Igraph bindings for Matlab
Updated 1 Apr 2024

Igraph toolbox

Toolbox for integrating the igraph C library with MATLAB.

See The documentation for a more thorough introduction.

In early development: Still missing many features and may be buggy. Please report any crashes you have by opening an issue and feel free to make feature requests, suggest changes, or contribute. Additionally, you should not see any internal errors (i.e. error ids of the form Igraph:internal:something), please open an issue if you find one. Also note, I am not familiar with all the file formats supported by igraph, so if any of read/write logic is not sensible, let me know by opening an issue.

The igraph C library provides efficient graph analysis functions including graph generation, reading/writing graphs to file, and community detection.

This toolbox aims to provide a consistent API to perform graph analyses inside MATLAB while following MATLAB’s conventions.

In MATLAB, graphs are stored as adjacency matrices. By using standard matrices, it’s easy to produce and process graphs using builtin functions. Both full and sparse adjacency matrices are supported along with different data types (doubles and logicals for now). This allows flexibility and easy integration into preexisting projects.

See the getting started live script in the toolbox for basic usage.

For File Exchange users if downloading from the File Exchange or using MATLAB’s Add-ons manager, you may want to run igraph.postinstall() after the installation to remove files that are not required on your system.


If you publish results generated with the help of this package, make sure to cite igraph:

Csardi, G., & Nepusz, T. (2006). The igraph software package for complex network research. InterJournal, Complex Systems, 1695.


See The installation guide for a more in-depth instructions and error resolution.

Pre-compiled toolbox (recommended)

You can use MATLAB Add-ons manager. This will track toolbox updates. It’s also possible to download the toolbox directly from the release page, however, this will need to be manually updated. If manually downloading the toolbox, double click on the file (ending in .mltbx) in MATLAB to install.

Building the toolbox

In addition to MATLAB this toolbox depends on cmake, bison, flex, and libxml2. On Windows, you will need to install the msys environment and download the dependencies using the provided pacman package manager. To build, start in the root directory of this git repo and run:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
cmake --build .

See cmake’s docs for more options, using the ninja generator (depends on the ninja build tool) instead of the default make is faster.

You can build the package target target to get a toolbox with all the files in the correct place:

cmake --build . --target package

Then unzip the package and add the contained toolbox to MATLAB’s path.


Since the toolbox is a mix of MATLAB source files and compiled files that end up in build directory, the easiest approach for development is to build the default target then link the compiled files to the correct location in the toolbox so MATLAB can find them. From the build directory:

cd ../toolbox/+igraph/private
ln -s ../../../build/mex/*.mexa64 .
cd ../../../tests/mxIgraph/private
ln -s ../../../build/tests/*.mexa64 .

Where mexa64 is the linux mex extension. If using a different extension, make sure to add a new rule to the .gitignore file. Now the source toolbox directory can be added to MATLAB’s path and rebuilding the mex files will be recognized by MATLAB (although new files will need to be linked). There will also be a compile_commands.json in the build directory that can be linked to the root of the repository.


Tests can be run using ctest with the --test-dir being set to the build directory. For interactive development, it’s faster to run buildtool in a running MATLAB instance since it doesn’t require repeatedly starting MATLAB. To run all tests:

buildtool test

Test can be replaced with testMxIgraph or testToolbox.

See also

Cite As

David Connell (2024). matlab-igraph (, GitHub. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2023b
Compatible with R2019b and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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Version Published Release Notes

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To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.
To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.