How To Skip Legend Entries Matlab

How To Articles

Today I want to talk about a topic that many MATLAB users may encounter: how to skip legend entries in MATLAB. As someone who has spent countless hours working with MATLAB, I have come across this issue myself, and I know how frustrating it can be when you have too many legend entries cluttering up your plot. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem that I would like to share with you.

Understanding the Legend in MATLAB

Before we dive into how to skip legend entries, let’s first take a moment to understand what the legend is and why it is important. In MATLAB, the legend is a graphical representation of the data series plotted on a graph. It provides a key for identifying the different elements in the plot and helps to make the plot more understandable and visually appealing.

When you create a plot in MATLAB, the legend is automatically generated based on the data series you have plotted. Each data series is represented by a line or marker in the plot, and by default, MATLAB includes a legend entry for each data series.

Why Skip Legend Entries?

While the legend is a useful feature, there are times when you may want to skip certain legend entries. For example, if you have a plot with multiple data series and some of them are not relevant to the information you are trying to convey, including their legend entries can be misleading or confusing for the reader.

Additionally, if you have a large number of data series in your plot, including all the legend entries can make the legend overcrowded and difficult to interpret. Skipping legend entries in such cases can help to declutter the plot and make it more visually appealing.

How to Skip Legend Entries in MATLAB

Now that we understand why skipping legend entries can be beneficial, let’s proceed to the solution. In MATLAB, you can skip legend entries by using the 'HandleVisibility' property of the plot objects.

When you create a plot in MATLAB, each line or marker object has a 'Handle' associated with it. By default, the 'HandleVisibility' property of a plot object is set to 'on', which means that the object is visible in the legend. To skip a legend entry for a specific data series, you can set the 'HandleVisibility' property of the corresponding plot object to 'off'.

Here is an example that demonstrates how to skip legend entries in MATLAB:

x = 1:10;
y1 = x;
y2 = 2 * x;
plot(x, y1, 'r', 'HandleVisibility', 'on');
hold on;
plot(x, y2, 'g', 'HandleVisibility', 'off');
hold off;
legend('Data 1');

In this example, we have two data series: y1 and y2. We set the 'HandleVisibility' property of the plot object for y1 to 'on' and the plot object for y2 to 'off'. As a result, only the legend entry for y1 will be displayed.


Skipping legend entries in MATLAB can be a useful technique to declutter your plots and improve their readability. By using the 'HandleVisibility' property of plot objects, you can easily control which data series are included in the legend. Whether you have a few data series or a large number of them, this technique can help you create clear and visually appealing plots.

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you need to skip legend entries in MATLAB, remember this simple solution. Happy plotting!