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waitbar with time estimation

version 1.5 (3.33 KB) by

Estimated remaining, elapsed time, and percentage complete.

13 Ratings



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This version of waitbar is compatible with MATLAB's version. Thus, doesn't require any modification of existing functions using the waitbar. However, the property settings include with MATLAB's version will not be recognized.

This program is a heavily modified version of timebar.m by Chad English.

Comments and Ratings (17)

Student Uni


SMK (view profile)

Loved it. great work.


Dvir (view profile)


WurmD (view profile)

Heya, loved it! ^_^

Works seamlessly with my old code.

Just ran into one hiccup in my work PC, sometimes it hangs in this line:

            h = buildwaitbar(X,message);

my solution, just a try catch and re-try:

            h = buildwaitbar(X,message);
        catch me
            warning([me.message '. Retrying...'])
            h = buildwaitbar(X,message);


Ivan (view profile)

Lukas Lansky

Works nicely.

Awesome work! Great share, keep that up.

Great job. Thanks.
A little improvement for compatibility: in Matlab's original waitbar, the 'message' string is optional for the first call:
With your function it makes an error.

Rob Campbell

Rob Campbell (view profile)

Like the Mathworks waitbar but better! Very useful for loops in which each iteration takes a long time. There are solutions for loops with quick iterations so the above critique is somewhat harsh.

Great tool! The only prob I had was dealing with zero progress. My solution is:

    % 2.2 - Calculate the estimated time remaining
        e_mes = datestr(elap/86400,'HH:MM:SS');
        if progress~=0
            sec_remain = elap*(1/progress-1);
            r_mes = datestr(sec_remain/86400,'HH:MM:SS');
            r_mes = ('--:--:--');

Not sure why I had the prob only after a fresh start of Matlab though...


csb (view profile)

try this to speed up things

% pause(10e-120) % Needed for window to appear (do not know why)


Ross, i don't want to argue much on this, i see your point.
I mean you have a point if the computation is heavy due to what's inside the loop, but not when is due to the high number of iterations.

Ross Hatton

Ross Hatton (view profile)

In response to the time comparison:

Updating the graphical progress display is certainly going to take longer than an addition operation like k=k+1, but will be negligible when compared to a computationally heavy process, and can be read from across the room.


ok, cool looking, but this whole waitbar thing is not very useful.
the point is that updating graphics in Matlab is very time consuming.look at this:

h = waitbar(0,'Please wait...');
for i=1:1000,
for i=1:1000,
Elapsed time is 15.628354 seconds.
Elapsed time is 0.003811 seconds.

If you have a loop that takes enough time to make reasonable the use of a timebar, then using the timebar will make the computation 4000 times slower.
Updating only test is much more efficient, so i like going for a running percentage thing.
The timebar is good looking though

Arturo Serrano

Arturo Serrano (view profile)

Great contribution, works seamlessly without any modification of the code, thanks...

Anthony Kendall

Very nice, though there is one bug that shows up in the provided example: the message is overwritten with the graphics handle

A fix I used is:
line 45: h = message;
line 45: h = message; message = [];

And, in the subfunction updatewaitbar:
line 143: set(hh.message,'String',message);
line 145: if ~isempty(message),set(hh.message,'String',message);end

Otherwise, it works great and is a complete drop-in replacement for waitbar. Thanks!



I fixed a problem with updating messages.


As suggested in the comment, I changed the pause(10e-120) to drawnow. Thanks for that tip, there is always something to learn.


I believe I fixed the bug mentioned in the comments, please contact me if any problems are encountered.


Fixed problem of comparability with existing MATLAB's waitbar.m.

MATLAB Release
MATLAB 7.5 (R2007b)

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