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MATLAB Compiler SDK Limitations

Compiling MATLAB and Toolboxes

MATLAB® Compiler SDK™ supports the full MATLAB language and almost all toolboxes based on MATLAB. However, some limited MATLAB and toolbox functionality is not licensed for compilation.

  • Most of the prebuilt graphical user interfaces included in MATLAB and its companion toolboxes will not compile.

  • Functionality that cannot be called directly from the command line will not compile.

  • Some toolboxes, such as Symbolic Math Toolbox™, will not compile.

Compiled applications can only run on operating systems that run MATLAB. Also, since the MATLAB Runtime is approximately the same size as MATLAB, applications built with MATLAB Compiler SDK need specific storage memory and RAM to operate. For the most up-to-date information about system requirements, go to the MathWorks Web site.

To see a full list of MATLAB Compiler SDK limitations, visit


See MATLAB Functions That Cannot Be Compiled for a list of functions that cannot be compiled.

Fixing Callback Problems: Missing Functions

When MATLAB Compiler SDK creates a standalone application, it compiles the MATLAB file(s) you specify on the command line and, in addition, it compiles any other MATLAB files that your MATLAB file(s) calls. MATLAB Compiler SDK uses a dependency analysis, which determines all the functions on which the supplied MATLAB files, MEX-files, and P-files depend.


If the MATLAB file associated with a p-file is unavailable, the dependency analysis will not be able to discover the p-file’s dependencies.

The dependency analysis may not locate a function if the only place the function is called in your MATLAB file is a call to the function either:

  • In a callback string

  • In a character array passed as an argument to the feval function or an ODE solver


    Dependent functions can also be hidden from the dependency analyzer in .mat files that get loaded by compiled applications. Use the mcc -a argument or the %#function pragma to identify .mat file classes or functions that should be supported by the load command.

MATLAB Compiler SDK does not look in these text character arrays for the names of functions to compile.


Your application runs, but an interactive user interface element, such as a push button, does not work. The compiled application issues this error message:

An error occurred in the callback: change_colormap 
The error message caught was    : Reference to unknown function 
                change_colormap from FEVAL in stand-alone mode. 


There are several ways to eliminate this error:

  • Using the %#function pragma and specifying callbacks as character arrays

  • Specifying callbacks with function handles

  • Using the -a option

Specifying Callbacks as Character Arrays.  Create a list of all the functions that are specified only in callback character arrays and pass these functions using separate %#function pragma statements. This overrides the product's dependency analysis and instructs it to explicitly include the functions listed in the %#function pragmas.

For example, the call to the change_colormap function in the sample application, my_test, illustrates this problem. To make sure MATLAB Compiler SDK processes the change_colormap MATLAB file, list the function name in the %#function pragma.

function my_test()
% Graphics library callback test application

%#function change_colormap


p_btn = uicontrol(gcf,...
                 'Style', 'pushbutton',...
                 'Position',[10 10 133 25 ],...
                 'String', 'Make Black & White',...

Specifying Callbacks with Function Handles.  To specify the callbacks with function handles, use the same code as in the example above and replace the last line with


For more information on specifying the value of a callback, see the MATLAB Programming Fundamentals documentation.

Using the -a Option.  Instead of using the %#function pragma, you can specify the name of the missing MATLAB file on the MATLAB Compiler SDK command line using the -a option.

Finding Missing Functions in a MATLAB File

To find functions in your application that may need to be listed in a %#function pragma, search your MATLAB file source code for text specified as callback character arrays or as arguments to the feval, fminbnd, fminsearch, funm, and fzero functions or any ODE solvers.

To find text used as callback character array, search for the characters “Callback” or “fcn” in your MATLAB file. This will find all the Callback properties defined by graphics objects, such as uicontrol and uimenu. In addition, this will find the properties of figures and axes that end in Fcn, such as CloseRequestFcn, that also support callbacks.

Suppressing Warnings on the UNIX System

Several warnings may appear when you run a standalone application on the UNIX® system. This section describes how to suppress these warnings.

To suppress the warning, make sure you set the dynamic library path properly for your platform. See MATLAB Runtime Path Settings for Run-Time Deployment.

You can also use the compiler option -R -nojvm to set your application's nojvm run-time option, if the application is capable of running without Java®.

Cannot Use Graphics with the -nojvm Option

If your program uses graphics and you compile with the -nojvm option, you will get a run-time error.

Cannot Create the Output File

If you receive the error

Can't create the output file filename

there are several possible causes to consider:

  • Lack of write permission for the folder where MATLAB Compiler SDK is attempting to write the file (most likely the current working folder).

  • Lack of free disk space in the folder where MATLAB Compiler SDK is attempting to write the file (most likely the current working folder).

  • If you are creating a standalone application and have been testing it, it is possible that a process is running and is blocking MATLAB Compiler SDK from overwriting it with a new version.

No MATLAB File Help for Compiled Functions

If you create a MATLAB file with self-documenting online help by entering text on one or more contiguous comment lines beginning with the second line of the file and then compile it, the results of the command

help filename

will be unintelligible.


Due to performance reasons, MATLAB file comments are stripped out before MATLAB Runtime encryption.

No MATLAB Runtime Versioning on Mac OS X

The feature that allows you to install multiple versions of the MATLAB Runtime on the same machine is currently not supported on Mac OS X. When you receive a new version of MATLAB , you must recompile and redeploy all of your applications and components. Also, when you install a new MATLAB Runtime onto a target machine, you must delete the old version of the MATLAB Runtime and install the new one. You can only have one version of the MATLAB Runtime on the target machine.

Older Neural Networks Not Deployable with MATLAB Compiler

Loading networks saved from older Neural Network Toolbox™ versions requires some initialization routines that are not deployable. Therefore, these networks cannot be deployed without first being updated.

For example, deploying with Neural Network Toolbox Version 5.0.1 (2006b) and MATLAB Compiler™ Version 4.5 (R2006b) yields the following errors at run time:

??? Error using ==> network.subsasgn 
"layers{1}.initFcn" cannot be set to non-existing
 function "initwb". 
Error in ==> updatenet at 40 
Error in ==> network.loadobj at 10 

??? Undefined function or method 'sim' for input 
arguments of type 'struct'. 
Error in ==> mynetworkapp at 30

Restrictions on Calling PRINTDLG with Multiple Arguments in Compiled Mode

In compiled mode, only one argument can be present in a call to the MATLAB printdlg function (for example, printdlg(gcf)).

You will not receive an error when making at call to printdlg with multiple arguments. However, when an application containing the multiple-argument call is compiled, the compile will fail with the following error message:

Error using = => printdlg at 11 
PRINTDLG requires exactly one argument 

Compiling a Function with WHICH Does Not Search Current Working Directory

Using which, as in this example:

function pathtest 
which myFile.mat 
does not cause the current working folder to be searched in deployed applications. In addition, it may cause unpredictable behavior of the open function.

Use one of the following solutions as alternatives to using which:

  • Use the pwd function to explicitly point to the file in the current folder, as follows:

    open([pwd 'myFile.mat'])

  • Rather than using the general open function, use load or other specialized functions for your particular file type, as load explicitly checks for the file in the current folder. For example:

    load myFile.mat

  • Include your file in the Files required for your application to run area of the compiler app or the -a flag using mcc.

Restrictions on Using C++ SETDATA to Dynamically Resize an MWArray

You cannot use the C++ SETDATA function to dynamically resize MWArrays.

For instance, if you are working with the following array:

[1 2 3 4]

you cannot use SETDATA to increase the size of the array to a length of five elements.

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