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2-D median filtering



J = medfilt2(I) performs median filtering of the image I in two dimensions. Each output pixel contains the median value in a 3-by-3 neighborhood around the corresponding pixel in the input image.

J = medfilt2(I,[m n]) performs median filtering, where each output pixel contains the median value in the m-by-n neighborhood around the corresponding pixel in the input image.

J = medfilt2(___,padopt) controls how medfilt2 pads the image boundaries.


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Read image into workspace and display it.

I = imread('eight.tif');
figure, imshow(I)

Add salt and pepper noise.

J = imnoise(I,'salt & pepper',0.02);

Use a median filter to filter out the noise.

K = medfilt2(J);

Display results, side-by-side.


Input Arguments

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Input image, specified as a 2-D grayscale or binary image.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | logical

Neighborhood size, specified as a 2-element vector of positive integers.

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64

Padding option, specified as one of the following values.

'zeros' (default)Pad the image with 0s.
'symmetric'Symmetrically extend the image at the boundaries.
'indexed'If the class of I is double, then pad the image with 1s; otherwise, pad with 0s.

Data Types: char | string

Output Arguments

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Output image, returned as a numeric matrix of the same class as the input image I.


  • Median filtering is a nonlinear operation often used in image processing to reduce "salt and pepper" noise. A median filter is more effective than convolution when the goal is to simultaneously reduce noise and preserve edges. For information about performance considerations, see ordfilt2.

  • If the input image I is of an integer class, then all the output values are returned as integers. If the number of pixels in the neighborhood (m*n) is even, then some of the median values might not be integers. In these cases, the fractional parts are discarded. Logical input is treated similarly. For example, the true median for the following 2-by-2 neighborhood in a uint8 array is 4.5, but medfilt2 discards the fractional part and returns 4.

    1 5
    4 8
  • If you specify padopt as 'zeros' or 'indexed', then the padding can skew the median near the image boundary. Pixels within one-half the width of the neighborhood ([m n]/2) of the edges can appear distorted.


On the CPU, medfilt2 uses ordfilt2 to perform the filtering.


[1] Lim, Jae S., Two-Dimensional Signal and Image Processing, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1990, pp. 469-476.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

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