This topic explains how MATLAB® determines which function to call when multiple functions in the current scope have the same name. The current scope includes the current file, an optional private subfolder relative to the currently running function, the current folder, and the MATLAB path.
MATLAB uses this precedence order:
Before assuming that a name matches a function, MATLAB checks for a variable with that name in the current workspace.
If you create a variable with the same name as a function, MATLAB cannot run that function until you clear the variable from memory.
Imported package functions
A package function is associated with a particular folder. When
you import a package function using the
it has precedence over all other functions with the same name.
Nested functions within the current function
Local functions within the current file
Private functions are functions in a
private that is immediately below
the folder of the currently running file.
An object function accepts a particular class of object in its input argument list. When there are multiple object functions with the same name, MATLAB checks the classes of the input arguments to determine which function to use.
Class constructors in @ folders
MATLAB uses class constructors to create a variety of objects
and you can define your own classes using object-oriented programming.
For example, if you create a class folder
a constructor function
constructor takes precedence over other functions named
on the path.
Loaded Simulink® models
Functions in the current folder
Functions elsewhere on the path, in order of appearance
When determining the precedence of functions within the same folder, MATLAB considers the file type, in this order:
Simulink model files that are not loaded, with file types in this order:
App file (
.mlapp) created using MATLAB App
Program file with a
P-file (that is, an encoded program
file with a
Program file with a
For example, if MATLAB finds a
and a P-file with the same name in the same folder, it uses the P-file.
Because P-files are not automatically regenerated, make sure that
you regenerate the P-file whenever you edit the program file.
To determine the function MATLAB calls for a particular
input, include the function name and the input in a call to the
which function. For example, determine
the location of the
max function that MATLAB calls
testval = 10; which max(testval)
% double method built-in (matlabroot\toolbox\matlab\datafun\@double\max)
testval = int8(10); which max(testval)
% int8 method built-in (matlabroot\toolbox\matlab\datafun\@int8\max)
For more information, see: