generates a vector plot of the field {vx,vy,vz} over the slice surface surf.


restricts the surface surf to be within the region reg.


generates vector plots over several slice surfaces surfi.

Details and Options

  • SliceVectorPlot3D plots a vector field defined over a 3D region by using surfaces to slice the region, and placing arrows on those surfaces. By default, the direction of the vector is indicated by the direction of the arrow, and the magnitude is indicated by its color.
  • SliceVectorPlot3D[f,{x,xmin,xmax},] is equivalent to SliceVectorPlot3D[f,Automatic,{x,xmin,xmax},] etc.
  • The following basic slice surfaces surfi can be given:
  • Automaticautomatically determine slice surfaces
    "CenterPlanes"coordinate planes through the center
    "BackPlanes"coordinate planes at the back of the plot
    "XStackedPlanes"coordinate planes stacked along axis
    "YStackedPlanes"coordinate planes stacked along axis
    "ZStackedPlanes"coordinate planes stacked along axis
    "DiagonalStackedPlanes"planes stacked diagonally
    "CenterSphere"a sphere in the center
    "CenterCutSphere"a sphere with a cutout wedge
    "CenterCutBox"a box with a cutout octant
  • The following parametrizations can be used for basic slice surfaces:
  • {"XStackedPlanes",n},generate n equally spaced planes
    {"XStackedPlanes",{x1,x2,}}generate planes for x=xi
    {"CenterCutSphere",ϕopen}cut angle ϕopen facing the view point
    {"CenterCutSphere",ϕopen,ϕcenter}cut angle ϕopen with center angle ϕcenter in the plane
  • "YStackedPlanes", "ZStackedPlanes" follow the specifications for "XStackedPlanes", with additional features shown in the scope examples.
  • The following general slice surfaces surfi can be used:
  • expr0implicit equation in x, y, and z, e.g. x y z-10
    surfaceregiona two-dimensional region in 3D, e.g. Hyperplane
    volumeregiona three-dimensional region in 3D where surfi is taken as the boundary surface, e.g. Cuboid
  • The following wrappers can be used for slice surfaces surfi:
  • Annotation[surf,label]provide an annotation
    Style[surf,style]style the surface
    Button[surf,action]define an action to execute when the surface is clicked
    EventHandler[surf,]define a general event handler for the surface
    Hyperlink[surf,uri]make the surface act as a hyperlink
    PopupWindow[surf,cont]attach a popup window to the surface
    StatusArea[surf,label]display in status area when the surface is moused over
    Tooltip[surf,label]attach an arbitrary tooltip to the surface
  • SliceVectorPlot3D has the same options as Graphics3D, with the following additions and changes:
  • AxesTruewhether to draw axes
    BoundaryStyleAutomatichow to style surface boundaries
    BoxRatios{1,1,1}ratio of height to width
    ClippingStyleAutomatichow to display arrows outside the vector range
    MethodAutomaticmethods to use for the plot
    PerformanceGoal$PerformanceGoalaspects of performance to try to optimize
    PlotLegendsNonelegends to include
    PlotPointsAutomaticapproximate number of samples for the slice surfaces surfi in each direction
    PlotRange{Full,Full,Full}range of x, y, z values to include
    PlotRangePaddingAutomatichow much to pad the range of values
    PlotStyleAutomaticstyle directives for each slice surface
    PlotTheme$PlotThemeoverall theme for the plot
    RegionBoundaryStyleNonehow to style plot region boundaries
    RegionFunction(True&)determine what region to include
    ScalingFunctionsNonehow to scale axes
    TargetUnitsAutomaticdesired units to use
    VectorAspectRatioAutomaticwidth-to-length ratio for arrows
    VectorColorFunctionAutomatichow to color vectors
    VectorColorFunctionScalingTruewhether to scale the argument to VectorColorFunction
    VectorMarkersAutomaticthe shape of the arrows
    VectorPointsAutomaticthe number or placement of vectors to plot
    VectorRangeAutomaticrange of vector lengths to show
    VectorScalingNonehow to scale the sizes of arrows
    VectorSizesAutomaticsizes of displayed arrows
    VectorStyleAutomatichow to draw vectors
    WorkingPrecisionMachinePrecisionprecision to use in internal computations
  • VectorScaling scales the magnitudes of the vectors into the range of arrow sizes smin to smax given by VectorSizes.
  • VectorScaling->Automatic will scale the arrow lengths depending on the vector magnitudes:
  • RegionFunction is supplied with x, y, z, vx, vy, vz, Norm[{vx,vy,vz}].
  • VectorColorFunction is by default supplied with scaled x, y, z, vx, vy, vz, Norm[{vx,vy,vz}].
  • Slice surfaces can be styled using a Style wrapper and PlotStyle option, with the Style wrapper taking precedence over PlotStyle. None can be used to indicate that no slice surface should be shown.
  • Possible settings for ScalingFunctions include:
  • {sx,sy,sz}scale x, y and z axes
  • Common built-in scaling functions s include:
  • "Log"log scale with automatic tick labeling
    "Log10"base-10 log scale with powers of 10 for ticks
    "SignedLog"log-like scale that includes 0 and negative numbers
    "Reverse"reverse the coordinate direction
    "Infinite"infinite scale


open allclose all

Basic Examples  (2)

Plot a vector field over a surface:

Plot a vector field over a surface:

Scope  (28)

Surfaces  (9)

Generate a plot over standard slice surfaces:

Standard axis-aligned stacked slice surfaces:

Standard boundary surfaces:

Plot over any surface region:

Plotting over a volume primitive is equivalent to plotting over RegionBoundary[reg]:

Plot over the surface :

Plot a vector field over multiple slice surfaces:

Specify the number of stacked planes:

Specify the cutting angle for a center-cut sphere slice:

Sampling  (3)

Use VectorPoints to specify the number of arrows:

Use RegionFunction to expose obscured slices:

The domain may be specified by a region including Cone:

A formula region including ImplicitRegion:

A mesh-based region including BoundaryMeshRegion:

Presentation  (16)

Use VectorScaling to show arrows scaled according to their magnitudes:

Use VectorSizes to prevent arrows from being too small:

Use VectorRange to control which vectors are plotted:

Use ClippingStyle to control the appearance of the clipped vectors:

Use PlotTheme to immediately get overall styling:

Use PlotLegends to get a color bar for the different values:

Control the display of axes with Axes:

Label axes using AxesLabel and the whole plot using PlotLabel:

Color the vectors by their magnitude with VectorColorFunction:

Use VectorMarkers to control the shape of the vectors:

Use VectorAspectRatio to modify the width-to-length ratio of the arrows:

Style the slice surface boundaries with BoundaryStyle:

Highlight a RegionFunction with RegionBoundaryStyle:

Style a RegionFunction with RegionBoundaryStyle:

TargetUnits specifies which units to use in the visualization:

Scale the axes in a plot:

Options  (60)

BoundaryStyle  (1)

Style the surface boundaries:

BoxRatios  (3)

By default, the edges of the bounding box have the same length:

Use BoxRatios->Automatic to show the natural scale of the 3D coordinate values:

Use custom length ratios for each side of the bounding box:

ClippingStyle  (4)

By default, clipped vectors are given a constant color that is consistent with the minimum or maximum vector lengths given by VectorRange:

Suppress the clipped vectors:

Style the clipped vectors:

Style the short and long clipped vectors differently:

PerformanceGoal  (2)

Generate a higher-quality plot:

Emphasize performance, possibly at the cost of quality:

PlotLegends  (3)

No legends are included by default:

Include a legend that indicates the vector norms by color:

With multiple fields and VectorColorFunction set to None, use a legend to identify each field:

Or use the fields in the legend:

PlotRange  (2)

Show All vectors by default:

Show a selected range:

PlotRangePadding  (7)

Padding is computed automatically by default:

Specify no padding for all , , and ranges:

Specify an explicit padding for all , , and ranges:

Add 10% padding to all , , and ranges:

Specify different padding for , , and ranges:

Specify padding for the range:

Use different padding forms for each dimension:

PlotTheme  (3)

Use a basic plot theme:

Override PlotTheme styles by explicitly setting options:

Compare different plot themes:

RegionBoundaryStyle  (3)

By default, a region function is not explicitly shown:

A similar effect can be created by combining VectorRange and ClippingStyle:

Show the boundary of a region defined by a region function:

Style the boundary of the region:

RegionFunction  (3)

Plot vectors only over certain quadrants:

Plot vectors only over regions where the field magnitude is above a given threshold:

Use any logical combination of conditions:

ScalingFunctions  (4)

By default, plots have linear scales in all directions:

Create a plot with a reversed axis:

Scaling functions are applied to slices that are defined in terms of the variables:

Slice surfaces that are defined relative to the bounding box are unaffected by scaling functions:

VectorAspectRatio  (1)

VectorAspectRatio specifies the width of the arrow over its length:

VectorColorFunction  (5)

By default, vectors are colored according to their norm:

Change the color function:

Use any named color gradient from ColorData:

Color the vectors according to their value:

Use VectorColorFunctionScaling->False to get unscaled values:

VectorColorFunctionScaling  (3)

By default, scaled values are used:

Use VectorColorFunctionScaling->False to get unscaled values:

Explicitly specify the scaling for each color function argument:

VectorMarkers  (3)

The default vector marker is "Arrow3D":

Use other named markers:

By default, arrows are centered at sampled points. Use Placed to start the arrow at the sampled point:

VectorPoints  (4)

Use automatically determined vector points:

Use symbolic names to specify the set of field vectors:

Create a regular grid of field vectors with the same number of arrows for , , and :

Use a different number of vectors in each direction:

VectorRange  (3)

Specify the range of vector norms that are displayed with varying color:

Combine with ClippingStyle to remove the clipped vectors:

Or specify a different style for clipped vectors:

VectorScaling  (3)

By default, arrows are displayed with a constant length:

Use Automatic to scale arrows proportionally to the corresponding vector norm:

Use VectorSizes to specify the range of relative lengths of the arrows:

VectorSizes  (2)

Make the vectors half of the default size:

With VectorScaling, VectorSizes controls the range of the lengths of the arrows relative to the default size:

VectorStyle  (1)

VectorColorFunction has precedence over VectorStyle:

Applications  (23)

Basic Vector Fields  (3)

Constant vector fields:

A circulating flow around the axis:

Divergent flow:

Convergent flow:

Differential Equations  (9)

Illustrate the behavior of a linear system of differential equations in the case when is diagonal:

Solve the corresponding differential equation starting on the slice surfaces:

The differential equation solution follows the arrows in the plot all converging to the origin:

Automate the previous example and analyze all the possible sign combinations of the real eigenvalues for , where is a diagonal matrix with eigenvalues :

For , there is stability along the , , and directions:

For , there is stability along and , but instability along :

For , there is stability along and instability along and :

For , there is instability along , , and :

Define a matrix and compute its eigenvalues:

Since is symmetric, its eigenspaces , and are mutually orthogonal:

Generate the orthogonal complements of the eigenspaces:

Plot the vector field and observe the effects of the eigenvalues:

The plane orthogonal to contains and , so the origin is attractive in and repulsive in :

The plane orthogonal to contains and , so the field points directly toward :

The plane orthogonal to contains and , so the field points directly away from :

Define a matrix and compute its eigenvalues:

The eigenvalues and eigenvectors of indicate a sink at the origin for the vector field with spiral behavior around the axis:

Examine the vector field in planes orthogonal to :

Compute solutions of the linear system of differential equations for several initial conditions:

Add the solutions of to the vector field:

Define a new matrix and compute its eigenvalues and eigenvectors:

The eigenspace is a plane through the origin with normal , so solutions of are attracted to the origin while spiraling around :

Illustrate the behavior of a linear system of differential equations in the case when is block diagonal, with one real and two complex conjugate eigenvalues. The matrix has eigenvalues , , and :

Construct a matrix with eigenvalues , , and :

Find solutions to the corresponding differential equation:

Show vector field and solutions together:

Automate the previous example and analyze for different real and :

and :

and :

and :

and :

Solve an initial value problem with a solution that is contained in a cylinder:

Graph the surface, the vector field on the surface and the solution of the initial value problem:

Solve an initial value problem with a solution contained in a sphere:

Graph the surface, the vector field on the surface and the solution of the initial value problem:

Solve an initial value problem with a solution contained in a hyperbolic paraboloid:

Graph the surface, the vector field on the surface and the solution of the initial value problem:

Fluid Dynamics  (2)

Visualize Hill's spherical vortex, with vortex radius and velocity :

Compute vectors:

Visualize the vortex, with flow rotation highlighted in red:

Visualize the divergence-free field of a scalar function :

Visualize the vortices formed by these fields:

Solid Mechanics  (2)

Visualize forces on surfaces.

A solid cylinder with a tensile load:

A solid cylinder with a compressive load:

A hollow cylinder with internal and external pressures:

An elastic bar in the shape of a circular cylinder with radius 1 has a net torque applied at both ends. The resulting displacement field is , where is the shear modulus, the nonzero stresses are and and the forces on the surfaces are the tractions:

Display the applied forces:

Display the displacement field that results from the applied forces:

Electromagnetism  (1)

The vector field from an electrostatic potential:

The resulting force vector field:

The force field on the center planes:

The force field on equipotential surfaces:

Flux  (3)

Visualize the outward pointing unit normal vectors to a surface:

Define vector field and compute the unit normals to the surface :

Visualize the vector field and the unit normals to :

The flux density of through is zero since is orthogonal to the normals of :

Define vector field and compute the unit normals to the surface :

Visualize the vector field and the unit normals to :

Compute the flux density of through :

The total flux is zero because the negative flux is canceled by the positive flux. Visualize this by coloring the surface by the flux density:

Other Applications  (3)

Visualize the "hairy ball theorem" ( that, loosely speaking, says that you cannot comb the hair on a sphere without leaving a whorl:

Show a vector field in a tangent plane:

Choose 10 random points on the unit sphere:

Compute the angles ϕ and θ for the points at :

Plot geodesics from to the target points:

Show the sphere, geodesics, target points, and a vector field of tangents for the geodesics:

Properties & Relations  (10)

Use VectorPlot3D for a full volume visualization of the vector field:

Use ListSliceVectorPlot3D for data:

Use VectorPlot for vector plots in 2D:

Use StreamPlot or LineIntegralConvolutionPlot for vector fields in 2D:

Use VectorDensityPlot to add a density plot of a scalar field:

Use StreamDensityPlot to use streams instead of vectors:

Use VectorDisplacementPlot to visualize the effect of a displacement vector field on a specified region:

Use VectorDisplacementPlot3D to visualize the effect of a displacement vector field on a specified 3D region:

Use StreamPlot3D to plot 3D fields as streamlines:

Plot complex functions as a vector field with ComplexVectorPlot:

Plot streams instead of vectors with ComplexStreamPlot:

Use GeoVectorPlot to plot vectors on a map:

Use GeoStreamPlot to use streams instead of vectors:

Wolfram Research (2015), SliceVectorPlot3D, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2022).


Wolfram Research (2015), SliceVectorPlot3D, Wolfram Language function, (updated 2022).


Wolfram Language. 2015. "SliceVectorPlot3D." Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Wolfram Research. Last Modified 2022.


Wolfram Language. (2015). SliceVectorPlot3D. Wolfram Language & System Documentation Center. Retrieved from


@misc{reference.wolfram_2022_slicevectorplot3d, author="Wolfram Research", title="{SliceVectorPlot3D}", year="2022", howpublished="\url{}", note=[Accessed: 13-August-2022 ]}


@online{reference.wolfram_2022_slicevectorplot3d, organization={Wolfram Research}, title={SliceVectorPlot3D}, year={2022}, url={}, note=[Accessed: 13-August-2022 ]}