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Why does the help window cause MATLAB to hang, and why do right-click and Ctrl+C not work in the help window?

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Hi, I am having trouble with two bugs in the MATLAB help (documentation) window. I am using Windows 8.1 64bit and MATLAB 2013b 64bit. These bugs does not appear in Windows 7.
  1. In the help window, whenever I press Ctrl+F, the whole MATLAB program semi-freeze. The core (command and editor window) will still run but the GUI (tabs and toolbars) won't respond to mouse clicks.
  2. Right click does not work in help window. It is supposed to pop up the right-click menu, but it doesn't. Nor does it copy text when press Ctrl+C.
Could any Windows 8.1 user confirm the same problems?
texas instruments
texas instruments on 27 Jan 2014
now i got win8.1, win8 with 2013b, the documentation doesn't have any display problem but I CAN'T COPY ANY THING FROM IT
Thomas on 27 Feb 2014
Downgrading IE sounds okay until a windows update runs. Anyway, I use chrome because IE (i don't even know which version) was a festering pile.

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Accepted Answer

Laura on 11 Dec 2013
Hi, MathWorker here!
The broken behaviors of Ctrl+F and Ctrl+C in the MATLAB help browser are unfortunately due to a compatibility issue with certain versions of Internet Explorer, in particular IE11 and sometimes IE10. Downgrading your version of Internet Explorer to IE9, which MATLAB R2013b was tested more extensively on, is one way of working around the issue.
You can also work around the Ctrl+C issue by using Ctrl+Insert and Shift+Insert to copy and paste text.
Our documentation can also be accessed via the web from here:
I apologize greatly for the inconvenience! The developers for the Help browser are aware of the issue and actively working on a solution.
Ronald on 17 Jan 2014
Use these steps to downgrade to IE10:
  • Go to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and features
  • Go to Windows Features and disable Internet Explorer 11
  • Then click on Display installed updates
  • Search for Internet explorer
  • Right-click on Internet Explorer 11 > Uninstall
  • Reboot
Now the right-clicking and ctrl-c are working again in the help browser.
Amro on 27 Jan 2014
Edited: Amro on 27 Jan 2014
While working, I had Visual Studio attached to the MATLAB process (I was debugging a MEX-file), and I noticed several lines in the debug window of the form:
First-chance exception at 0x00007FFC4859AB78 in MATLAB.exe: Microsoft C++ exception: Js::JavascriptExceptionObject at memory location 0x0000000144023910.
This shows up every time I right-click inside the MATLAB help browser. So it's obviously a Javascript bug coming from the embedded IE browser. I believe MATLAB uses the JxBrowser library to integrate browsers into Java apps, probably an older version though since the current 4.x uses the Chromium engine on all platforms.
This begs the question, is there a way to switch the underlying browser engine used by MATLAB on Windows from IE to say Gecko/Mozilla? That might be a better workaround as opposed to downgrading IE for the whole system! I can see the necessary JAR files already present in the installation folder $matlabroot/java/jarext/jxbrowser ...

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More Answers (3)

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 1 Nov 2013
It's not listed as one of the bugs they know about yet.

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Mu Lin
Mu Lin on 19 Nov 2013
Edited: Mu Lin on 19 Nov 2013
Yes, you cannot copy-paste, but have you tried dragging lines into scripts? Hope this helps you out.

Moshe Bouhnik
Moshe Bouhnik on 17 Sep 2015
What about the hang problem? I have similar issue with ubuntu 12.04, and Matlab 2015a. Whenever I open the help window, and try to get back to the command window, matlab stop responding for about 30 sec. It is very annoying. Moshe
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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 17 Sep 2015
Again, call them because we volunteers can't know how to solve every possible issue, so what did they tell you when you called them? I/we most likely can't improve over what they've told you. If they don't know how to solve it, then nobody will.

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