File Exchange

image thumbnail

Get Dependent Files

version (4.61 KB) by Mark Brown
This function returns a list of dependent files called by scripts, functions, and classDef files.


Updated 04 Sep 2013

View License

This function will analyze an input file for all dependent functions. It works with scripts, functions, and classDef files. It also can return any calls to external functions, toolboxes, built-in functions, Java functions, and other unknown functions. The function was developed specifically to handle large object-oriented projects with many class definitions, packages, and associated functions.

Included are methods to find all of the parent functions that call a listed function (or class). It can optionally return a sparse matrix indicating who calls whom.

Finally, a method is provided to find all of the orphans of a folder or class package that are not called by anyone -- so called "orphans".

For use with classes, this function must be called from the parent directory of any package folders, and other folders containing potential files of interest must be on the Matlab path.

Example usage:
% Constructor
D = getDependents('Main.m');

% Return list of all dependent files
w = D.dependentFiles

% Return direct calls made by ProgramManager.m
x = D.whoAreCalledBy('+myPkg\ProgramManager.m')

% Return files that directly call Job.m
y = D.whoCall('+myPkg\Job.m')

% Return orphans in (or below) the +myPkg package
z = D.findOrp('+myPkg')

% Return orphans in (or below) the \utilities folder
z = D.findOrp('utilities')

% List external, toolbox, builtin, Java, and unknown calls
[ex,tb,bi,ja,un] = D.parseCalls('javaProgram.m')

This function will recursively analyze any external functions called by the input rootFile. It does not recursively search toolbox functions, built-in functions, Java functions, or other unknown functions. It does not list other functions or methods within the same input rootFile.

getDependents.m uses undocumented features of Matlab (mtree, mtfind) which may not be available in future releases. Tested successfully with R2010a, R2011a, R2012a, and R2013a.

Cite As

Mark Brown (2021). Get Dependent Files (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (5)

Xingwang Yong

Great, thanks!
There is a little bug.

iIf I had a script file main.m, and I had written function test() within this file. At the same time, there is a seperate file test.m which contains the test() fucntion in the same folder as main.m.

Your function would recognize test.m as a dependent file. Acutally, it is not because main.m will always call the test() function which is within its script.

AJ Rivera

Works great but not in this scenario.

Class A has method fun() which is pure virtual.
Class B inherits Class A and implements fun().

In such scenario, getDependents() does not list Class A file as a dependency.


By far the most accurate and most up-to-date dependency analyzer around. Great stuff Mark.

Scott Otterson

Works perfectly. Thanks!

Jim Hokanson

Thanks for posting this. I look forward to checking it out.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2010a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Inspired: depeval - check for dependencies

Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!