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Find Files

Simple Search for File Names

If you know the name of the file you want to find, begin typing the first characters of the name in the Current Folder browser. As you type, the Current Folder browser searches downward from the top of the window, looking through all expanded folders. To open the Current Folder browser if it is not open, on the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Layout. Then, under Show, select Current Folder.

Alternatively, to search for a series of characters anywhere in the name of a file:

  1. Click the search button in the Current Folder toolbar. The address bar becomes a search field.

  2. Type a portion of a file name. The asterisk character (*) is a wildcard. For example, to show only file names that begin with coll and have a .m extension, type coll*.m.

  3. Press Enter.

    MATLAB® displays all files within the current folder (including its subfolders) that match that file name. If you typed the full path to a folder, that folder becomes the current folder.

To clear the results and show all items in the current folder, press the Esc key.

In MATLAB Online™, to search for files in the current folder or in the current project, go to the Home tab and click the Go to File button.

Advanced Search for Files

To perform an advanced search for files, you can use the Find Files tool. Use the Find Files tool to:

  • Search for specific text in file names and within files

  • Include or exclude specified file types from your search

  • Search in specified folders

  • Exclude large files from your search

To open the Find Files tool, on the Home tab, in the File section, click Find Files. Enter your search criteria in the dialog box that opens.

Find Files tool with a search box for finding files by name and a search box for finding files by text

Use the Look in menu to specify the folders you want to search. Select Entire MATLAB Path to search all folders on the MATLAB search path. Alternatively, you can browse for a folder by selecting Browse... or you can enter the full path for one or more folders. Separate each path with a semicolon (;).

Click Find to begin the search. Search results appear in the right pane of the dialog box, with a summary at the bottom. For text searches, results include the line number and line of code. To see file locations, select Show full path names.

Open one or more files by right-clicking the files and selecting one of the Open options.

Include or Exclude File Types

You can search for files with only a specified extension, by selecting an option in the Include only file type(s) menu. For example, select *.m, *.mlx to limit the search to MATLAB program files.

To exclude some file types from the search:

  1. In the Include only file type(s) menu, select All files (*).

  2. Under More options, select the Skip file type(s) box and click Edit. The Edit Skipped File Extensions dialog box opens.

  3. Select the State check box for the file types to exclude from your search.

  4. Click OK to accept your changes.

You can remove any file extension from the list by selecting the extension to highlight it. Then, click Remove.

Search Within File

Under More options, you can choose to search file contents for a partial word. From the Search type menu, select Contains text. To find an exact full-word match, select Matches whole word.

Searching within large files can be time consuming. To speed up your search, specify a file size in the Skip files over field. The Find Files tool ignores files larger than the size you specify.


If the Find Files tool does not find the file you want, try the following:

  • When searching for file names, use the asterisk character (*) as a wildcard character to expand your search. For example, to show file names that begin with coll and have a .m extension, type coll*.m.

  • Select the Include Subfolders check box if the file might be in a subfolder.

  • If you select the Skip file type(s) check box, ensure that you do not exclude relevant file types from your search. Click Edit and review the Edit Skipped File Extensions dialog box. Ensure that relevant file types do not have the State check box selected.

Advanced Search in MATLAB Online

In MATLAB Online, you can search for and replace text in filenames and file content using the Find Files panel. To open the Find Files panel, click the Find Files icon in the sidebar. If the Find Files icon is not in the left or right sidebar, go to the Home tab, and in the File section, click Find Files.

Find Files tool with a search box, a replace box, and options to match the case of the search text, match the whole word, and filter results. The left sidebar of the MATLAB Online desktop shows the Find Files icon.

To change how the Find Files tool searches for text, select a search option:

  • Match case – Search only for text with the precise case of the search text.

  • Match whole word – Search only for exact full-word matches.

You also can use the Filters button to specify whether to search for file names or file content, what folders to search in, and what file types to include in the results.

To replace text in filenames and file content, click the expand button to the left of the search field to open the replace options. Then, to replace an instance of the search text in the results, select the line containing the result, enter the text that you want to replace the search text with, and click the Replace button. To replace all instances of the search text, click the Replace All button. Replacing text is supported in text files (.txt) and MATLAB code files (.m).

See Also

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