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Preferences

Set Preferences for MATLAB

MATLAB® provides a variety of options called preferences for customizing MATLAB. To access and set preferences:

  1. On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences.

  2. From the left pane of the Preferences dialog box, select a tool, product, or an entry revealed when you click an arrow preceding a tool or product name.

  3. Change settings in the right pane of the Preferences dialog box.

  4. Click Apply or OK.

Preferences take effect immediately. They remain persistent across sessions of MATLAB.

Function Alternative

Open the Preferences dialog box using the preferences function.

Where MATLAB Stores Preferences

MATLAB and other MathWorks® products store their preferences in the file matlab.prf. This file loads when you start MATLAB. The folder containing this file is called the preferences folder. The preference folder also contains other related files.

The Path to and File Name for the Preferences Folder

To see the full path for the folder where matlab.prf and related files are located, type prefdir in the MATLAB Command Window.

On Apple Macintosh platforms, the folder can be in a hidden folder, for example, myname/.matlab/R2009b. If so, to access the hidden folder:

  1. In the Apple Mac OS Finder tool, select Go > Go to Folder.

  2. In the resulting dialog box, type the path returned by prefdir, and then press Enter.

The name of the preferences folder, matches the name of the release. For instance, for MATLAB R2010b, the name of the preferences folder is R2010b.

Effects of Changing Preferences

When you change preferences using the MATLAB Desktop, it updates matlab.prf. When you close MATLAB, it saves those changes to matlab.prf.

Effects of Installation and Deinstallation on the Preferences Folder

Installing MATLAB has no effect on the preferences folder. That is, MATLAB creates, checks, copies, and writes to the preferences folder when you start up MATLAB, not when you install it. When you uninstall MATLAB, there is an option in the uninstaller to remove the preferences folder. However, this option is not selected by default.

Preferences Folder and Files MATLAB Uses When Multiple MATLAB Releases Are Installed

The files in the preferences folder that MATLAB uses depends on the version of MATLAB you are starting up. How and if MATLAB migrates (reuses) preferences files from one version to the next also depends on the version.

Process MATLAB Uses to Create and Migrate the Preferences Folder and its Files

When you start it up, MATLAB looks for a preferences folder name that matches the release starting up, and then does one of the following:

  • If MATLAB finds a preferences folder name matching the release starting up, it uses that folder and the files within it.

    If that folder is empty, MATLAB recreates the default files for the release starting up.

  • If MATLAB does not find a preferences folder name matching the release starting up, it creates one. Then, MATLAB checks to see if the release of MATLAB that immediately precedes the one you are starting up is installed.

    • If that previous release is not installed, MATLAB recreates the folder and default files for the version starting up.

      For example, if you start up R2010b and R2010a is not installed, then MATLAB recreates the default files for the R2010b preferences folder. This is true even if R2009b or earlier is installed.

    • If that previous release is installed, MATLAB migrates the files from the preferences folder corresponding to that previous release to the preferences folder for the release starting up.

      For example, if you start up R2010b and R2010a is installed, then MATLAB migrates the files from R2010a preferences folder to the R2010b preferences folder.

Control the Preferences Files MATLAB Uses

This table describes how to control which versions of preferences files MATLAB uses.

To Use:Do This:

Default preference files for a given release of MATLAB

Make sure the preferences folder for that release exists, but is empty before starting up that MATLAB version.

All the preference files from the release of MATLAB immediately preceding the release you plan to start up

Ensure that the preferences folder exists for that preceding release. If so, delete the entire preferences folder for the release of MATLAB you plan to start up.

The release-specific default for just a particular file in the preferences folder

Delete just that file from the preferences folder for the release of MATLAB you plan to start up.

One file to consider keeping is history.m. For more information, see Command History.

General Preferences

You can set preferences for toolbox path caching, figure window printing, and deleting files.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General. Then, adjust preference options as described in this table.

PreferenceUsage

Toolbox path caching

Select Enable toolbox path caching to have MATLAB cache toolbox folder information across sessions for quicker startup performance.

Select Enable toolbox path cache diagnostics to display information about startup time when you start MATLAB.

Click Update Toolbox Path Cache to add files to the toolbox folders under the matlabroot folder. (Use after you use tools not provided with MATLAB to create MATLAB files.)

For details, see Toolbox Path Caching in MATLAB.

Deleting Files

Select an option to specify what MATLAB does with files you delete using the delete function.

Selecting Delete permanently makes the delete function run faster.

On Linux® systems, if you select Move to a temporary folder, MATLAB moves files to a subfolder with the prefix MATLAB_Files_ in the system temporary folder, as returned by the tempdir function.

MAT-Files Preferences

You can set the default MATLAB version for MAT-files and FIG-files. These preferences apply to both the save function and the Save menu options. However, the matfile function creates only Version 7.3 MAT-files. On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > MAT-Files. Then, adjust preference options as described in the table below.

For more details on the features supported in each version, see the save reference page.

OptionUse to:
MATLAB Version 7.3 or later (save -v7.3)

Load or save parts of variables, or save variables larger than 2 GB on 64-bit systems. As with Version 7, files are compressed and use Unicode® character encoding.

MATLAB Version 7 or later (save -v7)

Save compressed MAT-files that use Unicode character encoding. This is the default on new installations of MATLAB software and upgrades from versions earlier than 7.3.

MATLAB Version 5 or later (save -v6)

Save MAT-files for use with versions prior to MATLAB Version 7, or create uncompressed files.

Confirmation Dialogs Preferences

You can specify whether or not MATLAB displays specific confirmation dialog boxes.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > Confirmation Dialogs. Then, adjust preference options as described in the table below.

This table summarizes the core MATLAB confirmation dialog boxes. There might be additional confirmation dialog boxes for other products you install.

Option

Confirmation Dialog Box Appears

Warn before deleting Command History items

When you delete entries from the Command History window.

For details, see Use Command History Commands.

Warn before clearing the Command Window

When, on the Home tab, in the Code section, you click Clear Commands. Does not appear when you use the clc function.

Confirm when overwriting variables in MAT-files

When you save variables by dragging them from the Workspace browser onto a MAT-file in the Current Folder browser.

Confirm when overwriting workspace variables via drag-and-drop

When you load variables by dragging them from the Details Panel of the Current Folder browser to the Workspace browser or Command Window.

Prompt when editing files that do not exist

When you type edit filename and filename does not exist in the current folder or on the search path.

Prompt to exit debug mode when saving file

When you try to save a modified file while in debug mode.

For details, see End Debugging.

Prompt to save on activate

When you have unsaved changes to a figure and program file and you activate the GUI by clicking the Run button, for example.

For details, see GUIDE Preferences.

Prompt to save on export

When you have unsaved changes to a figure and program file and you select File > Export.

For details, see GUIDE Preferences.

Confirm changing default callback implementation

When you have modified a callback signature in GUIDE.

For details, see GUIDE Preferences.

Confirm before exiting MATLAB

When you quit MATLAB.

Confirm when deleting variables

When you delete variables from the workspace using menu items. Does not appear with the clear function.

For details, see Save, Load, and Delete Workspace Variables.

Source Control Preferences

You can select which previously installed and configured source control system to use with MATLAB.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > Source Control. Then, select an option from the list.

For detailed information on setting up and using a source control system with MATLAB, see Set Up Source Control (Microsoft Windows) and Source Control Interface on UNIX Platforms.

Java Heap Memory Preferences

You can adjust the amount of memory that MATLAB software allocates for Java® objects.

    Note:   The default heap size is sufficient for most cases.

To adjust the Java heap size:

  1. On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > Java Heap Memory.

  2. Select a Java heap size value using the slider or spin box.

      Note:   Increasing the Java heap size decreases the amount of memory available for storing data in arrays.

  3. Click OK.

  4. Restart MATLAB.

If the amount of memory you specified is not available upon restart, MATLAB resets the value to the default, and displays an error dialog box. To readjust the value, repeat the previous steps.

If increasing the heap size does not eliminate memory errors, check your Java code for memory leaks. Eliminate references to objects that are no longer useful. For more information, see the Java SE Troubleshooting guide at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/index-138283.html.

Keyboard Shortcuts Preferences

You can set keyboard shortcuts for actions you perform using MathWorks software. You can specify or import sets of predefined keyboard shortcuts, set individual shortcuts on an action-by-action basis, or use a combination of both approaches.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Then, adjust preference options as described in the table below.

For step-by-step instructions, see Customize Keyboard Shortcuts.

PreferenceUsage
Active settings

Select or import a set of predefined keyboard shortcuts.

For details, see Choose a Set of Keyboard Shortcuts and Use Keyboard Shortcuts Settings Files Created on Other Systems.

Select any one of these options:
Search by action name or shortcut

Search the list of displayed actions.

Shortcuts for <action-name>

View the keyboard shortcut assigned to a selected action.

Add or delete a keyboard shortcut to a selected action.

For details, see,Examples of Creating, Modifying, and Deleting Keyboard Shortcuts.

All possible conflicts

Display conflicts when two or more different actions have the same shortcut.

For details, see Evaluate and Resolve Keyboard Shortcut Conflicts.

Remove the keyboard shortcut from the selection in the All possible conflicts list.

For details, see Evaluate and Resolve Keyboard Shortcut Conflicts.

Colors Preferences

You can specify the text and background color for desktop tools, as well as colors for highlighting syntax elements of MATLAB code.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Colors. Then, set options as described in the table below.

PreferenceUsage
Desktop tool colors

Specify that desktop tools use the same text and background colors that your platform uses for other applications by selecting Use system colors.

Customize colors by clearing Use system colors, and then choose Text and Background colors from the drop-down menus.

These colors do not apply to the Help display pane, nor to the Web browser.

For details, see Changing Text, Background, and Hyperlink Colors in Desktop Tools.

MATLAB syntax highlighting colors

Set colors to help you quickly identify elements of MATLAB syntax in the Editor, Command Window, Command History window, and the MATLAB shortcuts callback area.

For details, see Changing Syntax Highlighting Colors.

MATLAB Command Window colors

Set colors to help you quickly identify errors, warnings, and hyperlinks in the Command Window.

Colors Programming Tools Preferences

You can specify options used for editing and debugging code, including code analysis colors, variable and function colors, and cell display options.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Colors > Programming Tools. Then, set options as described in the table below.

PreferenceUsage
Code analyzer colors
  • Warnings—Specifies the color Code Analyzer uses to identify code in the Editor for which there are warning messages.

  • Autofix highlight—Specifies the color Code Analyzer uses to identify code in the Editor for which there is an automatic fix.

For details, see Automatically Check Code in the Editor — Code Analyzer.

Variable and function colors
Section display options

Highlight sections—Specifies the color the Editor uses to shade code sections.

Show lines between sections—Specifies that code section divisions appear with a gray line between each section in the Editor. These lines do not appear in the published or printed file.

See also Run Code Sections.

Toolbars Preferences

You can customize some toolbars in the MATLAB application.

On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Toolbars. Then, set options as described in the table below.

For step-by-step instructions on setting these preferences, see Access Frequently Used Features.

PreferenceUsage
Toolbar

Select the toolbar you want to customize.

Layout

Rearrange the order of controls in the toolbar by dragging and dropping them to a new location in the Layout.

Controls

Select which buttons appear on the selected toolbar.

Web Preferences

Web preferences enable you to specify Internet connection information to MATLAB.

    Limitations  

    • MATLAB supports nonauthenticated, basic, digest, and NTLM proxy authentication types.

    • You cannot specify proxy server settings using a script.

    • There is no automated way to provide MATLAB with the proxy server settings that your system browser uses.

You can set Web preferences on the Home tab, in the Environment section. Click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Web, and then adjust preference options as described in the table below.

PreferenceUsage
Use a proxy server to connect to the Internet

Provide information that MATLAB needs to access the internet when your network uses a firewall or another method of protection that restricts Internet access.

Proxy host

Specify a value for the Proxy host. For example, 172.16.10.8 or ourproxy. If you do not know the values for your proxy server, ask your system or network administrator for the information.

Proxy port

Specify an integer value for the Proxy port. For example, 22. If you do not know the values for your proxy server, ask your system or network administrator for the information.

Use a proxy with authentication

Specifies that your proxy server requires a user name and password.

Proxy username

Specify the proxy server user name.

Proxy password

Specify the proxy server password.

    Note:   MATLAB stores the password without encryption in your matlab.prf file.

Test connection

Ensure that your settings work.

If MATLAB cannot access the Internet, Failed! appears next to the button. Correct the values you entered and try again. If you still cannot connect, try using the values you used when you authenticated your MATLAB license.

System Web browser
UNIX® platforms only — excluding Macintosh
  • Command—Specifies the system command to open the browser.

    For example, opera, opens the Opera Web browser.

  • Options—Specifies options for the system browser.

    For example, geometry 1064x860 specifies the size of the window for Opera.

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