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Files and Folders That MATLAB Accesses

Where Does MATLAB Look for Files?

When you do not specify a path to a file, MATLAB® looks for the file in the current folder or on the search path. Functions in the current folder take precedence over functions with the same file name that reside anywhere on the search path. To identify the current folder, type pwd in the Command Window.

To make files accessible to MATLAB, do one of the following:

  • Change the current folder to the folder that contains the files. Use the cd function or browse to a different folder in the Current Folder toolbar:

    Current Folder toolbar showing the path to the current folder

  • Add the folder that contains the files to the search path. Changes you make to the search path apply to the current MATLAB session. To reuse the modified search path in future MATLAB sessions, save your changes.

  • Store individual files in the userpath MATLAB folder, which is on the search path. To determine the location of this folder, run the userpath function.

Files and Folders You Should Add to the Search Path

The MATLAB search path should include:

  • Folders containing files that you run.

  • Folders containing files that are called by files you run.

  • Subfolders containing files that you run. Making a folder accessible does not make its subfolders accessible.

For files in @ (class) and + (namespace) folders, make the parent folder accessible. For details, see Folders Containing Class Definitions.

If files call other files that are in multiple folders, determine the location of all the called files by performing a dependency analysis on your files. For more information, see Dependencies Within a Folder

When Multiple Files Have the Same Name

Name conflicts arise when MATLAB has access to multiple files with the same name, and when a file has the same name as a variable in the base workspace or a built-in function for a MathWorks® product.

When there are name conflicts, MATLAB follows these precedence rules:

The file that MATLAB does not use is called a shadowed file. In some cases, MATLAB warns you that a shadowed file exists.

Locations of MathWorks Products

Files and folders for products provided by MathWorks are in matlabroot/toolbox. The files and folders under matlabroot are important to your installation. In particular:

  • Do not store your personal files and folders in matlabroot/toolbox.

  • Do not change files, folders, and subfolders in matlabroot/toolbox. The exception is the pathdef.m file, which you can update and save in its default location, matlabroot/toolbox/local.

To see a list of all toolbox folder names supplied with MathWorks products, run:


See Also

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