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How do I create a shortcut or link to MATLAB?

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How do I create a shortcut or link to MATLAB?

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 3 Apr 2017
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 3 Apr 2017
How you create a shortcut to MATLAB depends on your operating system. Regardless of operating system you will need to know where MATLAB is located before you can create a shortcut. See “< How do I launch MATLAB?>“ for help finding MATLAB.
You can create a shortcut to the desktop or you can add MATLAB to your Start Menu.
  • To create a shortcut, right-click on matlab.exe and select “Send to >” and then select “Desktop (create shortcut)”.
  • To add MATLAB to the Start Menu, right-click on matlab.exe and select “Pin to start.”
You can add MATLAB to your Dock or you can create an alias.
  • To add MATLAB to your Dock, simply drag the application onto the Dock and wait until the other icons make room for the MATLAB icon. Then release the MATLAB icon.
  • To create an alias, right-click or control-click MATLAB in your application folder and select “Make Alias.” The alias will be created in the same folder MATLAB is in, so you need to move it to where you want it to be.
You can create a symbolic link for MATLAB in /usr/local/bin/ so you can run MATLAB from anywhere. To do so, start by moving into /usr/local/bin:
cd /usr/local/bin
Then create the link with the ln -s command. For example, if you are using R2016b, run this command:
ln -s /usr/local/MATLAB/R2016b/bin/matlab matlab
This will allow you to run MATLAB from anywhere on your system without needing to first navigate to the MATLAB installation directory.
If you are on a Linux distribution that can use Desktop shortcuts, then please consult your distribution's instructions for creating a shortcut.


Giulia Cencetti
Giulia Cencetti on 11 Jan 2018
and what if it says:
ln: failed to create symbolic link 'matlab': File exists
Tarik Berkant Kepez
Tarik Berkant Kepez on 5 Mar 2018
It says that file exists, which means that you already have this link in your /usr/local/bin .
ln -s /usr/local/MATLAB/R2016b/bin/matlab matlab
This command tries to create a soft link named matlab in /usr/local/bin/ to /usr/local/MATLAB/R2016b/bin/matlab . Since it already exists, it cannot create it and gives the error you have shared.
Tournel Henry
Tournel Henry on 7 Mar 2018
So, what do I do to create a desktop link that will enable me launch MATLAB?

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More Answers (2)

ray brunkow
ray brunkow on 23 Dec 2015
while the linux portion used to be true for the launcher, that is no longer the case if you are running Gnome3 for your desktop. Does anyone have a solution for the Gnome3 desktop environment?


Sherif Rashid
Sherif Rashid on 21 Feb 2017
how do i create a shortcut or link to matlab in windows 8
Kyle Perry
Kyle Perry on 8 Mar 2017
Hello Sherif,
The instructions listed above for Windows apply for Windows 8, however if you are having difficulty, please contact us so we can help resolve the issue.

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HyungJun Goo
HyungJun Goo on 17 Jun 2019
what if it says Permission denied..? like thisScreenshot from 2019-06-17 17-30-19.png

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Colin Fraser
Colin Fraser on 19 Jun 2019
It could be a permissions issue on your linux box. Try adjusting permissions or doing the commands as sudo.
If you are still experiencing this issue, please contact MathWorks support:

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