SetAxes v1.0

A package for 2-D plots in Mathematica™

Note: SetAxes does not work in Mathematica v11.3.
There is a version-specific bug in v11.3 FrameTicks functionality and, apparently, no workaround. Earlier and later versions of Mathematica are OK.


The plotting capabilities of Mathematica™ are truly impressive but axes in these plots are designed, by default, to be generic so that they will work for many different kinds of plots. The traditional style of axes on 2-D plots seen in scientific journals is rather different. Tick marks, for instance, are typically drawn outside the plot area, not inside.

The Mathematica™ language is very powerful and alternate formatting of plots can be achieved by the user, to any reasonable specification, but not without some detailed, low-level programming which may not be completely familiar.

The SetAxes package was written to make available a few simple convenience functions with which one can specify the tick marks and labelling of an axis in a 2-D plot. Although, as programming, they are fairly trivial, I have found the package extremely useful and decided that it was probably worth sharing.

Package functionality is described below with output for three examples.


SetAxes provides three functions: setLinAxis[], setLogAxis[] and defaultAxes[], wth arguments as follows:
isAbscissa (True/False)
axis label
lower bound
upper bound
# of major ticks, including ends
# of minor ticks between major ticks
{# of digits in tick label, # of decimal places in the latter}]
isAbscissa (True/False)
axis label
lower bound ((int) log10)
upper bound ((int) log10)
# of minor ticks between major ticks (0, 1, 4 or 8)]
Restore both axes to their default format.


The following plots are meant to be illustrative, not comprehensive. There are many more possibilities (see documentation). These plots were exported as PNG files with width = 600 pts. Note: PDF files have much better resolution but are not fully compatible with all web browsers.

Two linear axes

Log-Log plot

Smooth histogram superimposed on histogram


SetAxes and its documentation may be downloaded from the following link (zip file, 58 Kb):

SetAxes v1.0


The SetAxes documentation consists of one Mathematica™ notebook illustrating various uses of the package. A comment at the top of the notebook provides installation instructions.


Please send comments and any other feedback to this address.

This page last updated on 19 April 2019.