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MATLAB Schemer

version (517 KB) by Scott Lowe
Apply and save color schemes in MATLAB with ease.


Updated 25 Jun 2020

GitHub view license on GitHub

Editor's Note: Popular File 2018

This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

MATLAB Schemer makes it easy to change the color scheme (a.k.a. theme) of the MATLAB display and GUI.
You can use Schemer to import a predefined color scheme, transfer your color settings between installations, or create your own color scheme.
The MATLAB interface has customisable colours for displaying text and highlighting syntax, but no way to easily export these settings and share them with others users, or import them to other machines. In fact, the vast majority of users do not even know the colour settings can be customised at all. Furthermore, MATLAB ships with a light color scheme by default, so any user who wishes to use a dark theme must completely change all the colours. Designing an effective color scheme is not trivial, so it makes sense for users to simply import a pre-made color scheme instead of having to make one from scratch.
Schemer makes this easy. Color schemes can be imported by running `schemer_import` at the MATLAB command prompt, without needing any inputs. This will open a GUI to select the file to import the color scheme from.
Schemer comes with a collection of 11 color schemes to pick from:
- Cobalt
- Darkmate
- Dark Steel
- Matrix
- Monokai
- Oblivion
- Solarized Dark
- Solarized Light
- Tango
- Vibrant
- and the original, default MATLAB scheme, which can be restored as needed.
You can view samples of the color schemes here:
If you find a bug in the code, please report it by creating an issue on GitHub:

If you want to share a color scheme/theme you have created, please issue a pull request to the daughter repository containing just the color schemes:

Cite As

Scott Lowe (2020). MATLAB Schemer (, GitHub. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (308)

wong bing

Hey there I love the schemes however, I'm still relatively new to matlab and I'm having a hard time getting this to work. I've added it through addons, yet when I run import_schemer in the command window, I have to select all files to get the files to show up under schemes, and then when I select my choice it says, darksteel.prf already exists do you want to replace it? And then leads to "matlab can only run a file with a valid name... etc..."

What am I doing wrong?

Scott Lowe

Hi, David Parks. The color schemes are in the "schemes" directory of the repository. If you install Schemer by clicking the "Download from GitHub" button on this File Exchange page, you will see the schemes directory alongside the file schemer_import.m (which, obviously, defines the function schemer_import). When schemer was developed, this was the only mechanism for installing custom packages/apps/toolboxes into MATLAB from File Exchange and so the functionality was obvious. Now there is the Add-Ons Manager and users do not have to manually install the Schemer package, but the default directory is not correct when it is run from this installation. For the moment, you have to manually find the Add-Ons directory where matlab-schemer was installed, or download with the "Download from GitHub" button. I will change schemer_import soon so the default behaviour is as expected when Schemer is installed through the Add-Ons Manager. Apologies for the inconvenience!

David Parks

Where are the default color schemes? If I run `schemer_import` I just get a file dialog box pointing to my current working directory. If default color schemes were installed somewhere, then where? If I need to download them, then from where? I don't see an obvious place where they were downloaded or available.


Great work. Note: This does not work for .mlx (live scrips).

Ramy Rabie

It works as expected, and its natural schemer_import and schemer_export functions are self-explanatory.



Rémy Bretin

Love it, but is there any way to also change the Matlab windows frame color?

Kyle Bopp

kevin billy

Gan Gun

Utsav Dave

Love it! Easy to use, does what it says on the label. Thanks for saving my eyes!!

Dan Floyd

Laki D


Thank you!

Jesus Lucio

Very good. Thanks a lot.

Scott Lowe

@Ajay, thanks! The font is DejaVu Sans Mono.

Ajay Kumar

Excellent. Just one question.
What is the font that is used in the screenshots?

Fantastic work. Thank you very much.

thank you very much

Thank you very much

Bryan H.

Quick and easy to use. It even works on the R2020a prerelease!

Deepu Kumar


Wei Jiang

jim chen

bin lu

Bryan H.

Until a native dark mode is available, this is an eye saver.

Scott Lowe

@Peter Scott Changing the default background of a plot is outside the scope of this package. You can find the answer here:
For instance:
set(0, 'DefaultFigureColor', [1, .8, .8])
set(0, 'DefaultAxesColor', [.4, .6, .8])

Peter Scott

How do i change the default background of a plot.

Scott Lowe

Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the Toolbar color scheme of MATLAB on any OS.

Question: how to make the Toolbar color scheme follow the Schemer? I'm working on an Apple MacBook Air MacOs Mojave 10.14.6

Radix User


shufu yuan

Perfect. Color schemes should be a standard feature, but this is a great substitute.




Its a typical Redmond-fail (i.e, Microsoft's habit of pushing half-finished dreck), but on Windows folks will notice that none of the toolbars, menubars etc change to adapt to the broad theme.

That's on MSFT's third-decile coders, and is not the fault of the contributor: I have a dark Windows theme, and browser bars & menus all adapt, but JetBrains IDEs, Geany, MATLAB, and Office have the hated white/light-grey livery unless I specifically alter their characteristics.

the cyclist



works nicely


Great submission. It made my Matlab much more comfortable to use.

Justin Heer

my eyes said thanks



For anyone who doesn't know how to import the themes, make sure first that the folder you unzipped is in your MATLAB path. You can add it to your path in Home>Set Path option.

Atif Anwer


Excellent submission! Would it be possible to have an Atom-like theme?

@Kuo Yang: click the big blue "Download" button (top of the page). Unzip the file onto your MATLAB path (e.g. your current directory).

Slav Demin

Kuo Yang

I type schemer_import in the command prompt... not work at all... it shows undefined function or variable... could you please tell me what to do?

If I could, I would give this ten stars.


Raul Leon

Rodrigo Chi

does anyone knows how to install the themes?


Works perfect :D


Excellent Work. Works very well. Thanks.

An illuminating submission which is a *must* for any regular MATLAB user.
Would be nice if it also included Zenburn, but the inbuilt schemes are thoughtfully selected.

Daniel Meer




Great work on this, thanks.

VERY GOOD THANKS !!!!!!!!!!!!

Perfectly simple tool and very efficient schemes

Huge! Thanks!

Dan Gross

Many thanks from my tired eyes


Exactly what I wanted and easy to use.

That is great. Thank you!

Toan Le

It's good to use, thanks for your contribution.


It is a wonderful tool. However, it doesn't apply the theme to live scrupt.

Very Nice YES Baby!


This broke "doc" on my MATLAB install. I got a "Dot indexing is not supported for variables of this type." each time I tried to run doc on a command, such as:
>>doc format
>>doc rand

Claims to change the GUI color (the first sentence) but doesn't. Otherwise great!



Amazing work!

Hirak Modi

Aochen Xiao

Thx!!! It's awesome!

Xuan Xiao


Seungjun Pi

Awesome!! Thanks!


Jeff Pankau


Thanks a lot! Does exactly what it says and themes are very nice.
@Shams No need to install, just download, unpack and open in MATLAB by running schemer_import as stated in the above documentation ;)

really useful for me!!!

sen ten

Hello Guys

I'm new to MathLab.
I want to install this add-app but I do not know how to do it.

Thanks in advance



Yang Lou

Finally there is someone who made this! I've been manually changing the theme to dark for 5 years but just didn't have the time for making this automatic... Thank you for doing this!

Andreas Berg

Chandra N

Scott Lowe

Hi Ngô Quang. 1. Download file. 2. Extract zip. 3. Open Matlab. 4. Navigate Matlab to the unzipped directory. 5. Run schemer_import. 6. In the dialogue box which appears, open the schemes folder. 7. Select a scheme from the list of .prf files in the schemes folder. 8. Click Open. 9. If you don't like this scheme and want to try another one or return to the default colours, repeat steps 5-9.

Ngô Quang

how to use when i have download

Ander Biguri

Tyler Cumby

Duc Truong

Thank you. This is cool.

Excelent module! Congratulations!

Arjun Roy

Great thing! Thanks!

Where should I put this file to?

Ander Biguri

While this certainly seems considerably more complicated: you think there is a way of also changing the colors of the scrollbar and other things that keep white after the schemmer is applied?





Great idea, thank You!

Henry Hunt

Good Stuff


Great tool, very refreshing. Would love to see more schemes.


Eric Miller

Baptiste P



Luke Osborn

wei du


Simply great. It was definitely missing in Matlab.

Muhamed Ali

Amazing. Thank you!

Jenne H



Adil Sbai

Nice job!

Wonderful, thanks mate!


great tool, thank you!

Lijia Zhang

Terry Jhon

Good Job! Is there any way to change the grey color scheme of the matlab gui (borders, scrollbars, ribbon, etc).

Mendi Barel

good job

Was looking for that for so long!


Fantastic. Thanks a lot

Yiyi Yan


Frank ZOU

Thanks a lot!



Fantastic, thank you!

Scott Lowe

Hi Jake. Unfortunately at the moment it is not possible to change the colours of the borders, ribbon, etc, present in the GUI. It would indeed be nice if you could reskin the whole GUI, not just the innards of the content windows. The only suggestion I can make is if you would rather not see the Toolstrip ribbon at all you can minimise it and add some buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar to use them there instead.

Jake Shea

Is there any way to change the grey color scheme of the matlab gui (borders, scrollbars, ribbon, etc). Would love them dark as well.

Lipeng Jiu


Vlad Maximov

Tim Hobbie

Good work. Exactly what I was looking for.

Huy Do

Awesome! Absolutely Awesome!




Simply perfect!


Awesome, made some tweaks to monokai theme to suit to my taste and it is looking great, thanks a bunch!

Geun Lee

I tried it and it's really great! Very very helpful, very easy to use. I liked the Cobalt theme the most. The community's eyes thank you!



Works like a charm, thanks a lot!


Fabio Assis

Very very good! Thank you for this amazing work.



Robert See

Brilliant, thank you Scott!



deniz unal

wonderful. love the cobalt theme.

Scott Lowe

Hi, Initial Conditions. You can disable current line highlighting in the MATLAB Preferences within the Editor/Debugger > Display panel. To use Schemer to reset boolean settings (such as whether to highlight the current line) in addition to the colour settings, you can run schemer_import('schemes/default.prf', true).

I've reverted back to default, but I have a strang issue: the line the cursor is on is now constantly highlighted, and I can't seem to get this unhighlighted (which is the default setting). Any ideas?

Having a darker theme is soooo much better and this script made changing effortless.


Easy to use. Now I have a good way to bring my preferred Matlab color scheme with me to new computers!

Shahab J

Arthur Dgn

Very easy to use, allowed me to share my color settings.





Great! Thank you! :)


Updates to VRML/X3DV
Exporting VRML settings with new VRMLX3DV preference name introduced in R2016a, to old VRML name.
Defaults for VRML now come from XML values, so syntax will automatically match for X3D (which is in XML format) and X3DV.

Add Monokai theme. Minor changes to backup colour inheritance.

Update Matrix, Dark Steel, and Solarized Light/Dark schemes.

Update Tango and Matrix schemes

Add links to color scheme screenshots.

Update schemes documentation and sources list

Updated logo to version 2.

Fixed a bug (issue #9) reported by @LoGGoL.
Bug made it impossible to export a color scheme without using the GUI, due to a mistake in the input handling.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2011a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

Inspired by: setupEmacsClassicColors, benhager/solarized-matlab