Ive installed matlab 2013a on windows 8.1 and when I type doc rand (or doc anything) the help is displayed incorrectly. I have to go the internet to read the documentation.
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This is an old post, but I had the same issue and have a fix (not downloading R2013b or java related). Just downgrade from IE 11 to 10: Go to System (or System & Security)->Windows Update->View Update History->Installed Updates -> Find IE11 and uninstall it. Your system should revert back to the prior installed version. This fixed the help issues.
I just got this problem with Windows 7 and MATLAB r2013A. It was working fine and I've had it up for 3 days until this afternoon. I have not installed any update since I got the release in September (unlike Oleg) so that can't be the problem. Perhaps it was some kind of Java JRE update??? Now I get what you showed in your screenshot:
I've tried exiting MATLAB and restarting and that didn't fix ix. I tried setting preferences to web-based, and back to local and that didn't fix it. A lot of the words are overlapping and there are non-printable characters in there.
It would be great if anyone had a fix, since it seems to be happening more often (to more people). This might be the issue that forces me to update to R2013b in the hopes that a new install will fix it, though I'll have to update dozens of systems I have around the world with new MCR libraries and that would be a pain since it's not always quick to transfer 423 MB half-way around the world.
In addition to the formatting annoyance of the HelpBrowser and seeing as I have been learning Linux lately, I wrote a function to access doc files using the 'man' function call. This was done literally minutes ago so, while I know there will certainly be some, I have not come across any issues as of yet.
function man(requested_doc) doc_local = strcat('file:///C:/Program%20Files/MATLAB/R2013a/help/matlab/ref/'... ,requested_doc,'.html'); web(doc_local,'-browser'); end
Simple enough. Maybe it will help someone out, that'd make a great introduction for myself to a community I have been lurking around for years.