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Matlab 3D figure to 3D (X)HTML

version (436 KB) by Dirk-Jan Kroon
Converts 3D objects of a Matlab figure to XHTML embedded X3D file. Interactive 3D website graphics.


Updated 17 Aug 2011

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Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

This function FIGURE2XHTML converts the 3D objects of a Matlab figure to an in XHTML embedded X3D file. In a modern browser, you can then view your figure interactively because of the great X3DOM Library (Instant 3D the HTML way!

Currently the function supports: Axes, Patch, Line, Surface, Text, Images and Light Objects.

Note: Even volume rendering in your browser is possible, by using:

Browsers supported:
- Google Chrome 9.x and above
- Firefox 4.x and above
- Webkit nightly builds
- Flash11 needed for Internet explorer (or InstantReality-plugin)


Note : All input arguments are optional, and sorting doesn't matter
thus figure2xhtml(); is valid but also figure2xhtml(options,handle);

filename : Name of the XHTML file (also an X3D file is created).
When empty or not known a File-Dialog is shown
handle : Figure handle or axis handle
When empty or not known the current axis (GCA) is used
options : A struct with options
options.output : Produce output files 'x3d', 'xhtml' or 'both' (default)
options.width : Width of X3D render object in pixels default 500
options.height : Height of X3D render object in pixels default 500
options.headlight : Enable Camera head light, boolean true/false
(default true)
options.title : Title of xhtml page, default 'Matlab X3D'
options.interactive : Make mesh/surface objects clickable in xhtml,
boolean true/false (default false)

figure, hold on; axis equal;
patch(FV,'facecolor',[1 0 0],'facealpha',0.5);

Cite As

Dirk-Jan Kroon (2021). Matlab 3D figure to 3D (X)HTML (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (44)

Chris Mark

Update - found a workaround. Instead of scatter3, convert points to spheres using ellipsoid, then plot using patch. Use semiaxis lengths appropriate for your dimensions, and set axis equal for the spheres before calling patch.
If you assign colour to your points, you'll need to assign colour to lines as well as faces (setting lines to transparent doesn't work, apparently FIGURE2XHTML can't get transparency settings for the axes object passed to it). Otherwise lines default to black, and your points will look black. I also commented out the if statement in L.210 of addmesh.m to avoid adding lines to the spheres (see Oleg's comment 24-Feb-19, below).
Great job Dirk-Jan and Oleg! Really useful function.

Chris Mark

Code works for a 3D polygon created using plot3 (Matlab R2020a, Win10 64 bit) without any need for edits - nice work, Dirk-Jan.

Unfortunately scatter3 plots aren't supported :-(


Kudos to Dirk-Jan. It works for me, but...

Got it to work with flat and faceted shading, but not interp (web page stuck "Loading..." forever).
None of the axis/text annotations are rendered, so it's pretty stark.
(macOS 10.15.5 (Catalina); Safari 13.1.1; Matlab 2019b)

Is this really the best the Mathworks has to offer for web-accessible graphics content? Some freelancer's posting from 9 years ago? That's pathetic!

Sérgio Silva

Does it works with scatter3 plot?

oleg volkov

Works well overall. It's a bit broken in Matlab 2017b, but most things are easy to fix.
(1) reshape error -> insert ... && numel(Obj.VertexNormals) > 0 in line 210 of addmesh.m
(2) Example 3 in line 62 of figure2xhtml.m -> I guess the class of figure handle h changed from earlier Matlab. Partial solution: call struct(h) instead of h.
(3) A folder for resulting files must exist, at least on MacOS.
(4) Call figure2xhtml.m from a file in the "current folder" on the MatLab path.
Note that generated x3d files can be further converted to a 3D pdf e.g. with PDF3D ReportGen (commercial, package, one month trial).


Broken. same RESHAPE problem as below

Travis Yeager

I get an error if I pass this function gca gcf or the figure itself. Says unkown input. If I pass it nothing, then it creates empty .xhtml files. What am I missing?

Travis Yeager


+1 for RESHAPE problem here as well

Robin T. Bye

+1 for RESHAPE problem.

Shady El Damaty

Can't seem to get it to work with surfaces loaded from FreeSurfer :( Any ideas on what to do?

Reading curvature file[ ./surf/lh.thickness ]
Number of curv elements [ 137456 ]
Reading mris file[ ./surf/lh.white ]
Size of vert struct [ 137456 x 3 ]
Size of face struct [ 274908 x 3 ]

Error using reshape
To RESHAPE the number of elements must not change.

Error in addmesh (line 212)

Error in figure2xhtml>figurex3d (line 196)

Error in figure2xhtml (line 164)


Thanks for the amazing option!!!
Does anyone know how to control the mouse in the XHTML to resize 3D figure without scrolling the page?
Is there an option to scale the 3d object before exporting since in XHTML I always need to resize the 3D object..

Nicolas Geiger

Very nice dunction! However i tried exporting a colored surf(X,Y,Z,C) which has some NaNs for some of the Z and C values (as there is no data availbale for these grid points. In MATLAB figure, these areas are not visible, but in the x3d they appear with the lowest colormap value. Anyway to change that?

Margaret Redford

Margaret Redford

I located a 2014 version of matlab on my computer and for whatever reason in that version, writexhtmlfile() was able to load the -.mat file on this version, successfully generating the html.

Margaret Redford

Really thrilled about the prospect of this - it's exactly what I've been looking for to create 3D html of a complex line graph to show to customers at work. Unfortunately, I'm having an error reading the x3dom.mat file in writexhtmlfile.m. I'm assuming this is supposed to be generated earlier in the function since it is a -.mat file, but I haven't found the source of the error yet. Did anyone else solve/experience this?

Mehdi Gh

doesn't work with patch objects. Limited to surfaces only

Shazux Gharasoo

"Error using horzcat
Dimensions of matrices being concatenated are not consistent."

How to get rid of this error? I tried it on a surface. BTW, your example doesn't work on R2016a :(


My problem is solved, to set options you must create

options = struct('output','both','height',500,...); %names in help or in figure2xhtml.m
figure2xhtml(options,h) % "save as" window is opened


Incredible work!! But could you help me, please? I write:

figure2xhtml(h); %I want the dialog

I would like set options.title and options.interactive, but I don't know how I can do it. Could you give an example?


Works great, but can only be used for surfaces defined by 3 matrices surf(X,Y,Z) or one matrix surf(Z), but not 2 vectors and a matrix surf(x,y,Z)

Error using horzcat
Dimensions of matrices being concatenated are not consistent.

Error in surf2FV (line 13)
V=[XData(:) YData(:) ZData(:)];

Dimid Duchovny

Emmanuel Farhi

A remarkable work, and it just works !
However, as the exported files are ASCII based, beware of the size of the object to export.

Ben Jordan

Thank you for this. Can you make any suggestions about how to extend your code to allow for an animated series to be played?



mini question: is there anyway to get it to work with elements from an hggroup (such as quiver3?).


I ran on a 3-D figure (created with patches) and got the following error:
??? SWITCH expression must be a scalar or string constant.

Error in ==> addmesh at 142

Error in ==> figure2xhtml>figurex3d at 196

Error in ==> figure2xhtml at 164

The examples provided with the function ran well without errors.


Does this plugin support color images as texture or just grayscale images?


Very good work....I have been searching for saving a MATLAB figure interactively into html. Searched and found the MATLAB builder ja which is bit complicated. My further search landed me here. Very good work.
But I have a problem in this. I ran these files and saved html version in test folder. I tried to open it with chrome and mozilla which are leatest, I get a blank screen showing X3DOM downloading the secene, but never I am getting the interactive image. Flash player is installed.
Why is it? Any solution?


J. Hu

Thanks for the awesome work. I have been looking for this kind of program for a long time. I really want to explore it. However, I cannot get it to work on my computer. Running the matlab code has no problem. When I tried to open the xhtml file using the latest IE with adobe 11 installed, the web page just show X3DOM Loading Scene... and it neven show up.

I tried to open the xhtml file using the lastest Chrome also. The progrom says that Matalb X3D not responsive and nothing show up also.

Does anybody has the same problem I had and happen to know what may be the reasons, how to fix it?


Alexander Brodsky

very exciting option.
It can be interesting include of your option as apart of publish MATLAB function.
Or may be you know how to do that ?

Dirk-Jan Kroon

The same viewpoint is not supported.

The camera in Matlab is a little bit strange, (almost) orthogonal, allows non-uniform x,y scaling and does some tricks to stay outside the rendered object. Thus porting the viewpoint to X3D gave strange results.


Could I use the same viewpoint as that for the figure?

Dirk-Jan Kroon

Do you get an error with your MRI data?, or know what is the problem?


I test it with the MRI brain of Matlab and is not working, but cheek it with your example and is pretty cool. Thanx for sharing

Dirk-Jan Kroon

The latest version supports options like a title.


Is there a way to specify the title, the header, and the object name? That would be very helpful. Otherwise, one has to modify the xhtml source code every time, which could be tedious...

Give you 4 stars because the tool is cool!


Comments are almost completely absent from the code.


Comments are almost completely absent from the code.

Dirk-Jan Kroon

*Sven Körner
Nice tools, Javaview is indeed a very extensive 3D viewer for the web.

I don't know the u3d-file format, but maybe it is possible to include line geometry thus allow axis2lines function.

There are way to many geometry-file formats, hopefully they will merge sometime.

Sven Koerner

Thank's for update - it works well! For my 3D-HTML version I used javaview - there is the axis option already embedded.(
But in the tool to embded u3d files in pdf - there is actually also no axis-feature ( Maybe I can use your axis2lines function?

Dirk-Jan Kroon

*Sven Körner
I added an example with axis to xhtml in the last update (is probably online tomorrow).

Oliver Woodford

Absolutely brilliant.

Dirk-Jan Kroon

*Sven Körner
Axis are not supported by the x3dom library, but text and lines are.
Thus a solution can be to draw the axis your self using plot3 in Matlab

Sven Koerner

This is pretty cool.
Is there a way how to get the coordinate system (x,y and z-axis) of a function in the 3D-graph?

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2011a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Inspired: Export figure to 3D interactive PDF

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