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Start MATLAB on Windows Platforms

Choose one of these ways to start MATLAB®.

When you start MATLAB, it automatically adds the userpath folder to the search path. MATLAB also reopens any desktop components that were open when you last shut down.

To customize startup, see Specify Startup Options.

The MATLAB startup folder is the folder you are in when you get the MATLAB prompt. To change the default startup folder, see MATLAB Startup Folder.

If you have trouble starting MATLAB, then see Troubleshooting Installation (Installation, Licensing, and Activation).

Select MATLAB Icon

On Microsoft® Windows® platforms, double-click the MATLAB icon. The term Release refers to your MATLAB release number; for example, R2017a.

  • Installer shortcut on your Windows desktop — Double-click the MATLAB icon .

  • Windows 10 systems — Start > All apps > MATLAB Release

  • Windows 8 systems — On the Start screen or the desktop, click MATLAB Release.

  • Windows 7 systems — If you chose to have the installer put a shortcut to the MATLAB program on the Windows Start menu, then select Start > MATLAB Release

With this option, the startup folder is the last working folder from the previous MATLAB session or the custom path specified in the Initial working folder preference described in General Preferences.

You also can specify a custom startup folder in the MATLAB shortcut icon using the Start in field. However, this technique is the same as setting a custom path in the Initial working folder preference. If you enter an invalid path in the Start in field, then the startup folder is unpredictable. To set a custom path in the Start in field:

  1. Right-click the shortcut icon for MATLAB and select Properties from the context menu. The Properties dialog box for MATLAB opens to the Shortcut pane.

  2. In the Start in field, type the full path to a folder on your system, and then click OK.

Call matlab from Windows System Command Line

From the Windows system prompt, type matlab.

The startup folder is the folder in which you run the matlab command. To use the folder specified by the Initial working folder preference, type:

matlab -useStartupFolderPref

Call matlab from MATLAB Command Prompt

If you start another MATLAB session from within MATLAB, then the startup folder is folder where you call the command:


To display the startup folder, type pwd before calling matlab.

Open File Associated with MATLAB

The MATLAB installer sets up associations between certain file types and MathWorks® products. MATLAB starts when you open one of those files. The startup folder is the folder containing the file.

For example, using the Windows Explorer tool, double-click a file with a .m extension. MATLAB starts and opens the file in the MATLAB Editor.

For more information, see MathWorks File Extensions and Associate Files with MATLAB on Windows Platforms.

Select MATLAB Executable from Windows Explorer Tool

When you double-click the matlab.exe file from the Windows Explorer, the startup folder is one of the following:

  • The last working folder from the previous MATLAB session.

  • The custom path specified in the Initial working folder preference.

See Also


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