Create Plots Using the Simulation Data Inspector

Plots can help showcase important features or trends in your data and share your findings with others. The Simulation Data Inspector allows you to select from a variety of visualization types and layouts and customize plot and signal appearances to present your data most effectively. This topic uses simulation data generated from a simulation of the slexAircraftExample model that logs the output of the Actuator Model block and the Stick, alpha, rad, and q, rad/sec signals.

Plot Layouts

The Simulation Data Inspector allows you to select from three types of layouts under the layout menu.

  • Basic Layouts includes templates for two or three subplot layouts.

  • Overlays options have overlay subplots in two corners of the main plot.

  • Grid layouts create a grid of subplots from 1×1 to 8×8.

You can select the plot layout that best highlights the characteristics of your data. For example, with a basic three plot layout, you can use the large plot to show a main result and show intermediate signals on the smaller plots.

Moving Between Subplot Layouts

When you plot a signal on a subplot, the Simulation Data Inspector links the signal to the subplot, identifying the subplot with a number. As you move between subplot layouts, the association between the signal and subplot remains, even as the shape or visibility of the subplot may change. The Basic Layouts and Overlays subplot numbering are based on the columnwise numbering used for the grids layout.

Subplots of Grid layouts follow columnwise numbering, from 1 at the top left subplot to 8 in the bottom left, to 64 at the bottom right. The number system is fixed, regardless of which subplot configuration you select. For example, if you display four subplots in a 2×2 configuration, the bottom right subplot of the configuration is numbered 10, not 4. The number is 10 because in the largest possible 8×8 matrix, that subplot is numbered 10 when you count the subplots in a columnwise manner.

Basic Layouts subplots also use the fixed 8×8 columnwise numbering as a base. For example, the top plot in this three-subplot layout is subplot 1, and the two subplots below it are 2 and 10.

In this three-subplot layout, the index for the right subplot is 9, and the indices for the two subplots on the left are 1 and 2.

For the Overlays layouts, the index for the main plot is always 1, and the indices for the overlaid plots are 2 and 9.


You can choose from several visualizations to use for your data in the Simulation Data Inspector. To view available visualizations, open the Visualization Gallery by clicking Edit View on the layout menu.

You can drag the visualization you want to add to your layout to the plot where you want to add it. You can choose a time plot, map, or text editor for each subplot in your layout. For more information about using map visualizations, see View and Replay Map Data.

Add a text editor to your plot layout when you want to present conclusions, descriptions, or observations alongside your data. The text editor includes a toolbar for rich text formatting, including:

  • Bullet points

  • Numbered lists

  • Hyperlinks

  • LaTeX equations

Customize Plot Appearance

After you choose a plot layout, you can customize the appearance of each visualization using the visualization settings menu . The number of menu tabs depends on the visualizations present in your layout. When your layout does not include a map visualization, the Map tab is not shown.

On the Map tab, you can select between a street view and a satellite view for your map visualization.

The Time plot tab includes sections for modifying the style, legend, and limits for time plots in your layout. In the Style section, you can specify a color for each aspect of the plot. For example, you might change the Background of a layout you want to print to white to save printer ink. Use the Show markers check box to specify whether you want to show markers on plotted signals. You can show or hide the grid using the Show grid option. In the Legend section, you can control the legend location and visibility. The selections on the Style and Legend tabs apply to all subplots in the Simulation Data Inspector.

The Limits section gives you control over the limits of the t- and y-axes for individual subplots. You may also choose to normalize the y-axis. Except for the t-axis limits, the settings you configure in the Limits section apply to the active subplot. To configure t-axis limits individually for a subplot, unlink the subplot. For more information, see Linked Subplots.

To improve the basic layout plot created in the previous section, change the y-axis limits of the left graph to match those on the right.

  1. Select the q, rad/sec plot to view its y-axis limits in the Limits tab.

  2. Select the Actuator Model: 1 plot as the active plot.

  3. In the Limits section, change the y-axis limits of the Actuator Model: 1 plot to match the limits of the q, rad/sec plot.

You can clear the active subplot or all subplots using the clear subplots menu on the toolbar.

Customize Signal Appearance

The Simulation Data Inspector allows you to modify the color and style of each signal individually. For each signal, you can select from a palette of standard colors or specify a custom color with RGB values.

You can access the line style menu for a signal from several places:

  • Click the graphic representation in the Line column of the navigation pane.

  • From the Simulink® Editor, right-click the logging badge, and select Properties to open the Visualization Properties dialog. Then, click the graphic representation of the Line.

    From the Visualization Properties dialog, you can also select subplots where you want to plot the signal. Changes made through the Visualization Properties dialog box take effect for subsequent simulations.

Line style customization can help emphasize differences between signals in your plot. For example, change the line style of the Stick signal to dashed to visually indicate that it is an ideal, rather than simulated, signal.

  1. Click the Line column for the Stick signal.

  2. Select the dashed option (third in the list).

  3. Click Set.

The alpha, rad and Actuator Model: 1 signals are very close in color. You can select bold, easily distinguishable colors for all of the signals in your plot.

  1. Select the Actuator Model: 1 signal in the navigation pane.

  2. Click the Line row entry in the properties pane.

  3. Specify your desired color.

  4. Click Set.

Rename Signals

You can rename signals in the Simulation Data Inspector when a more descriptive name can help convey information. Changing a signal name in the Simulation Data Inspector does not affect signal names used in models. You cannot rename bus signals in the Simulation Data Inspector.

To change a signal name, you can double-click the signal name in the work area or archive, or you can edit the Name field in the Properties pane. Change the name of the Actuator Model: 1 signal to Actuator Output.

See Also

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