Start MATLAB program from macOS Terminal
matlab option1 ... optionN
matlab is a Bourne shell script that starts the MATLAB® program from a macOS system prompt. Here the term
matlab refers to this script and
MATLAB refers to the program.
matlab script is located in the MATLAB application package,
matlabroot is the name of the folder in which you installed
release is the MATLAB release number.
Determines the MATLAB root folder, the value returned by the
Processes command-line options, if any
Reads the MATLAB startup file,
Sets MATLAB environment variables
matlab starts MATLAB with the specified startup options.
option1 ... optionN
Alternatively, assign startup options in the MATLAB
.matlab7rc.sh Startup File. Modifying the
defines startup options every time you start MATLAB. On macOS platforms, the
.matlab7rc.sh file applies only when starting
MATLAB from Terminal. The file does not apply when starting MATLAB by double-clicking the MATLAB icon in the Applications folder.
MATLAB uses the Java® Virtual Machine (JVM™) software to run the desktop and to display graphics. The
-nojvm option enables you to start MATLAB without the JVM. Using this option minimizes memory usage and improves initial startup speed, but
option1 ... optionN— One or more startup options
One or more startup options, specified as strings corresponding to valid startup options from the following tables.
Start MATLAB without a controlling terminal. Use this option when you start MATLAB from a window manager menu or desktop icon.
Run the JVM software without opening the MATLAB desktop. You can use development environment tools by calling them as functions.
Use this option to run in batch processing mode.
If you use the
MATLAB provides a command window-only interface in the desktop environment. On the Home tab, click Layout. Then, under Select Layout, select Command Window Only.
Start MATLAB without the JVM software. Features that require Java software (such as the desktop tools and graphics) are not supported.
Disable the display of figure windows in MATLAB.
Do not display the splash screen during startup.
Start the JVM software without starting the MATLAB desktop.
The initial working folder is the current folder when MATLAB starts. For more information, see MATLAB Startup Folder.
Set the MATLAB folder to
Set the MATLAB folder to the value specified by the Initial working folder option in the General Preferences panel.
Start the version of MATLAB in the
Copy Command Window output, including error reports, into
Display, without starting MATLAB, the final values of the environment variables and arguments passed to the MATLAB executable. This option also displays other diagnostic information for use when working with a Technical Support Representative.
Display, without starting MATLAB, all environment variables and their values to standard output. If the
exit status is not
Start MATLAB in debug mode. This option uses the debugger program name,
Debugger program command-line options,
Do not add a space between
Enable use of the Java debugger. The Java debugger uses the default
The port number is optional. However, to use the Java debugger while running multiple MATLAB sessions, you must specify a port number. The
Execute MATLAB script, statement, or function non-interactively. MATLAB:
if a session of MATLAB is running in batch mode, call the
Execute the MATLAB
To set the initial working folder, use the
By default, MATLAB uses the multithreading capabilities of the computer on which it is running.
Limit MATLAB to a single computational thread.
Disable use of
Use the specified license file,
Display startup options without starting MATLAB.
Move to the
bin folder within the application
package for MATLAB installed in a folder named
matlab script with
Start MATLAB R2015a from any Terminal
folder by specifying the full path name. Assume MATLAB is installed
in a folder named
matlab -nojvm -nodisplay -nosplash
matlab -r "disp(['Current folder: ' pwd])"
.matlab7rc.sh shell script contains variable
definitions used by the
matlab script. To redefine variables defined in the
matlab script, modify the
.matlab7rc.sh file. The
.matlab7rc.sh file applies only when starting MATLAB from Terminal; it does not apply when starting MATLAB by double-clicking the MATLAB icon in the Applications folder.
matlab looks in these folders for the first occurrence of
.matlab7rc.sh in the following order:
To edit the
.matlab7rc.sh file, use the template
located in the
The following table lists the variables. For more information,
see the comments in the
Definition and Standard Assignment Behavior
MATLAB checks these values in this order:
Final Load library path
The final value is normally a colon-separated list of four sublists, each of which could be empty. The sublists are:
MATLAB root folder
the default computed by the script unless
MATLAB search path
The final value is a colon-separated list with the
Shell to use with MATLAB “
This value is taken from the environment, unless
Shell to use instead of
MATLAB checks for
an absolute path for the value of
Path of the toolbox folder
The MATLAB version of
matlab script determines the path of the MATLAB root folder by looking up the folder tree from the
/bin folder (where the
matlab script is located). MATLAB use the
MATLAB variable to locate all files within the
MATLAB folder tree.
You can change the definition of
MATLAB. For example, you might change
To run a different version of MATLAB
When your system uses certain types of automounting schemes and the path determined by
matlab script is not correct
Not recommended starting in R2019a
To start MATLAB non-interactively, use the
-batch option. To start MATLAB interactively, use the