I am writing a scientific article and I need to describe the two hatched areas in the Figure below. How do you call these? Upward hatching and downward hatching? Or what?


The upward hatching corresponds to newly captured individuals, the downward hatching to the recaptured ones.

two regions with 45 degree diagonal lines in different directions

  • 1
    If that was text you would say / 'forward slash' and \ 'backward slash', so perhaps 'forward sloping hatching' and 'backward sloping hatching'. But "the area over/under the curve" would be clearer. Alternatively you could hatch just the area under the curve and refer to them as 'hatched' and 'unhatched'. It might be more pleasing on the eye too. Nov 9, 2023 at 13:52
  • @WeatherVane Thanks. I think I like the "upward/downward hatching" better than all these other options. Do you think it is correct?
    – Tomas
    Nov 9, 2023 at 13:57
  • It's not a description that I remember seeing used. Nov 9, 2023 at 13:58
  • 'Hatching with positive gradient' etc. Nov 9, 2023 at 14:10
  • 1
    Another option would be to use cross-hatching for the lower area and refer to them as 'hatched' and 'cross-hatched'. Nov 9, 2023 at 14:17

4 Answers 4


Your problem is that you don't have a key/legend for the graphic, which would eliminate the need for your entire sentence.

If it's not possible to add a key, you should take the time, space, and words to explain it clearly. Spell it out, as in this passage about art:

Right-handed artists will tend to create hatching lines from the bottom left to the top right, while left-handed artists will hatch from the top left to the bottom right.

This is universally clear, even to people whose native language is written right to left, where terms like "upwards" or "left" might be especially confusing. In fact, I would say that native speakers are liable to confuse terms like those if they haven't seen them applied to describe this type of pattern before.

For your simple graphic, you could also refer to the top and bottom regions, though this obviously does not describe the hatching.

  • Why are you talking about the right handed and left handed? The word diagonal left and diagonal right is not confusing.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 16:03
  • This answer is the frame challenge that I would give, too. Even if you do know what to call the hatching, use a legend. Otherwise, someone reading the chart has to read the whole paper to find out where it is mentioned and what it means.
    – Conrado
    Nov 9, 2023 at 17:51
  • You still need to name them. All the ones I see on the internet, also have descriptions even if only one or two words.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:21
  • @Lambie The bolded phrases in the quote are my suggestions. I'm assuming it's self explanatory that the first one refers to the pattern in the top region of OP's diagram.
    – Laurel
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:25
  • Never mind. It's impossible really. We don't even know if that is the actual design of the thing.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:28

One region is marked by south-west–north-east hatching and the other is marked by north-west–south-east hatching. This assumes that north corresponds to the top of the page (which is conventional).

NB: Hyphens are used within each direction, and en-dashes are used between directions.

  • Wow, thanks for the play with the hyphens, are you answering my other question? :-D That's really nice! Although it won't help me in this one question, as it is too complicated, i am giving +1 :)
    – Tomas
    Dec 10, 2023 at 14:25
  • @Tomas It's a bit wordy, but as one of the comments suggested you could just use abbreviations, i.e. SW–NE vs NW–SE. Dec 10, 2023 at 14:28

Upward and downward do not differentiate between the two hatch pattern shown. Both patterns can be seen as going upward -- one slanting left and one slanting right from the bottom of the hatch line to the top.

It's usually not necessary to describe a graphical identifier; it can become too cumbersome and prone to confusion. That's why charts have legends that tie a graphical device to a text explanation. If this hatch //// represents newly captured individuals, the legend would show that, and then in the text you just refer to the description, not the graphical identifier.

As mentioned in a comment, you can also refer to areas of the chart by calling them the area above and below the data line.

There are many reference works about informational graphics; some Internet searching will give you some basic guidelines and things to avoid.


The expert here is Illustrator, the drawing program.

Creating a Seamless Diagonal Pattern in Illustrator Seamless means the pattern is continuous without any break or obstacle (also called a repeating pattern or tileable pattern). Many beginners struggle to create seamless diagonal or other such patterns that cannot be created manually. But once you know how to do it, this approach can be very useful in your design or illustration work

aka diagonal line pattern

How To: Create a Seamless Diagonal Line Pattern in Illustrator

By Brant Wilson Published March 17, 2023

You basically have to go and use the program to change the pattern or rotate it to get the pattern in the direction you want. Diagonal left or diagonal right.

Adobe Illustrator from the site above

Oracle also use the term left and right:

Section - 2 : Diagonal Left and Diagonal Right Shading patterns

enter image description here

Oracle usage

enter image description here

enter image description here

One text says: The 12.6.0 output reversed that, so that the diagonal left [line] pattern was printed as diagonal right. This was an Oracle fix for the diagonal left and right came out correctly.

  • 2
    Which is which? I would assume you have "diagonal left" in your image but it's honestly confusing, especially when "left diagonal pattern" could refer to the one that would be located on the hypothetical left side.
    – Laurel
    Nov 9, 2023 at 16:03
  • @Laurel I am not going to argue with Illustrator and Oracle. Sorry. For me, it's very clear.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 16:05
  • 1
    I can't find the phrases "diagonal left" or "diagonal right" in the Adobe documentation you link to. So which is that?
    – Barmar
    Nov 9, 2023 at 17:05
  • @Barmar You use the rotation instruction. And Oracles says it so it's good enough for me. If you go and look at the Oracle text you will see it.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 17:54
  • The OP is asking how to describe it in text, not how to create it.
    – Barmar
    Nov 9, 2023 at 17:56

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