MATLAB® uses graphics objects to create visual representations of data. For example, a two-dimensional array of numbers can be represented as lines connecting the data points defined by each column, as a surface constructed from a grid of rectangles whose vertices are defined by each element of the array, as a contour graph where equal values in the array are connected by lines, and so on.
In all these cases, there must be a frame of reference that defines where to place each data point on the graph. This frame of reference is the coordinate system defined by the axes. Axes orient and scale graphs to produce the view of the data that you see on screen.
MATLAB creates axes to define the coordinate system of each graph. Axes are always contained within a figure object and themselves contain the graphics objects that make up the graph.
Axes properties control many aspects of how MATLAB displays graphical information. There are a number of properties for labeling and controlling the appearance of axes. For example, this surface plot shows some of the labeling possibilities and indicates the controlling property.
The Axes Properties list all axes properties and provide an overview of the characteristics that are affected by each property.