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matlab (Windows)

Start MATLAB program from Windows system prompt


matlab starts the MATLAB® program from the Microsoft® Windows® system prompt. In this topic the term matlab refers to the command you type, and MATLAB refers to the program.

The matlab command:

  • Determines the MATLAB root folder, the value returned by the matlabroot function.

  • Processes command-line options and passes other options to MATLAB.

To capture the exit code, start MATLAB with the -wait option.


matlab option1 ... optionN starts MATLAB with the specified startup options.

Input Arguments

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One or more startup options, specified as strings corresponding to valid startup options from the following tables.

Display Options


Disable the display of figure windows in MATLAB.


Do not display the splash screen during startup.

Set Initial Working Folder

The initial working folder is the current folder when MATLAB starts. For more information, see MATLAB Startup Folder.


-sd folder

Set the MATLAB folder to folder, specified as a string.

Example: matlab -sd "C:\work"


Set the MATLAB folder to the value specified by the Initial working folder preference, located in the General Preferences page of the Preferences Window.

Debugging Options


-logfile filename

Copy Command Window output, including error log reports, in to filename, specified as a string.

Example: -logfile output.log

-jdb portnumber

Enable use of the Java® debugger. The Java debugger uses the default portnumber value 4444 to communicate with MATLAB.

The port number is optional. However, to use the Java debugger while running multiple MATLAB sessions, you must provide a port number. The portnumber value must be an integer in the range 0–65535. The integer cannot be reserved or currently in use by another application on your system.

Execute MATLAB Script or Function


-batch statement

Execute MATLAB script, statement, or function non-interactively. MATLAB:

  • Starts without the desktop

  • Does not display the splash screen

  • Executes statement

  • Disables changes to preferences

  • Disables toolbox caching

  • Logs text to stdout and stderr

  • Does not display modal dialog boxes

  • Exits automatically with exit code 0 if statement executes successfully. Otherwise, MATLAB terminates with a non-zero exit code.

statement is MATLAB code enclosed in double quotation marks. If statement is the name of a MATLAB function or script, do not specify the file extension. Any required file must be on the MATLAB search path or in the startup folder.

Use the -batch option in non-interactive scripting or command line work flows. Do not use this option with the -r option.

To test if a session of MATLAB is running in batch mode, call the batchStartupOptionUsed function.

Example: -batch "myscript"

-r statement

Execute the MATLAB statement. Use this option for interactive work flows. Do not use this option with the -batch option.


To set the initial working folder, use the -sd option. For example:

-sd folder

Example: -r "disp(['Current folder: ' pwd])"

Example: -r "myscript"

Use Single Computational Thread

By default, MATLAB uses the multithreading capabilities of the computer on which it is running.


Limit MATLAB to a single computational thread. This option is for numerical computations only.

Disable Searching Custom Java Class Path


Disable use of javaclasspath.txt and javalibrarypath.txt files. For more information, see Specifying Java Startup Options.

OpenGL Library Options

These options control the use of software OpenGL® libraries when MATLAB detects a graphics driver with known issues. For more information, see Graphics Features That Have Specific Requirements.


Force MATLAB to start with software OpenGL libraries.


Disable auto-selection of OpenGL software.

COM Server Options



Start MATLAB as a Component Object Model (COM) Automation server. MATLAB does not display the splash screen and minimizes the window. Use for a single call to MATLAB.


Register MATLAB as a COM server in the Windows registry.

You must have administrator privileges to change the Windows registry. Based on your User Account Control (UAC) settings, you might need to right-click a Windows Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. If that option is not available, contact your system administrator.

Alternatively, you can register MATLAB from the MATLAB command prompt. Type:


For more information, see Register MATLAB as COM Server and regmatlabserver.


Remove MATLAB COM server entries from the registry.

Wait for MATLAB to Terminate

By default, when you call the matlab command from a script, the command starts MATLAB and then immediately executes the next statements in the script. The -wait option pauses the script until MATLAB terminates.



Use in a script to process the results from MATLAB. Calling MATLAB with this option blocks the script from continuing until the results are generated.

Specify License File

For more information, see Network License Files.


-c license

Use the License File, license, specified as a string, a semicolon-separated list of license file names, or a port@host entry. If specifying multiple files, separate the names by semicolons and enclose the entire list in quotation marks. If the path to your license file contains a space, enclose the path name in quotation marks.

Example: -c "c:\TMW license\license_agreement.txt"

Help Options


Display options without starting MATLAB.


Same as -h option.


Same as -h option.


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matlab -nosplash 
matlab -logfile output.log

To return an exit status on the command line, start MATLAB with the -wait option.

From the operating system prompt, type:

matlab -wait


Compatibility Considerations

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Not recommended starting in R2019a