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Evaluate MATLAB expression



eval(expression) evaluates the MATLAB® code in expression.


Security Considerations: When calling eval with untrusted user input, validate the input to avoid unexpected code execution. Examples of untrusted user input are data coming from a user you might not know or from a source you have no control over. If you need to address this concern, consider these approaches:

  • Validate inputs to eval. First, search for allowed operations. Then, if you find other operations, disallow execution.

  • Replace eval with an alternative. For more information, see Alternatives to the eval Function.

Performance Considerations: In most cases, using the eval function is also less efficient than using other MATLAB functions and language constructs, and the resulting code can be more difficult to read and debug. Consider using an alternative to eval.


[output1,...,outputN] = eval(expression) returns the outputs from expression in the specified variables.


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Use eval to evaluate and plot the expression magic(5).

Z = eval('magic(5)');

Input Arguments

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Expression to evaluate, specified as a character vector or string scalar. expression must be a valid MATLAB expression and must not include any MATLAB keywords. To determine whether a word is a MATLAB keyword, use the iskeyword function.

Example: eval('magic(5)')

Output Arguments

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Outputs from evaluated expression, returned as any MATLAB data type.


  • If you use eval within an anonymous function, nested function, or function that contains a nested function, the evaluated expression does not create any variables.


  • To allow the MATLAB parser to perform stricter checks on your code and avoid untrapped errors and other unexpected behaviors, do not include output arguments in the input to the eval function. For example, the statement eval(['output = ',expression]) is not recommended.

    Instead, specify output arguments to the eval function to store the results of the evaluated expression. For example:

      output = eval(expression)

Compatibility Considerations

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Behavior changed in R2021a

Introduced before R2006a