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How can I get more information on MATLAB?

  • If you know the name of the function you want help on you can use the matlab help command.
            >> help           % lists the names of all Directories in the
                              % MATLABPATH search path
            >> help dir_name  % lists contents of directory dir_name, if 
                              % dir_name is a directory in the MATLABPATH
                              % and contains a Contents.m file
            >> help fname     % Shows the help message for a particular function

    The command "more on" sets matlab to pause between screenfuls of text, rather than scrolling it beyond view. (Use spacebar to advance a page, RETURN to advance a line, "q" to exit from the item being displayed.) For example, typing "help fft" gives:

    >> help fft
     FFT    Discrete Fourier transform.
            FFT(X) is the discrete Fourier transform of vector X.  If the
            length of X is a power of two, a fast radix-2 fast-Fourier
            transform algorithm is used.  If the length of X is not a
            power of two, a slower non-power-of-two algorithm is employed.
            FFT(X,N) is the N-point FFT, padded with zeros if X has less
            than N points and truncated if it has more.
            If X is a matrix, the FFT operation is applied to each column.
            See also IFFT, FFT2, IFFT2, FFTSHIFT.
  • If you are unsure of the function name, you can try to find the name using the Matlab "lookfor" command. This command does a keyword search on the first comment line of each .m file in the MATLABPATH, and may take some time to finish. (The switch "-all" can be used to search through the entire first comment block, but this will lengthen the search.) For example
            >> lookfor cartesian
    	CART2POL Transform Cartesian to polar coordinates.
    	CART2SPH Transform Cartesian to spherical coordinates.
    	POL2CART Transform polar to Cartesian coordinates.
    	SPH2CART Transform spherical to Cartesian coordinates.
  • The MathWorks' web-based "Help Desk" includes a full documentation set in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, a searchable command index, and links to other information. It can be started from matlab:
          >> helpdesk 

    or from Athena

          athena% add matlab; matlabdoc 

    and it will open up in your web browser.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 18, 2009

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