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Delete files or objects



delete filename deletes filename from disk, without requesting verification. To change whether the specified file is permanently deleted or sent to the recycle bin, change the Deleting files preference. To do so, go to the Home tab and in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > General. Then, choose from one of the two options in the Deleting files section. By default, the Delete permanently option is selected.


On Mac platforms, the Deleting files preference is not applied to files deleted from network drives. All files are deleted permanently.

delete filename1 ... filenamen deletes the specified files from disk.


delete(obj) deletes the specified object. If obj is an array, then delete deletes all objects in the array. obj remains in the workspace, but is no longer valid.


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Delete all files in the current folder with a .mat extension.

delete *.mat

Delete a graphics object and a graphics object array.

Create a bar chart and plot five lines. Then delete the bar chart.

b = bar(1:5);
hold on
P = plot(magic(5));

Figure contains an axes object. The axes object contains 5 objects of type line.

The Bar object variable b remains in the workspace, but no longer refers to an object.

b = 
  handle to deleted Bar

Delete all the Line objects created by plot.


Figure contains an axes object. The axes object is empty.

Input Arguments

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File name to delete, specified as a character vector or string scalar. filename can be an absolute or relative path and can include wildcards (*). To delete files from a remote location, fileName must contain a full path specified as a uniform resource locator (URL). For more information, see Work with Remote Data.

Object to delete, specified as a single object or an array of objects.

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

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Behavior changed in R2020a