How can I set good Axis Limits manually?

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Katy Weihrich
Katy Weihrich on 21 Nov 2022
I am creating some figures that require me to set the y-axis limits manually.
There are some factors that are important to me:
1) I would like to be able to identify the closest possible ticks that enable me to plot all of the data (e.g. in the case of ylim([... 600]) would be okay for max = 599.98, but not for max = 600.12)
2) It needs to handle data that varies widely in its range (e.g. preferred Outputs could be: xlim([0.5 0.7]); xlim(14 17]); xlim(100 145]); xlim(460 570]); ect...).
3) The ticks should be placed at "rounded" points (e.g. if the data min = 104.34 & max = 143.99; then (i think) a tick distance of iOP_tick = 5 placed at xx0 or xx5 places would be good --> xlim(100 145]) instead of xlim(104 144]))
So far I have the code below. It is functional, however, this seems very bit unflexible and I can only get to the right thresholds for iOP_tickdiff by trial and error (the above ones have not been checked yet if they make sense). I feel like I will run into annoying problems in a few months if I want to apply a different dataset and my "optimal" turn out not to be so "optimal" after all. For example, this code cannot handle negative numbers at all.
%% Inputs:
% OP_Axislimits --> Data Minimum and Maximum (e.g.: OP_Axislimits = [163.65; 467.34])
%% Data Wrangling:
% iOP_tickdiff --> "optimal" distance between ticks on the Axis
% i_possticks --> possible ticks for the axis
% iml --> index (/location) of the possible tick closest to OP_Axislimits
% ilocin/ax --> iml adjusted to not overlapp with the data
%% Output:
% i_ticks --> "optimal" ticks for the axis
% i_tickmin/ax --> "optimal" axis limits
%% Code:
i_axesdiff = OP_Axislimits(2,1) -OP_Axislimits(1,1);
iOP_tickdiff = nan;
if i_axesdiff <= 1; iOP_tickdiff = 0.1; end
if (i_axesdiff> 1) && (i_axesdiff<= 10); iOP_tickdiff = 1; end
if (i_axesdiff> 10) && (i_axesdiff<=100); iOP_tickdiff = 5; end
if (i_axesdiff>100) && (i_axesdiff<=200); iOP_tickdiff = 10; end
if (i_axesdiff>200) && (i_axesdiff<=300); iOP_tickdiff = 15; end
if i_axesdiff >300; iOP_tickdiff = 20; end
i_possticks = 0:iOP_tickdiff:OP_Axislimits(2,1)+iOP_tickdiff;
[~,iml] = min(abs(i_possticks-OP_Axislimits(1,1)));
if OP_Axislimits(1,1) < i_possticks(iml)
i_tickmin = i_possticks(iml-1); ilocin = iml-1; else
i_tickmin = i_possticks(iml); ilocin = iml; end
[~,iml] = min(abs(i_possticks-OP_Axislimits(2,1)));
if OP_Axislimits(2,1) > i_possticks(iml)
i_tickmax = i_possticks(iml+1); ilocax = iml+1; else
i_tickmax = i_possticks(iml); ilocax = iml; end
i_ticks = i_possticks(ilocin:ilocax);
%% Application:
xlim([i_tickmin i_tickmax])
Is there a more standardized way to do this? Does Matlab have a function that can help, or is there a way to improve this code by considering proportions? I had a look around and could not find something and I thought I would ask. Am I just overlooking a very easy solution?
PS: After writing the whole question down, I think the main issue is finding a way to automatically select the best iOP_tickdiff values. Is there a guide or formula that I could use for it?

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