particular element of wavfiles when it is requested, it doesn't
% have to load the entire directory into memory.


help plotall
  plotall(data1, data2, ..., datan, property1, value1, property2, value2, ...)
  Plots all of the matrices contained in data1, data2, ... as subplots
  of the same figure.
  A series of name value pairs that correspond to optional settings
  and various Matlab plot properties can optionally be passed in.
  Supported properties applied across all subplots (default value):
  'align'                ('xyc'): set axes to be aligned.  can be any
                                  combination of 'x', 'y', and 'c'
  'colorbar'              (true): if true displays a colorbar next to each plot
  'colormap'          (colormap): colormap to use
  'figure'                 (gcf): figure handle
  'fun'                 (@(x) x): function to be applied to each element of
                                  data before plotting
  'order'                  ('r'): ordering of subplots ('r' for row-major order
                                  or 'c' for column-major order)
  'pub'                  (false): If true, try to make nicer looking
                                  plots suitable for publication
  'subplot'              ([n 1]): subplot arrangement
  If the 'pub' property is false, additional GUI controls are added to
  the figure, including scrollbars to control panning, zooming, and
  'caxis' settings.  Also, if n is larger than the number of subplots
  specified in the properties, s, then only s subplots will be
  displayed at a given time, but paging controls will be added to
  figure to give access to the remaining n-s plots.
  Supported per-subplot properties (default value):
  'axis'                  ('xy'): set axis appearance or scaling
  'plot_fun'  (@plot_or_imagesc): function to use for plotting each element
                                  of data
  'title'        ({'1','2',...}): titles for each matrix in data
  'xlabel'                  (''): x axis label
  'ylabel'                  (''): y axis label
  'zlabel'                  (''): z axis label
  Other valid per-subplot axis properties and values (e.g. 'CLim',
  'XLim', 'XTick') can be passed in as well.  
  Each per-subplot property value can be either a scalar, in which
  case the same value is applied to all subplots, or a cell array
  which specifies the values for each subplot individually.  Finally
  if value specified for one of these properties is a function that
  takes no arguments, it will be evaluated each time the property is
  set.  For example, is useful for adjusting the units of tick labels
  without knowing where the ticks are in advance.  E.g. setting
  'xticklabel' to @() get(gca, 'xtick')*1e-3 can automatically convert
  the horizontal axis labels from milliseconds to seconds.


Ron Weiss (


You can download this project in either zip or tar formats.

You can also clone the project with Git by running:

$ git clone git://