What Is a GUI?

A graphical user interface (GUI) is a graphical display in one or more windows containing controls, called components, that enable a user to perform interactive tasks. The user of the GUI does not have to create a script or type commands at the command line to accomplish the tasks. Unlike coding programs to accomplish tasks, the user of a GUI need not understand the details of how the tasks are performed.

GUI components can include menus, toolbars, push buttons, radio buttons, list boxes, and sliders—just to name a few. GUIs created using MATLAB® tools can also perform any type of computation, read and write data files, communicate with other GUIs, and display data as tables or as plots.

The following figure illustrates a simple GUI that you can easily build yourself.

The GUI contains

  • An axes component

  • A pop-up menu listing three data sets that correspond to MATLAB functions: peaks, membrane, and sinc

  • A static text component to label the pop-up menu

  • Three buttons that provide different kinds of plots: surface, mesh, and contour

When you click a push button, the axes component displays the selected data set using the specified type of 3-D plot.

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