MATLAB® provides various options called preferences for customizing MATLAB. To access and set preferences:
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences.
From the left pane of the Preferences dialog box, select a tool, product, or an entry revealed when you click an arrow preceding a tool or product name.
Change settings in the right pane of the Preferences dialog box.
Click Apply or OK.
Preferences take effect immediately. They remain persistent across sessions of MATLAB.
Most preferences are not available in MATLAB Online, except selected Command Window and Confirmation Dialog preferences.
You can open the Preferences dialog box using the
You also can access and set some MATLAB options programmatically using settings. For more information, see Access and Modify Settings.
MATLAB and other MathWorks® products store their preferences in the preferences folder. To see the
full path for the preferences folder type
prefdir in the MATLAB Command Window. The name of the preferences folder matches the name of the
release. For instance, for MATLAB R2016b, the name of the preferences folder is
On macOS and iOS, the folder might be in a hidden folder. If so, to access the hidden folder:
In the Apple macOS Finder tool, select Go > Go to Folder.
In the resulting dialog box, type the path returned by
prefdir, and then press
You must have write access to the preferences folder. Otherwise, MATLAB generates an error in the Command Window when you try to change preferences. MATLAB also can generate an error if the preferences folder is hidden.
In some situations, if MATLAB is unable to create or use the preferences folder when starting up, it creates a temporary preferences folder. If a preferences folder exists for a previous release, MATLAB copies the preference files from that release to the temporary preferences folder. Otherwise, MATLAB creates the default preference files for the current release. MATLAB continues to use the temporary preferences folder until the issue is resolved.
If you make changes to preferences while MATLAB is using the temporary preferences folder, the preferences persist across sessions. Once the issue preventing MATLAB to access the preferences folder is resolved though, MATLAB copies the preference files from the previous release or creates the default preference files for the current release. Any changes made to the preferences while using the temporary preference folder are lost.
Each version of MATLAB can have a temporary preferences folder. MATLAB does not migrate preferences from the temporary preferences folder across releases.
Installing MATLAB has no effect on the preferences folder. That is, MATLAB creates, checks, copies, and writes to the preferences folder when you start up MATLAB, not when you install it. When you uninstall MATLAB, there is an option in the uninstaller to remove the preferences folder. However, this option is not selected by default.
The files in the preferences folder that MATLAB uses depends on the version of MATLAB you are starting up. How and if MATLAB migrates (reuses) preferences files from one version of MATLAB to the next also depends on the version.
When you start up, MATLAB looks for a preferences folder name that matches the release starting up, and then it does one of the following:
If MATLAB finds a preferences folder name matching the release starting up, then it uses that folder and the files within it. This is usually the case after the first time you start MATLAB for a given release.
If a preference folder exists but is empty, then MATLAB recreates the default preference files for the release starting up.
If MATLAB does not find a preferences folder name matching the release starting up, then it creates one. Next, MATLAB checks to see if a preference folder exists for any of the three releases of MATLAB that immediately precede the one you are starting.
If none of the preference folders from the previous three releases exist, then MATLAB creates the default preference files for the release starting up.
For example, if you start up
R2014b are installed, then MATLAB creates the default files for the
R2016a release. This is true even if a
preference folder exists for the
release or earlier.
If one or more of the preference folders for the previous three releases exist, then MATLAB migrates the files from the preferences folder corresponding to the latest previous release to the preferences folder for the release starting up.
For example, if you start up
R2016a and a
preference folder exists for both the
R2014b releases, then MATLAB migrates the files from the
R2015b preferences folder to the
R2016a preferences folder.
This table describes how to control which versions of preferences files MATLAB uses.
|To Use:||Do This:|
Default preference files for a given release of MATLAB
All the preference files from a release of MATLAB up to three releases preceding the release you plan to start up or sign into.
Ensure that the preferences folder exists for that previous release. Delete the entire preferences folder for each release after the release you want to migrate from, including the folder for the release of MATLAB you plan to start up or sign into.
The release-specific default for just a particular file in the preferences folder
Delete just that file from the preferences folder for the release of MATLAB you plan to start up or sign into.
One file to consider keeping is
You can set preferences for the initial working folder, deleting files, and toolbox path caching.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General. Then, adjust preference options as described in this table.
Initial working folder
Select the last working folder from your previous MATLAB session, or specify the full path to a folder on your system. For more information, see MATLAB Startup Folder.
If you create a
Select an option to specify what MATLAB does with files you delete using the
Selecting Delete permanently makes the
Linux® systems, if you select Move to a temporary
folder, MATLAB moves files to a subfolder with the prefix
Toolbox path caching
Select Enable toolbox path caching to have
Click Update Toolbox Path Cache to add files
For details, see Toolbox Path Caching in MATLAB.
Select the language in which the MATLAB desktop appears. Supported languages include Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. This option affects the text in dialog boxes, button names, menu items, and error and warning messages.
You can specify whether MATLAB displays specific confirmation dialog boxes.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > Confirmation Dialogs. Then, adjust preference options as described in the table below.
This table summarizes the core MATLAB confirmation dialog boxes. There might be additional confirmation dialog boxes for other products you install, and some options are not available in MATLAB Online™.
Confirmation Dialog Box Appears
Warn before deleting Command History items
When you delete entries from the Command History window.
For details, see Command History Window.
Warn before clearing the Command Window
When, on the Home tab, in the
Code section, you click Clear
Commands. Does not appear when you use the
Confirm when overwriting variables in MAT-files
When you save variables by dragging them from the Workspace browser onto a MAT-file in the Current Folder browser.
Confirm when overwriting workspace variables via drag-and-drop
When you load variables by dragging them from the Details Panel of the Current Folder browser to the Workspace browser or Command Window.
Prompt when editing files that do not exist
When you type
Prompt to exit debug mode when saving file
When you try to save a modified file while in debug mode.
For details, see End Debugging Session.
Prompt to save on activate
When you have unsaved changes to a figure and program file and you activate the UI by clicking the Run button, for example.
For details, see GUIDE Preferences.
Prompt to save on export
When you have unsaved changes to a figure and program file and you select File > Export.
For details, see GUIDE Preferences.
Confirm changing default callback implementation
When you have modified a callback signature in GUIDE.
For details, see GUIDE Preferences.
Confirm before exiting MATLAB
When you quit MATLAB.
Confirm when deleting variables
When you delete variables from the workspace using menu items. Does
not appear with the
For details, see Save and Load Workspace Variables.
You can select which previously installed and configured source control system to use with MATLAB.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General > Source Control. Then, select an option from the list.
For more information, see Select or Disable Source Control System.
You can set keyboard shortcuts for actions you perform using MathWorks software. You can specify or import sets of predefined keyboard shortcuts, set individual shortcuts on an action-by-action basis, or use a combination of both approaches.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Then, adjust preference options as described in this table.
For more information on customizing keyboard shortcuts, see Customize Keyboard Shortcuts for Individual Actions.
If you use source control integration through the MATLAB Current Folder Browser, MATLAB might crash when you view or commit changes.
Select or import a set of predefined keyboard shortcuts.
Select any one of these options:
|Search by action name or shortcut|
Search the list of displayed actions.
|Shortcuts for <action-name>|
View the keyboard shortcut assigned to a selected action.
Add or delete a keyboard shortcut to a selected action.
|All possible conflicts|
Display conflicts when two or more different actions have the same shortcut.
Remove the keyboard shortcut from the selection in the All possible conflicts list.
You can specify the text and background color for desktop tools, as well as colors for highlighting syntax elements of MATLAB code.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Colors. Then, set options as described in the table below.
|Desktop tool colors|
Specify that desktop tools use the same text and background colors that your platform uses for other applications by selecting Use system colors.
Customize colors by clearing Use system colors, and then choose Text and Background colors from the drop-down menus.
These colors do not apply to the Help display pane, nor to the web browser.
For details, see Change Text and Background Colors in Desktop Tools.
|MATLAB syntax highlighting colors|
Set colors to help you quickly identify elements of MATLAB syntax in the Editor, Command Window, Command History window, and the MATLAB shortcuts callback area.
For details, see Change Syntax Highlighting Colors.
|MATLAB Command Window colors|
Set colors to help you quickly identify errors, warnings, and hyperlinks in the Command Window.
You can specify options used for editing and debugging code, including code analysis colors, variable and function colors, and cell display options.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Colors > Programming Tools. Then, set options as described in the table below.
|Code analyzer colors|
For details, see Automatically Check Code in the Editor — Code Analyzer.
|Variable and function colors||
|Section display options|
Highlight sections—Specifies the color the Editor uses to shade code sections.
Show lines between sections—Specifies that code section divisions appear with a gray line between each section in the Editor. These lines do not appear in the published or printed file.
See also Code Sections.
You can change and save your diff color preferences for the Comparison tool. You can apply your color preferences to all comparison types.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Comparison. Then, set options as described in the table below.
Set colors to help you quickly identify differences, modifications, and merges in comparison reports. Choose colors from the drop-down menus. View the colors in the Sample pane. To use your modified settings in comparisons, click Apply. Refresh any open comparison reports to use the new colors.
To save your modified color preferences for use in future MATLAB sessions, click Save As. Enter a name for your color settings profile and click OK.
After saving settings, you can select them in the Active Settings list.
For details, see Comparison Report Tools and Options.
External Source Control Integration
Use the check box to control external source control interactions: Allow external source control tools to use open MATLAB sessions for diffs and merges. After you configure your source control tool to use MATLAB Comparison tool, the Comparison tool prompts you to set this preference. For details, see Customize External Source Control to Use MATLAB for Diff and Merge (Simulink).
You can customize some toolbars in the MATLAB application.
On the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Toolbars. Then, set options as described in the table below.
For step-by-step instructions on setting these preferences, see Access Frequently Used Features.
Select the toolbar you want to customize.
Rearrange controls in the toolbar by dragging and dropping them to a new location in the Layout.
Select which buttons appear on the selected toolbar.