MATCAT - MAT-File Corruption Analysis Tool

Analyzes a MAT-File or .FIG file to try to determine why there was an error loading it in MATLAB.
Updated 1 Sep 2016

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MAT-File Corruption Analysis Tool (MATCAT) version 3, June 2005.

This tool is intended to be run within MATLAB 5 (R8) or later to determine whether a v5 MAT-File is corrupted. Currently only v5 MAT-Files are supported.

Usage example of how to use this function:
given a v5 MAT-File 'myfile.mat' which you want to know whether it is corrupted:

matcat myfile.mat
good = matcat('myfile.mat')

Return value:

0 = failure (bad v5 MAT-File)
1 = success (good v5 MAT-File)

Special note:

'v5' refers to version 5 of the MAT-File format, not the version of MATLAB itself.

The MAT-File format is documented here:

The version 5 MAT-File format has been in use starting in MATLAB version 5.0 (R8), November 1996, through the present MATLAB version 7 (R14sp2) and later.

Sample output:

>> matcat v5good.mat
MAT-File Corruption Analysis Tool (MATCAT) version 2, February 2005
file 'v5good.mat' opened successfully
numeric data in this MAT-File does not need to be endian-swapped when read on this computer
MAT-File header:
[MATLAB 5.0 MAT-file, Platform: PCWIN, Created on: Tue Feb 8 13:17:27 2005 ]
this MAT-File does not have subsystem data (not all MAT-Files have this)
128 byte v5 MAT-File header ok

variable 1 TAG: datatype_14 (MATRIX), data bytes: 96
byte: 232
variable 2 TAG: datatype_14 (MATRIX), data bytes: 64
byte: 304
variable 3 TAG: datatype_14 (MATRIX), data bytes: 48
byte: 360

MAT-File integrity check completed successfully for (v5good.mat), 3 variable(s) found

ans =



Cite As

John Aspinall (2024). MATCAT - MAT-File Corruption Analysis Tool (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R14SP1
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux
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Version Published Release Notes

Updated license

added instructions for fixing the common mat file corruption case in the matcat output