Base and Function Workspaces

This topic explains the differences between the base workspace and function workspaces, including workspaces for local functions, nested functions, and scripts.

The base workspace stores variables that you create at the command line. This includes any variables that scripts create, assuming that you run the script from the command line or from the Editor. Variables in the base workspace exist until you clear them or end your MATLAB® session.

Functions do not use the base workspace. Every function has its own function workspace. Each function workspace is separate from the base workspace and all other workspaces to protect the integrity of the data. Even local functions in a common file have their own workspaces. Variables specific to a function workspace are called local variables. Typically, local variables do not remain in memory from one function call to the next.

When you call a script from a function, the script uses the function workspace.

Like local functions, nested functions have their own workspaces. However, these workspaces are unique in two significant ways:

  • Nested functions can access and modify variables in the workspaces of the functions that contain them.

  • All of the variables in nested functions or the functions that contain them must be explicitly defined. That is, you cannot call a function or script that assigns values to variables unless those variables already exist in the function workspace.

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