MATLAB is a high-performance language for technical computing. It integrates computation, visualization, and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation. Typical uses include

• Math and computation

• Algorithm development

• Data acquisition

• Modeling, simulation, and prototyping

• Data analysis, exploration, and visualization

• Scientific and engineering graphics

• Application development, including graphical user interface building.

MATLAB is an interactive system whose basic data element is an array that does not require dimensioning. This allows you to solve many technical computing problems, especially those with matrix and vector formulations, in a fraction of the time it would take to write a program in a scalar noninteractive language such as C or Fortran.

The name MATLAB stands for matrix laboratory. MATLAB was originally written to provide easy access to matrix software developed by the

LINPACK and EISPACK projects. Today, MATLAB engines incorporate the LAPACK and BLAS libraries, embedding the state of the art in software for matrix computation.

MATLAB has evolved over a period of years with input from many users. In university environments, it is the standard instructional tool for introductory and advanced courses in mathematics, engineering, and science. In industry, MATLAB is the tool of choice for high-productivity research, development, and analysis.


MATLAB features a family of add-on application-specific solutions called toolboxes. Very important to most users of MATLAB, toolboxes allow you to learn and apply specialized technology. Toolboxes are comprehensive

Collections of MATLAB functions (M-files) that extend the MATLAB environment to solve particular classes of problems. Areas in which toolboxes are available include signal processing, control systems, neural networks, fuzzy logic, wavelets, simulation, and many others.

The MATLAB System

The MATLAB system consists of five main parts:

Development Environment. This is the set of tools and facilities that help you use MATLAB functions and files. Many of these tools are graphical user interfaces. It includes the MATLAB desktop and Command Window, a command history, an editor and debugger, and browsers for viewing help, the workspace, files, and the search path.

The MATLAB Mathematical Function Library. This is a vast collection of computational algorithms ranging from elementary functions, like sum, sine, cosine, and complex arithmetic, to more sophisticated functions like matrix inverse, matrix eigenvalues, Bessel functions, and fast Fourier transforms.

The MATLAB Language. This is a high-level matrix/array language with control flow statements, functions, data structures, input/output, and object-oriented programming features. It allows both “programming in the small” to rapidly create quick and dirty throw-away programs, and “programming in the large” to create large and complex application programs

Graphics. MATLAB has extensive facilities for displaying vectors and matrices as graphs, as well as annotating and printing these graphs. It includes high-level functions for two-dimensional and three-dimensional data visualization,image processing, animation, and presentation graphics. It also includes low-level functions that allow you to fully customize the appearance of graphics as well as to build complete graphical user interfaces on your MATLAB applications.

The MATLAB Application Program Interface (API). This is a library that allows you to write C and Fortran programs that interact with MATLAB. It includes facilities for calling routines from MATLAB (dynamic linking), calling MATLAB as a computational engine, and for reading and writing MAT-files.

Starting and Quitting MATLAB

Starting MATLAB

On Windows platforms, start MATLAB by double-clicking the MATLAB shortcut icon on your Windows desktop.

Image result for matlab icon

On Mac OS X platforms, start MATLAB by double-clicking the MATLAB icon on your desktop.

On Linux platforms, start MATLAB by typing matlab at the operating system prompt.

You can customize MATLAB startup. For example, you can change the directory in which MATLAB starts or automatically execute MATLAB statements in a script file named startup.m.

Quitting MATLAB

To end your MATLAB session, select File -> Exit MATLAB in the desktop, or type quit in the Command Window. You can run a script file named finish.m each time MATLAB quits that, for example, executes functions to save the workspace, or displays a quit confirmation dialog box.

The following illustration shows the default desktop. You can customize the arrangement of tools and documents to suit your needs. For more information

MATLAB Desktop

When you start MATLAB, the MATLAB desktop appears, containing tools (graphical user interfaces) for managing files, variables, and applications associated with MATLAB.

Enter MATLAB functions at the Command Window prompt.

Matlab window

The Command History maintains a record of the MATLAB functions you ran.

Overview of MATLAB Plotting

MATLAB provides a wide variety of techniques to display data graphically. Interactive tools enable you to manipulate graphs to achieve results that reveal the most information about your data. You can also annotate and print graphs for presentations, or export graphs to standard graphics formats for presentation in web browsers or other media.

The Plotting Process

The process of visualizing data typically involves a series of operations. This section provides a “big picture” view of the plotting process and contains links to sections that have examples and specific details about performing each operation

Creating a Graph

The type of graph you choose to create depends on the nature of your data and what you want to reveal about the data. MATLAB predefines many graph types, such as line, bar, histogram, and pie graphs. There are also 3-D graphs, such as surfaces, slice planes, and streamlines.

There are two basic ways to create graphs in MATLAB:

• Use plotting tools to create graphs interactively.

• Use the command interface to enter commands in the Command Window or create plotting programs.

You might find it useful to combine both approaches. For example, you might issue a plotting command to create a graph and then modify the graph using one of the interactive tools.

Exploring Data

Once you create a graph, you can extract specific information about the data, such as the numeric value of a peak in a plot, the average value of a series of data, or you can perform data fitting.

Graph Components

MATLAB displays graphs in a special window known as a figure. To create a graph, you need to define a coordinate system. Therefore every graph is placed within axes, which are contained by the figure.

The actual visual representation of the data is achieved with graphics objects like lines and surfaces. These objects are drawn within the coordinate system defined by the axes, which MATLAB automatically creates specifically to accommodate the range of the data. The actual data is stored as properties of the graphics objects.

The following picture shows the basic components of a typical graph.

  • Figure window plays graphs.
  • Axes define a coordinate 
  • system for the graph
  • Line plot represents data


Getting Help In Matlab

Matlab provides very effective on-line help.

To get a list of all Matlab features, type:
>> help

To get information on a specific command e.g. conv, type:
>>help conv
This will display a short description on how to use the command.

To get a complete listing of the M-file of a specific feature/command e.g. conv , type:
>>type conv

For MAC users, there is an easier way to invoke the online help in Matlab.
(a) Select About Matlab ... from the Apple menu.
(b) A dialog box appears displaying a list of command groups. Double click on the group that contains the command you need help on.
(c) Double click on any command and a help message will be displayed.--*

Common Procedure

1. Click on the MATLAB Icon on the desktop.

2. MATLAB window open .

3. Click on the ‘FILE’ Menu on menu bar.

4. Click on NEW M-File from the file Menu.

5. An editor window open, start typing commands.

6. Now SAVE the file in directory.

7. Then Click on DEBUG from Menu bar and Click Run.

8. The Program Runs and we get the Output Graphs.