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Programmatically Create a User Interface with a Graphical Table

This example shows how to create a graphical table in a user interface using uitable. It also shows how to modify the appearance of the table and how to restrict the changes users can make to the data in the table.

Create Graphical Table with Simple Numeric Data

The function uitable creates an empty graphical table. You can populate the table by setting the Data property. For example, set the data displayed to be a magic square.

f = figure('Position', [100 100 752 250]);
t = uitable('Parent', f, 'Position', [25 50 700 200], 'Data', magic(10))
t = 

  Table with properties:

                Data: [10x10 double]
         ColumnWidth: 'auto'
      ColumnEditable: []
    CellEditCallback: ''
            Position: [25 50 700 200]
               Units: 'pixels'

  Use GET to show all properties

Create Graphical Table with Mixed Type Data

Display mixed type data by setting the Data property to a cell array.

load patients LastName Age Weight Height SelfAssessedHealthStatus                   % load data
PatientData = [LastName num2cell([Age Weight Height]) SelfAssessedHealthStatus];    % convert to cell array

t.Data = PatientData;

Customize the Display

You can customize the display of a table in several ways. Use the ColumnName property to add headings to the top of each column. To create multi-line headings, use the divider line symbol.

t.ColumnName = {'LastName', 'Age', 'Weight', 'Height', 'Self Assessed|Health Status'};

To adjust the widths of the columns, use the ColumnWidth property. The ColumnWidth property is a 1 by N cell array where N is the number of columns in the table. You can choose to set a specific width for columns or autofit the width based on the contents.

t.ColumnWidth = {100, 'auto', 'auto', 'auto', 150};

To completely remove the row names, set the RowName property to empty using [].

t.RowName = [];

You can resize the table to remove any extra space using the Position property.

t.Position = [15 25 495 200];

By default, tables use row striping. To turn off row striping, set the RowStriping property to 'off'. To control the colors of the row stripes, set two different colors for the BackgroundColor property. Use the ForegroundColor property to control the color of the text.

t.BackgroundColor = [.4 .4 .4; .4 .4 .8];
t.ForegroundColor = [1 1 1];

Restrict Editing of Cell Values

To restrict the ability for users to edit data in the columns of the table, set the ColumnEditable property. By default, data can not be edited. Setting the ColumnEditable property to true for a column allows the data in that column to be edited.

t.ColumnEditable = [false true true true true];

Change Column Format

The ColumnFormat property controls how data is displayed and edited for each column. To specify choices for a popup menu use a cell array of strings as the column format. In this example, the Self Assessed Health Status column uses a popup menu with four option - Excellent, Fair, Good, and Poor.

t.ColumnFormat = {[] [] [] [] {'Excellent', 'Fair', 'Good', 'Poor'}};

Create Callback

The table object has two commonly used callbacks. The CellSelectionCallback is called when the user changes the currently selected cell in the table. The CellEditCallback is called when the user changes a value in a cell.

t.CellEditCallback = @ageCheckCB;

For example, if you want the Age column to contain values that must be between 0 and 120, set the CellEditCallback to a function with this format:

function ageCheckCB(src, eventdata)
if (eventdata.Indices(2) == 2 && ...                  % check if column 2
      (eventdata.NewData < 0 || eventdata.NewData > 120))
   tableData = src.Data;
   tableData{eventdata.Indices(1), eventdata.Indices(2)} = eventdata.PreviousData;
   src.Data = tableData;                              % set the data back to its original value
   warning('Age must be between 0 and 120.')          % warn the user

If a value entered in the Age column is outside of the acceptable range, the callback function will issue an warning and set the cell contents back to the original value.

Get All Table Properties

Graphics objects in MATLAB have many properties. To see all the properties of a Table object, use the get command.

          BackgroundColor: [2x3 double]
             BeingDeleted: 'off'
               BusyAction: 'queue'
            ButtonDownFcn: ''
         CellEditCallback: @ageCheckCB
    CellSelectionCallback: ''
                 Children: [0x0 handle]
           ColumnEditable: [0 1 1 1 1]
             ColumnFormat: {[]  []  []  []  {1x4 cell}}
               ColumnName: {5x1 cell}
              ColumnWidth: {[100]  'auto'  'auto'  'auto'  [150]}
                CreateFcn: ''
                     Data: {100x5 cell}
                DeleteFcn: ''
                   Enable: 'on'
                   Extent: [0 0 479 1940]
                FontAngle: 'normal'
                 FontName: 'Helvetica'
                 FontSize: 10
                FontUnits: 'points'
               FontWeight: 'normal'
          ForegroundColor: [1 1 1]
         HandleVisibility: 'on'
            InnerPosition: [15 25 495 200]
            Interruptible: 'on'
              KeyPressFcn: ''
            KeyReleaseFcn: ''
            OuterPosition: [15 25 495 200]
                   Parent: [1x1 Figure]
                 Position: [15 25 495 200]
     RearrangeableColumns: 'off'
                  RowName: ''
              RowStriping: 'on'
                      Tag: ''
            TooltipString: ''
                     Type: 'uitable'
            UIContextMenu: [0x0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
                    Units: 'pixels'
                 UserData: []
                  Visible: 'on'

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