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version 1.01 (28.4 KB) by Jeremy Hughes
Tools for simplifying for-loops. Customizable loop iteration.


Updated 25 Apr 2017

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Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

The for-each tools enable simple, readable, and powerful for loops in MATLAB(R).
For example, you can:
* Loop over the contents of a cell array without using braces for indexing,
* Convert an arbitrarily nested for-loop to a single loop using eachCombination,
* Loop through slices of an N-D array along any dimension(s),
* Loop over large numbers of permutations of a vector,
* Define your own rules for iterating over an array.
(Works from release R2009b)

Cite As

Jeremy Hughes (2020). For-Each (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (15)

Jan Kappen

I love it, but we cannot use or improve it because of the license. Please, are there any plans to use a more permissive license?

Robert Cox

I agree with Christopher, please consider releasing this under a more permissive license such as MIT, BSD, or Apache 2.0. The current license is extremely restrictive.

Please consider using a permissive license (Apache, MIT, BSD) for this code so that as many people could use it as possible!

great tool, thanks a lot

This is awesome. I am part of a C++ project that provides a MATLAB interface through Java (and SWIG). In C++, we have a linked-list container that can only be accessed through an iterator. In MATLAB, people can use this container via "it = list.begin(); while ~it.equals(list.end());; end" but this is very bug-prone. I would love to use your library to implement our own iterator and to allow our users to use the "for item = each(list)" syntax.

It would be great if this could be released under a more open license (like Apache 2.0) so that I could incorporate it into my project. Otherwise, we will be unable to use this fantastic package.

It would be useful to be able to iterate fields of a structure:

for field = eachField(struct)


Slow for large arrays, but generally this is extremely useful! Also consider Paul Kaefer's eachFile -> see his comment in the "pick of the week" article.



Thanks, I am very happy to see this!

I wonder about the efficiency though. Keeping all the caveats about the pointlessness and difficulties with micro-benchmarking and pre-mature optimization in mind, for a simple micro-benchmark the "each" iteration seemed almost a couple orders of magnitude slower when looping over a cell array:

%gen a big cell array
num_cells = 100000;
max_num = 100000000;

arr = cellstr(num2str(randi(max_num,num_cells,1)+100000));

for repeat=1:5
tot_len = 0;
for i = 1:num_cells
tot_len = tot_len + length(arr{i});

tot_len = 0;
for val = each(arr)
tot_len = tot_len + length(val);

last elapsed times:
Elapsed time is 0.067018 seconds.
Elapsed time is 4.681804 seconds.

Hi Ray, I believe the eachColumn function will do what you are looking for with most arrays. That's an interesting suggestion for iterating through tables. Thanks!


Can add the feature to iterate over some columns in an array or somes subtaables in a table by a row index?
It's useful to work about table.

such as:
A = rand(5,2); %or a table
idx = [1 1 2 2 3]'; %or a categorical array
for i=unique(idx)

Clayton Chu

There isn't a language feature I wanted more in MATLAB than a foreach loop. Now I have one. This makes development so much easier!



Updated picture and description.

Fixed an issue with eachPermutation not returning expected results.

Updated Toolbox File to remove Control System Toolbox and Statistics Toolbox from requirements.

Does not require Control Systems Toolbox, and Statistics Toolbox

Fixed issue with empty vector in perumtation iterator.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2014b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Inspired: each