MATLAB Release Notes    

Development Environment Features

MATLAB 6.5 adds the following development environment features and enhancements.

JVM Version

On the Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Macintosh platforms, MATLAB uses Java Virtual Machine 1.3.1. Other platforms that support Java continue to use the JVM version they used for Release 12. To see the Java version that MATLAB uses, type

The HP-UX and IBM platforms do not support Java-based graphical user interfaces in MATLAB, and related products that rely on Java are not available on these platforms. See Platform Limitations for details.


The toolbox path caching preference is on by default. This can result in significantly faster startup when MATLAB runs over a network or when you have many toolboxes. You will not see the improvement the first time you run MATLAB 6.5, but will after that. If you add or remove files and directories from $matlabroot/toolbox directories, you may need to update the cache. For details, see Toolbox Path Caching in the Development Environment documentation.


Start Button.   Click the Start button, , located in the lower left corner of the desktop, to readily access common MATLAB tools and features. It offers capabilities similar to those in the Launch Pad.

Status Bar.   The status bar in the desktop now indicates the current state of MATLAB operations. For example, a Busy message appears while MATLAB is running an M-file.

New Profiler.   Use the new Profiler graphical interface to assess your M-files so you can make changes to improve their performance. Select View -> Profiler from the desktop, or type profile viewer. The Profiler helps you take advantage of the new performance improvements that are part of the JIT Accelerator for MATLAB. For details, see The Profiler in the MATLAB Programming and Data Types documentation.

The new Profiler is based on the results returned by the profile function. You can still use the profile and profreport functions as you used them in Release 12.1.

Check for Updates.   From the Web menu, select Check for Updates. A dialog box appears, listing the versions for all MathWorks products installed on your system. Click Check for Updates in the dialog box, which accesses the MathWorks Web site to determine if more recent versions are available.

Access MATLAB Central.   From the Web menu, select MATLAB Central to access a page on the MathWorks Web site for exchanging M-files with other users and for accessing the comp-sys.soft.matlab Usenet newsgroup.

Change Current Directory.   On UNIX platforms, you can now change the current directory field in the desktop toolbar using the ... button to browse for the directory.

Apply Preferences.   There is now an Apply button in the Preferences dialog box. When you click Apply, the preference change is made, but the dialog box remains open. This allows you to more easily experiment with changes to preferences.

Command Window

Find Feature.   To find a term in the Command Window, select Edit -> Find. The Find dialog appears, in which you can enter a term and look for the previous or next occurrence.

Incremental Search.   This is similar to the Emacs incremental search feature. In the Command Window, press Ctrl+S (or Ctrl+Shift+S for Windows key bindings) to display an incremental search field. Type a string in the field and the next occurrence of that string in the Command Window is highlighted. For more about this feature, see Incremental Search in the Development Environment documentation.

Hyperlinks to Run Functions.   A new feature, matlab:, creates a hyperlink for specified text, which when clicked, runs the specified function. For example,

displays the link

in the Command Window. When the user clicks the "Generate magic square" link, MATLAB runs magic(4). Use this feature, for example, with the disp or fprintf functions.

Printing.   You can now specify options for printing from the Command Window, such as including a header and printing line numbers. Select File -> Page Setup to set options. For more information, see "Page Setup Options for Printing" in the MATLAB documentation.

Preferences.   There are new Command Window preferences for Keyboard and Indenting:

For details on the new preferences, see "Keyboard and Indenting Preferences" in the Development Environment documentation.

Open Selection.   While in the Command Window, you can select text, right-click, and select Open selection. This runs the open function for the item you selected so that it opens in the appropriate tool. For example, you can open a variable in the Workspace browser, or open a file or function in the Editor. If no tool exists for the selected item, Open selection calls edit.

Command History

Printing.   You can print the contents of the Command History and specify various printing options, such as including a header and printing line numbers. From the Command History window, select File -> Page Setup to set options. For more information, see "Page Setup Options for Printing" in the MATLAB documentation.

Find Feature.   To find a term in the Command History, select Edit -> Find. The Find dialog appears, in which you can enter a term and look for the previous or next occurrence.

Autosave Command History.   The Command History is automatically saved to a file on a regular basis. Specify options for what is saved and how often using Command History preferences. For details, see "Command History Preferences" in the Development Environment documentation.

Workspace Browser

You can rename a variable in the Workspace browser by right-clicking it and selecting Rename from the context menu. You can also select and copy variables in the Workspace browser, which puts their names (comma separated) onto the clipboard. You can then paste the names, for example, into the Command Window.

If you copy data from another application to the clipboard, use Ctrl+V in the Workspace browser to import the data to MATLAB using the Import Wizard.

Set Path

In the Set Path dialog box, you can now select multiple directories to remove from or to move within the path.

Current Directory Browser

Find M-Files Only.   There are two new Look in options in the Find dialog box. Use them to limit the search in the current directory or in the entire MATLAB path to find only M-files.

Deleted Files to Recycle Bin.   On Windows platforms, files you delete while using the Current Directory browser go to the Recycle Bin. You can by bypass the Recycle Bin by using Shift+Delete.

Change Current Directory.   For UNIX platforms, you can now change the current directory field in the Current Directory browser toolbar using the ... button to browse for the directory.

Changes Automatically Update Display.   When you make changes to the current directory outside of MATLAB, the changes are automatically reflected in the Current Directory browser display. You do not have to select Refresh to show the changes.

File Operations

Following are functions that are new or have changed since the previous release. For more information, type doc functionname.

New or Changed
The writable argument has been superseded by the f argument, although writable is still allowed for MATLAB 6.5. The function now also copies directories. It replaces the destination files or directories with the same name as the source files or directories without a warning--in previous versions, there was a warning in that event. If the destination files or directories are read-only and the f (or writable) argument is not used, copyfile will fail.
Set or get attributes of file or directory. The fileattrib function is like the DOS attrib command and the UNIX chmod command.
Modified the message status--mkdir no longer returns 2 if the directory already exists, but instead displays a warning. It also has an enhanced return format.
Move file or directory. Can also be used to rename a file or directory.
Remove directory, and optionally its contents as well.
For Windows users, allows you to open a file in the appropriate application, as if you double-clicked it in Windows Explorer.

Array Editor

Spreadsheet Behavior.   You can now select and delete columns. You can cut, copy, paste, and delete cells. You can also exchange cells with Microsoft Excel via the operating system clipboard using these features.

You can set a preference to specify where the cursor moves to when you press Enter. For more about these enhancements, see the "Array Editor in the Development Environment documentation.

Greater Number of Elements.   The Array Editor can now show arrays with more than 10,000 elements. It does not support arrays with more than 65,536 (2^16) elements.


Column Number, Line Number, and Current Function/Subfunction.   In the Editor status bar, you can see the column number, line number, and function or subfunction for the current cursor location. When the Editor is docked in the desktop, the information appears in the desktop status bar.

Autosave Files.   Files you change in the Editor are now automatically saved to a backup file on a regular basis. Use File -> Preferences -> Editor/Debugger -> Autosave to specify autosave options. For more information, see "Autosave" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Incremental Search.   This is similar to the Emacs incremental search feature. Press Ctrl+S (or Ctrl+Shift+S for Windows key bindings) to display an incremental search field. Type a string in the field and the next occurrence of that string in the current file is highlighted. For more about this feature, see "Incremental Search" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Find Previous.   You can find the previous occurrence of a string in a file by using Edit -> Find Previous after using any of the other Edit -> Find menu items.

Comment Formatting.   You can specify a preference for the maximum width of comment lines and then apply that maximum to selected lines. You can also specify a preference to automatically wrap comment lines when they reach the maximum width. For more about this feature, see "M-file Comment Formatting" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Preferences for Parentheses Matching.   There are new preferences for parentheses matching. The Editor/Debugger alerts you to matches and mismatches in pairs of delimiters, that is, in parentheses ( ), brackets [ ], and braces { }, based upon MATLAB language syntax rules. For more information, see "Parentheses Matching Preferences" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Printing Options.   You can specify options for printing a file from the Editor, for example, including a header, by using File -> Page Setup. For more information, see Page Setup Options for Printing in the MATLAB documentation.

Invalid Breakpoints.   When breakpoints are invalid, they appear gray instead of red. Breakpoints are invalid if there are unsaved changes or if there is a syntax error in the file. The breakpoints become valid when you save the file or when you fix the syntax error and save the file. For more information, see "Valid and Invalid Breakpoints" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Cannot Save in Debug Mode.   You cannot save changes to an M-file while in debug mode. First quit debug mode and then save the file.

Integrated Text Editor Preference.   If you install EmacsLink, a tool that allows you to debug M-files from the Emacs editor, you can specify an Editor/Debugger preference to use Emacs and EmacsLink for your default editing and debugging tools. For more information, see "Integrated Text Editor" in the Editor/Debugger documentation.

Wider and Resizable Line Number Column.   You can view line numbers that contain up to nine digits. Drag the separator bar to the right of the line number column to make the column narrower or wider, allowing you to save space or see more digits.

Subfunctions Listed Alphabetically.   When you click the function button on the toolbar, the subfunctions are listed alphabetically. Previously they were listed in the order that they appeared in the M-file.

Open Selection.   In an open M-file, the Open Selection feature has been enhanced. You can now jump from a subfunction call to the subfunction code within the current function M-file. To use this feature, select a subfunction call in an M-file, right-click, and select Open Selection from the context menu (or select Open Selection from the File menu). The Editor scrolls to that subfunction in the M-file. If that subfunction does not exist in the file, the open function runs for the selected item, so that it opens in the appropriate tool. For example, you can open a variable in the Workspace browser, or open another file or function in the Editor. If no tool exists for the selected item, Open selection looks for a matching file in a private directory in the current directory.

Default Directory in Open Dialog Box and for New Files.   The Open dialog box now opens to the MATLAB current directory. However, if you access the Open dialog box from the Editor, it opens to the directory for the current file in the Editor. When you create a new file, it is located in the MATLAB current directory.

Bookmark Support for All File Types..   You can include bookmarks in any file type. Previously you could include bookmarks only in M-files.

New and Discontinued Features in edit Function.   There is a new form of the edit function, edit fun1 fun2 fun3 ..., which opens all of the specified files in the default editor.

No longer supported are edit fun1 in fun2 and edit fun(a,b,c).

Save Not Available.   Save is only available if a file has been changed. If there are no unsaved changes in a file, you can still use Save As, but you cannot use Save.

Help and Help Browser

Demos.   To access demonstrations for all the MathWorks products you have installed, use the new Demos tab in the Help browser. For more information, see "Running Demonstrations" in the Development Environment documentation.

Boolean Operators in Search.   In the Help browser Search pane, you can include the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT between terms you enter in the Search field. The operators must be in all capital letters and there must be a space before and after each operator.

For example, type print OR printing AND figure NOT exporting to find all pages that contain the words print and figure, or printing and figure, but only if the page does not contain the word exporting. At the top of the results list are any pages that contain all the AND and OR words in page titles.

Changes to Search Term Highlights.   When you perform a search and select a resulting page to view, each word in the search term appears highlighted in a different color in the page. To clear the highlights, click the reload button in the Help browser toolbar.

Setting the Documentation Location.   You can now set the location where help files are stored (called the Documentation location in Help preferences) using the docroot function. You can include a docroot command in an M-file, such as a startup.m file.

Open Link in New Window.   To open a linked page in a separate Help browser window, press Alt and right-click the link, or click the middle mouse button.

Visited Links.   Visited links usually appear in a different color than unvisited links.

Print Range of Pages.   When you print from the Help browser, the Pages field in the Print dialog box now shows the total number of printed pages required for the currently displayed page and lets you specify which of those pages to print.

Document Type Icons..   Icons at the top two levels of the Contents pane indicate the type of document so you can quickly find a particular document type in the listing. For example, getting started documentation is represented by (a green arrow), and function and blockset reference documentation are represented by (orange pages).

Release Notes Location.   Release notes for a product are now listed with that product in the Contents pane.

CD-ROMs for Documentation.   For Windows platforms, there are now two CD-ROMS for documentation. To read PDF documentation from the CD-ROM, use the PDF Documentation CD.

Source Control

This release features expanded source control capabilities on PC platforms. You can interface to your source control system from by using MATLAB, Simulink, or Stateflow menus, or by using functions from the MATLAB Command Window.

The available source control system interface operations on PC platforms are


Word Macros.   Newer versions of Word have macro security features that might impact your use of Notebook. For details, see "Configuring Notebook" in the Development Environment documentation.

Word Versions Supported.   Word for Office 2000 and 2002 (Office XP) are now supported. Word for Office 95 is no longer supported.

Using setup Option.   The setup option is now easier to use. After running notebook -setup, you are prompted for your Windows version. The function performs all the remaining configuration with no additional input required from you. Only if the setup cannot find the files needed will you be prompted for additional information.


Demos.   View and run demos via the new Demos pane in the Help browser. For platforms that do not support Java, run the demo command, which opens the Release 12.1 demo interface, and then follow instructions to access the demo files.

New perl Function.   A new function, perl, calls the Perl script specified by the file perlfile using the appropriate Perl executable.

New Startup Option.   There is a new startup option, -logfile log. It makes a copy of any output to the Command Window in the file log, including any crash reports.


New Functions for Exchanging Files with the Internet.   MATLAB provides a set of functions for exchanging files with the Internet. These are URL, ZIP, and e-mail functions.

File Format Support.   The following table lists new import and export functions and highlights changes to existing functions.

This new function converts a MATLAB date number or date string into the format supported by the Common Data Format (CDF).
This new function supports writing data from MATLAB into Common Data Format (CDF) files.
The imfinfo function can now return information about Sun Raster image (RAS) files. In addition, when used with JPEG files, imfinfo now returns any comments that may be included in the graphics file. These comments are returned in the comment field as a cell array.
This new function eases the task of adding read and write support for new file formats.
The imread function can now read Sun Raster image (RAS) files and files over the internet.
The imwrite function now supports two new formats: Sun Raster image (RAS) and PNM. PNM is not a file format but represents three other image formats, PBM, PGM, and PPM. When you specify PNM, imwrite chooses one of these three formats based on the contents of the data. In addition, imwrite supports the JPEG-specific parameter comment, in which you can specify any comment you want included in a JPEG file.
This new function supports importing data from files that contain data divided into multiple bands, sometimes called raw files.
This new function supports writing multidimensional arrays from MATLAB to a file in multiband format.

MATLAB HDF Import Tool.   MATLAB 6.5 includes a new graphical user interface for importing data from an HDF or HDF-EOS files. This tool provides a graphical view of the data sets and metadata in an HDF file and lets you import selected data sets from the file by clicking a button.

  MATLAB 6.5 Release Notes Mathematics Features