**MATLAB For Dummies** – If you work in a STEM field, chances are you’ll be using MATLAB on a daily basis. MATLAB is a popular and powerful computational tool and this book provides everything you need to start manipulating and plotting your data.

MATLAB has rapidly become the premier data tool, and *MATLAB For Dummies* is a comprehensive guide to the fundamentals. *MATLAB For Dummies* guides you through this complex computational language from installation to visualization to automation.

- Learn MATLAB’s language fundamentals including syntax, operators, and data types
- Understand how to use the most important window in MATLAB – the Command Window
- Get the basics of linear algebra to get up and running with vectors, matrices, and hyperspace
- Automate your work with programming scripts and functions
- Plot graphs in 2D and 3D to visualize your data
- Includes a handy guide for MATLAB’s functions and plotting routines

MATLAB is an essential part of the analysis arsenal and *MATLAB For Dummies* provides clear, thorough guidance to get the most out of your data.

Table of Contents

### From the Back Cover

*Learn to:*

- Work with this high-level language and problem-solving environment
- Use MATLAB to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models
- Develop numerical computations and plots
- Automate your work with scripts

**A complete and easy-to-use guide to the popular MATLAB software tool**

If you’re working in a STEM field, chances are you need to know MATLAB. Get up and running with MATLAB in a flash with this comprehensive, yet easy-to-use guide to one of the most popular computational tools on the market! Explore the software’s functionality and navigation as well as its extensive math functions, find out how to use advanced features, and much more!

- Dive right in — find out the basics of MATLAB, important knowledge on how to use it, and how to interact with this popular tool
- Manipulate data — get into the meat and potatoes of MATLAB by working with vectors, matrices, and higher dimensions
- Get streamlined — automate your work with scripts, expand on MATLAB’s built-in functions, and dive into conditional statements
- The sum of its parts — discover the practical parts of MATLAB, including details on saving, importing, exporting, printing, and publishing
- MATLAB applications — explore the specific MATLAB applications, solve equations and find roots, and get into linear algebra, calculus, and more
- Displaying the results — use MATLAB’s extensive collection of plots to see the results of your computations and present them in reports that communicate your ideas to others

**Open the book and find:**

- How MATLAB is used in STEM fields
- What you need to get started using MATLAB
- How to work with math syntax and MATLAB
- Tricks to starting, storing, and saving files
- Details on plotting data with 2D and 3D data
- Tips on automating your work in MATLAB
- Everything you need to know about control structures
- How to recover from the most common mistakes

## Table of Contents – MATLAB For Dummies

Introduction

About This Book

Foolish Assumptions

Icons Used in This Book

Beyond the Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I: Getting Started With MATLAB

Chapter 1: Introducing MATLAB and Its Many Uses

Putting MATLAB in Its Place

Understanding how MATLAB relates to a Turing machine

Using MATLAB as more than a calculator

Determining why you need MATLAB

Discovering Who Uses MATLAB for Real-World Tasks

Knowing How to Get the Most from MATLAB

Getting the basic computer skills

Defining the math requirements

Applying what you know about other procedural languages

Understanding how this book will help you

Getting Over the Learning Curve

Chapter 2: Starting Your Copy of MATLAB

Installing MATLAB

Discovering which platforms MATLAB supports

Getting your copy of MATLAB

Performing the installation

Activating the product

Meeting the MATLAB Interface

Starting MATLAB for the first time

Employing the Command window

Using the Current Folder toolbar

Viewing the Current Folder window

Changing the MATLAB layout

Chapter 3: Interacting with MATLAB

Using MATLAB as a Calculator

Entering information at the prompt

Entering a formula

Copying and pasting formulas

Changing the Command window formatting

Suppressing Command window output

Understanding the MATLAB Math Syntax

Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing

Working with exponents

Organizing Your Storage Locker

Using ans — the default storage locker

Creating your own storage lockers

Operating MATLAB as More Than a Calculator

Learning the truth

Using the built-in functions

Accessing the function browser

Recovering from Mistakes

Understanding the MATLAB error messages

Stopping MATLAB when it hangs

Getting Help – MATLAB For Dummies

Exploring the documentation

Working through the examples

Relying on peer support

Obtaining training

Requesting support from MathWorks

Contacting the authors

Chapter 4: Starting, Storing, and Saving MATLAB Files

Examining MATLAB’s File Structure

Understanding the MATLAB files and what they do

Exploring folders with the GUI

Exploring folders with commands

Working with files in MATLAB

Accessing and Sharing MATLAB Files

Opening

Importing

Exporting – MATLAB For Dummies

Saving Your Work

Saving variables with the GUI

Saving variables using commands

Saving commands with the GUI

Saving commands using commands

Part II: Manipulating and Plotting Data in MATLAB

Chapter 5: Embracing Vectors, Matrices, and Higher Dimensions

Working with Vectors and Matrices

Understanding MATLAB’s perspective of linear algebra

Entering data

Adding and Subtracting

Understanding the Many Ways to Multiply and Divide

Performing scalar multiplication and division

Employing matrix multiplication

Effecting matrix division

Creating powers of matrices

Working element by element

Using complex numbers

Working with exponents

Working with Higher Dimensions

Creating a multidimensional matrix

Accessing a multidimensional matrix

Replacing individual elements

Replacing a range of elements

Modifying the matrix size

Using cell arrays and structures

Using the Matrix Helps

Chapter 6: Understanding Plotting Basics

Considering Plots

Understanding what you can do with plots

Comparing MATLAB plots to spreadsheet graphs

Creating a plot using commands

Creating a plot using the Workspace window

Creating a plot using the Plots tab options

Using the Plot Function

Working with line color, markers, and line style

Creating multiple plots in a single command

Modifying Any Plot

Making simple changes

Adding to a plot – MATLAB For Dummies

Deleting a plot

Working with subplots

Plotting with 2D Information

Chapter 7: Using Advanced Plotting Features

Plotting with 3D Information

Using the bar() function to obtain a flat 3D plot

Using bar3() to obtain a dimensional 3D plot

Using barh() and more

Enhancing Your Plots

Getting an axes handle

Modifying axes labels

Adding a title

Rotating label text

Employing annotations

Printing your plot

Part III: Streamlining MATLAB

Chapter 8: Automating Your Work

Understanding What Scripts Do

Creating less work for yourself

Defining when to use a script

Creating a Script

Writing your first script

Using commands for user input

Copying and pasting into a script

Converting the Command History into a script

Continuing long strings

Adding comments to your script

Revising Scripts

Calling Scripts

Improving Script Performance

Analyzing Scripts for Errors

Chapter 9: Expanding MATLAB’s Power with Functions

Working with Built-in Functions

Learning about built-in functions

Sending data in and getting data out

Creating a Function

Understanding script and function differences

Understanding built-in function and custom function differences

Writing your first function

Using the new function

Passing data in

Passing data out – MATLAB For Dummies

Creating and using global variables

Using subfunctions

Nesting functions

Using Other Types of Functions

Inline functions

Anonymous functions

Chapter 10: Adding Structure to Your Scripts

Making Decisions

Using the if statement

Using the switch statement

Understanding the switch difference

Deciding between if and switch

Creating Recursive Functions

Performing Tasks Repetitively

Using the for statement

Using the while statement

Ending processing using break

Ending processing using return

Determining which loop to use

Creating Menus

Part IV: Employing Advanced MATLAB Techniques

Chapter 11: Importing and Exporting Data

Importing Data

Performing import basics

Importing mixed strings and numbers

Defining the delimiter types

Importing selected rows or columns

Exporting Data

Performing export basics

Exporting scripts and functions

Working with Images

Exporting images

Importing images

Chapter 12: Printing and Publishing Your Work

Using Commands to Format Text

Modifying font appearance

Using special characters

Adding math symbols

Publishing Your MATLAB Data

Performing advanced script and function publishing tasks

Saving your figures to disk

Printing Your Work

Configuring the output page

Printing the data

Chapter 13: Recovering from Mistakes

Working with Error Messages

Responding to error messages

Understanding the MException class

Creating error and warning messages

Setting warning message modes

Understanding Quick Alerts

Relying on Common Fixes for MATLAB’s Error Messages

Making Your Own Error Messages

Developing the custom error message

Creating useful error messages

Using Good Coding Practices

Part V: Specific MATLAB Applications

Chapter 14: Solving Equations and Finding Roots

Working with the Symbolic Math Toolbox

Obtaining your copy of the Toolbox

Installing the Symbolic Math Toolbox

Working with the GUI

Typing a simple command in the Command window

Performing Algebraic Tasks

Differentiating between numeric and symbolic algebra

Solving quadratic equations

Working with cubic and other nonlinear equations

Understanding interpolation

Working with Statistics – MATLAB For Dummies

Understanding descriptive statistics

Understanding robust statistics

Employing least squares fit

Chapter 15: Performing Analysis

Using Linear Algebra

Working with determinants

Performing reduction

Using eigenvalues

Understanding factorization

Employing Calculus

Working with differential calculus

Using integral calculus

Working with multivariate calculus

Solving Differential Equations

Using the numerical approach

Using the symbolic approach

Chapter 16: Creating Super Plots

Understanding What Defines a Super Plot

Using the Plot Extras

Using grid()

Obtaining the current axis using gca

Creating axis dates using datetick()

Creating plots with colorbar()

Interacting with daspect

Interacting with pbaspect

Working with Plot Routines

Finding data deviations using errorbar()

Ranking related measures using pareto()

Plotting digital data using stairs()

Showing data distribution using stem()

Drawing images using fill

Displaying velocity vectors using quiver()

Displaying velocity vectors using feather()

Displaying velocity vectors using compass()

Working with polar coordinates using polar()

Displaying angle distribution using rose()

Spotting sparcity patterns using spy()

Employing Animation

Working with movies

Working with objects

Performing data updates

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 17: Top Ten Uses of MATLAB

Engineering New Solutions

Getting an Education

Working with Linear Algebra

Performing Numerical Analysis

Getting Involved in Science

Engaging Mathematics

Exploring Research

Walking through a Simulation

Employing Image Processing

Embracing Programming Using Computer Science

Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Make a Living Using MATLAB

Working with Green Technology

Looking for Unexploded Ordinance

Creating Speech Recognition Software

Getting Disease under Control

Becoming a Computer Chip Designer

Keeping the Trucks Rolling

Creating the Next Generation of Products

Designing Equipment Used in the Field

Performing Family Planning

Reducing Risks Using Simulation

Appendix A: MATLAB Functions

Appendix B: MATLAB’s Plotting Routines

### Introduction – MATLAB For Dummies

MATLAB is an amazing product that helps you perform math-related tasks of all sorts using the same techniques that you’d use if you were performing the task manually (using pencil and paper, slide rule, or abacus if necessary, but more commonly using a calculator). However, MATLAB makes it possible to perform these tasks at a speed that only a computer can provide. In addition, using MATLAB reduces errors, streamlines many tasks, and makes you more efficient. However, MATLAB is also a big product that has a large number of tools and a significant number of features that you might never have used in the past. For example, instead of simply working with numbers, you now have the ability to plot them in a variety of ways that help you better communicate the significance of your data to other people. In order to get the most from MATLAB, you really need a book like MATLAB For Dummies.

## About This Book

The main purpose of MATLAB For Dummies is to reduce the learning curve that is a natural part of using a product that offers as much as MATLAB does. When you first start MATLAB, you might become instantly overwhelmed by everything you see. This book helps you get past that stage and become productive quickly so that you can get back to performing amazing feats of math wizardry. In addition, this book is designed to introduce you to techniques that you might not know about or even consider because you haven’t been exposed to them before.

For example, MATLAB provides a rich plotting environment that not only helps you communicate better, but also makes it possible to present numeric information in a manner that helps others see your perspective. Using scripts and functions will also reduce the work you do even further and this book shows you how to create custom code that you can use to customize the environment to meet your specific needs. After you’ve successfully installed MATLAB on whatever computer platform you’re using, you start with the basics and work your way up. By the time you finish working through the examples in this book, you’ll be able to perform a range of simple tasks in MATLAB that includes writing scripts, writing functions, creating plots, and performing advanced equation solving. No, you won’t be an expert, but you will be able to use MATLAB to meet specific needs in the job environment.

To make absorbing the concepts even easier, this book uses the following

conventions:

✓ Text that you’re meant to type just as it appears in the book is bold. The

exception is when you’re working through a step list: Because each step

is bold, the text to type is not bold.

✓ When you see words in italics as part of a typing sequence, you need to

replace that value with something that works for you. For example, if

you see “Type Your Name and press Enter,” you need to replace Your

Name with your actual name.

✓ Web addresses and programming code appear in monofont. If you’re

reading a digital version of this book on a device connected to the

Internet, note that you can click the web address to visit that website,

like this: http://www.dummies.com.

✓ When you need to type command sequences, you see them separated

by a special arrow like this: File➪New File. In this case, you go to the File

menu first and then select the New File entry on that menu. The result is

that you see a new file created.

### Foolish Assumptions – MATLAB For Dummies

You might find it difficult to believe that we’ve assumed anything about you — after all, we haven’t even met you yet! Although most assumptions are indeed foolish, we made these assumptions to provide a starting point for the book. It’s important that you’re familiar with the platform you want to use because the book doesn’t provide any guidance in this regard. (Chapter 2 does provide MATLAB installation instructions.) To provide you with maximum information about MATLAB, this book doesn’t discuss any platform-specific issues. You really do need to know how to install applications, use applications, and generally work with your chosen platform before you begin working with this book. This book isn’t a math primer. Yes, you see lots of examples of complex math, but the emphasis is on helping you use MATLAB to perform math tasks rather than learn math theory. Chapter 1 provides you with a better understanding of precisely what you need to know from a math perspective in order to use this book successfully. This book also assumes that you can access items on the Internet. Sprinkled throughout are numerous references to online material that will enhance your learning experience. However, these added sources are useful only if you actually find and use them.

### About the Author

**Jim Sizemore** is Professor of Physics and Engineering at Tyler Junior College. For over 25 years he’s worked in the semiconductor and software industries as a process engineer, device physicist, and software developer and has been teaching college physics, engineering, and math for the last 13 years. **John Paul Mueller** is a freelance author and a technical editor for both *Data Based Advisor* and *Coast Compute* magazines. He has produced 96 books and more than 300 articles to date and has been following MATLAB development for nearly a decade.