Startup Options

Specifying MATLAB Startup Options

Specifying Startup Options from Command Line

You can specify startup options (also called command flags or command-line switches) that instruct the MATLAB® program to perform certain operations when you start it. On all platforms, you specify the options as arguments to the matlab command when you start at the operating system prompt. For example, the following starts MATLAB and suppresses the display of the splash screen.

matlab -nosplash

On Windows® platforms, you can precede a startup option with either a hyphen (-) or a slash (/). For example, -nosplash and /nosplash are equivalent.

Specifying Startup Options in Shortcut on Windows Systems

You can add selected startup options (also called command flags or switches for the command line) to the target path for your shortcut on the Windows platform for MATLAB. For more information about the options, see Commonly Used Startup Options.

To use startup options for the MATLAB shortcut icon on a Windows platform, follow these steps:

  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 Target field, after the target path for matlab.exe, add the startup option, and click OK. For example, adding -r "filename" runs the MATLAB code file filename after startup.

This example instructs MATLAB to automatically run the file results after startup, where results.m is in the startup folder or on the search path for MATLAB. The statement in the Target field might appear as:

C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2010b\bin\matlab.exe -r "results"

Include the statement in double quotation marks ("statement"). Use only the file name, not the file extension or path. For example, MATLAB produces an error when you run

... matlab.exe -r "D:\results.m"

Use semicolons or commas to separate multiple statements. This example changes the format to short, and then runs the MATLAB code file results:

... matlab.exe -r "format('short');results"

Separate multiple options with spaces. This example starts MATLAB without displaying the splash screen, and then runs the MATLAB code file results:

... matlab.exe -nosplash -r "results"

Specifying Startup Options in MATLAB Startup File

The startup.m file is a file you create to specify startup options. Create the startup.m file in a folder on the MATLAB search path. Use startup.m to modify the default search path, predefine variables in your workspace, or define defaults for graphics objects. For example, the following statement adds the folder, /home/username/mytools, to the search path.

addpath /home/username/mytools

To change the current folder on startup to mytools, set the Initial working folder value, described in General Preferences, to:


At startup, MATLAB automatically executes the file matlabrc.m and, if it exists on the MATLAB search path, startup.m. The file matlabrc.m, which is in the matlabroot/toolbox/local folder, is reserved for use by MathWorks® and by system administrators on multiuser systems. To locate the startup.m file, type:

which startup

If MATLAB finds a startup.m file, it displays the path to the file.

Passing Perl Variables on Startup

You can pass Perl variables to MATLAB on startup by using the -r option of the matlab function. For example, assume a MATLAB function test that takes one input variable:

function test(x)

To pass a Perl variable instead of a constant as the input parameter, follow these steps. This command starts MATLAB and runs test with the input argument 10.

  1. Create a Perl script such as

     $val = 10; 
     system('matlab -r "test(' . ${val} . ')"');
  2. Invoke the Perl script at the prompt using a Perl interpreter.

For more information, see the -r option in the matlab (Windows) or matlab (UNIX) documentation.

Startup and Calling Java Software from MATLAB

When MATLAB starts, it constructs the class path for Java® software using javaclasspath.txt and javalibrarypath.txt files. For more information, see The Java Class Path and Locating Native Method Libraries.

For information about memory allocation for Java objects, see Java Heap Memory Preferences.

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