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Ways to Share Apps

There are several ways to share your apps.

  • Share MATLAB Files Directly — This approach is the simplest way to share an app, but your users must have MATLAB® installed on their systems, as well as other MathWorks® products that your app depends on. They must also be familiar with executing commands in the MATLAB Command Window and know how to manage the MATLAB path.

  • Package Your App — This approach uses the app packaging tool provided with MATLAB. When your users install a packaged app, the app appears in the Apps tab in the MATLAB Toolstrip. This approach is useful for sharing apps with larger audiences, or when your users are less familiar with executing commands in the MATLAB Command Window or managing the MATLAB path. As in the case of sharing MATLAB files directly, your users must have MATLAB installed on their systems (as well as other MathWorks products that your app depends on).

  • Create a Standalone Application — This approach lets you share apps with users that do not have MATLAB installed on their systems. To create the standalone application, you must have MATLAB Compiler™ installed on your system. To run the application, your users must have MATLAB Runtime installed on their systems. For more information, see

Share MATLAB Files Directly

If you created your app in GUIDE, share the .fig file, the .m file, and all other dependent files with your users.

If you created your app programmatically, share all .m files and other dependent files with your users.

If you created your app in App Designer, share the .mlapp file and all other dependent files with your users. To provide a richer file browsing experience for your users, provide a name, summary, and description by clicking App Details in the Designer tab of the App Designer toolstrip. The App Details dialog box also provides an option for specifying a screen shot. If you do not specify a screen shot, App Designer captures and updates a screen shot automatically when you run the app.

MATLAB provides your app details to some operating systems for display in their file browsers. Specifying apps details also makes it easier to package and compile your apps. The .mlapp file provides those details automatically to those interfaces.

Package Your App

To package your app and make it accessible in the MATLAB Apps tab, create an .mlappinstall file by following the steps in Package Apps in App Designer or Package Apps From the MATLAB Toolstrip. The resulting .mlappinstall file includes all dependent files.

You can share the .mlappinstall file directly with your users. To install it, they must double-click the .mlappinstall file in the MATLAB Current Folder browser.

Alternatively, you can share your app as an add-on by uploading the .mlappinstall file to MATLAB Central File Exchange. Your users can find and install your add-on from the MATLAB Toolstrip by performing these steps:

  1. In the MATLAB Toolstrip, on the Home tab, in the Environment section, click the Add-Ons icon.

  2. Find the add-on by browsing through available categories on the left side of the Add-On Explorer window. Use the search bar to search for an add-on using a keyword.

  3. Click the add-on to open its detailed information page.

  4. On the information page, click Add to install the add-on.


Although .mlappinstall files can contain any files you specify, MATLAB Central File Exchange places additional limitations on submissions. Your app cannot be submitted to File Exchange when it contains any of the following files:

  • MEX-files

  • Other binary executable files, such as DLLs or ActiveX® controls. (Data and image files are typically acceptable.)

Create a Standalone Application

Creating a standalone application lets you share an app with users who do not have MATLAB on their systems. However, you must have MATLAB Compiler installed on your system to create the standalone application. Your users must have MATLAB Runtime on their systems to run the app.

Once you have MATLAB Compiler on your system, you can open the Application Compiler from within App Designer by clicking Deploy App in the Designer tab.

If you used GUIDE or created your app programmatically, you can open the Application Compiler from the MATLAB Toolstrip, on the Apps tab, by clicking the Application Compiler icon.

See Create Standalone Application from MATLAB (MATLAB Compiler) for instructions on using the Application Compiler.

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