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Pass Contents of Cell Arrays to Functions

These examples show several ways to pass data from a cell array to a MATLAB® function that does not recognize cell arrays as inputs.

Pass the contents of a single cell by indexing with curly braces, {}.

This example creates a cell array that contains text and a 20-by-2 array of random numbers.

randCell = {'Random Data', rand(20,2)};

Plot only the first column of data by indexing further into the content (multilevel indexing).

title('First Column of Data')

Combine numeric data from multiple cells using the cell2mat function.

This example creates a 5-by-2 cell array that stores temperature data for three cities, and plots the temperatures for each city by date.

temperature(1,:) = {'01-Jan-2010', [45, 49, 0]};
temperature(2,:) = {'03-Apr-2010', [54, 68, 21]};
temperature(3,:) = {'20-Jun-2010', [72, 85, 53]};
temperature(4,:) = {'15-Sep-2010', [63, 81, 56]};
temperature(5,:) = {'31-Dec-2010', [38, 54, 18]};

allTemps = cell2mat(temperature(:,2));
dates = datenum(temperature(:,1), 'dd-mmm-yyyy');

plot(dates, allTemps)

Pass the contents of multiple cells as a comma-separated list to functions that accept multiple inputs.

This example plots X against Y , and applies line styles from a 2-by-3 cell array C.

X = -pi:pi/10:pi;
Y = tan(sin(X)) - sin(tan(X));

C(:,1) = {'LineWidth'; 2};
C(:,2) = {'MarkerEdgeColor'; 'k'};
C(:,3) = {'MarkerFaceColor'; 'g'};

plot(X, Y, '--rs', C{:})

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