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Errorbars using ListPlot and Epilog

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  • Subject: [mg43977] Errorbars using ListPlot and Epilog
  • From: "Philip M. Howe" <pmhowe at>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 04:16:12 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I want to make some plots showing error bars.  There are several 
MathGroup threads showing how MultipleListPlot can be used to show 
error bars.  However, I find that MultipleListPlot doesn't offer me 
the flexibility I seek.  For example, PointSize doesn't seem to be an 
option, and I don't particluarly like their symbols.  I have 
therefore written a snippet that allows me to use ListPlot and Epilog 
to add the error bars.  The snippet is;

errorListPlot[data_, xplus_, xminus_, yplus_, yminus_] :=
     Module[{xerrorPlus, xerrorMinus, xerror, myErrorX, yerrorPlus,
         yerrorMinus, yerror, myErrorY},
       xerrorPlus =
         Transpose[{Transpose[data][[1]] + xplus, Transpose[data][[2]]}];
       xerrorMinus =
         Transpose[{Transpose[data][[1]] - xminus, Transpose[data][[2]]}];
       xerror = Table[{Part[
               xerrorPlus, n], Part[xerrorMinus, n]}, {n, 1, Length[data]}];
       myErrorX = Map[Line, Transpose[{xerrorPlus, xerrorMinus}]];
       yerrorPlus =
         Transpose[{Transpose[data][[1]], Transpose[data][[2]] + yplus}];
       yerrorMinus =
         Transpose[{Transpose[data][[1]], Transpose[data][[2]] - yminus}];
       yerror = Table[{Part[
               yerrorPlus, n], Part[yerrorMinus, n]}, {n, 1, Length[data]}];
       myErrorY = Map[Line, Transpose[{yerrorPlus, yerrorMinus}]];
       ListPlot[data, PlotStyle -> PointSize[.02], Frame -> True,
         Background -> Linen, Epilog -> {myErrorX, myErrorY}]];

This works OK.  Try the following:
  mydata = Table[{x, Sin[x]}, {x, 0., 3, 0.5}];
errorListPlot[mydata, .05, .05, .1, .1];

It has (at least) two shortcomings that I haven't sorted out: 1. I 
would like the option of having different errors at the various 
points - i.e., I ought to be able to introduce an error list for the 
x and y errors, and 2. Many journals prefer that the error bars have 
small lines that terminate the error bar - i.e, the error bar ends up 
looking like a capital "I".  Also, I realize the coding style is 
rather primitive, so I won't be embarrassed if you offer changes. Any 

Thanks in advance for the help.


Philip M. Howe
Program Manager, Stockpile Surety
Los Alamos National Laboratory

(505) 665-5332
(505) 667-9498
Fax: 505-665-5249
email pmhowe at
Mail Stop P945

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