How to learn MATLAB
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Matt Tearle on 15 Apr 2016
In addition to the online learning options Andreas mentioned, you can also get started in MATLAB by taking the free MATLAB Onramp. It teaches you the basics of MATLAB interactively -- you actually try out the MATLAB code and you see the results and feedback to help you.
Andreas Goser on 10 Feb 2011
Edited: Rena Berman on 9 Nov 2018
There are many options I can recommend.
IMHO, nothing can beat a real professional training. That is highly efficient and effective.
But you said you like to learn from home, so here are some ideas I can recommend:
Sean on 11 Feb 2011
I would respectfully disagree with Andreas about formal Matlab training. In my experience a training is extremely expensive and does not offer much that you cannot get by reading the documentation. In fact, in addition to reading, nothing has helped me learn Matlab more than doing small experiments at the command line and incrementally building on what I discover.
I would also suggest reading the CSSM newsgroup. Usually I do not even need to post a new question. Almost invariably, if what I need is not in the documentation (meaning there is not already an existing built-in solution--a remarkably rare occurrence) then someone has asked a similar question on CSSM. You can learn so much from the way others attack a technical problem.
Igor on 11 Feb 2011
In fact, in addition to reading, nothing has helped me learn Matlab more than doing small experiments at the command line and incrementally building on what I discover.
And excelent help-system with "Getting Started"!
Bjorn Gustavsson on 11 Feb 2011
In addition to the other suggestions, may I suggest that you should also look through the matlab demos. There you get good examples of how a wide range of problems are solved. That way you can also focus on the type of problems that interest you at the moment, or just give yourself a very wide overview of what is possible. It will teach you plenty of good habits too. This in combination with experimenting and doodling (with lots of help of matlab's help function!) should get you going.
John D'Errico on 1 Mar 2018
Edited: John D'Errico on 1 Mar 2018
My own take on learning MATLAB is to use it. Play with it. Try things out. If you don't know how something works, then read the help. (Doc is more complete than help.)
If you are really just getting started, then the getting started tutorials are a good thing to read.
A good resource is to use help on a directory name. For example, the matrix functions are found in the matfun directory. So try this in the command window:
matrix functions - numerical linear algebra.
bandwidth - Matrix bandwidth.
isbanded - Determine whether a matrix has certain bandwidth.
isdiag - Determine whether a matrix is diagonal.
ishermitian - Determine whether a matrix is Hermitian.
issymmetric - Determine whether a matrix is symmetric.
istril - Determine whether a matrix is lower triangular.
istriu - Determine whether a matrix is upper triangular.
norm - Matrix or vector norm.
vecnorm - Vector norm.
normest - Estimate the matrix 2-norm.
rank - Matrix rank.
Lots more will appear. If a function interests you, and you think it may prove useful. Click on the name. Each function name is a link to the help for that function.
Now do the same thing for other directories.
You can also go into the doc tools like this, using
So as you are getting started, EXPLORE MATLAB. Wander around. Poke your head into things. Try out any demos you may find.
As you get more sophisticated, you can try things like Cody, found on MATLAB Central. This will drive you to solve simple problems. Be careful though, because Cody can teach you some bad habits too to try to super-optimize your code to be as short as possible. Ultra-short code is rarely truly good code, as it can be difficult to read.
Other things you can do are to try to solve problems from external sources. For example Project Euler has some fascinating problems, some of which are truly difficult. With only moderate effort, you should be able to get through at least a hundred or so. (When last I checked, my personal count of problems solved was up over 300 or so, so many problems there are eminently doable.)
Other things you can do are to read Answers. You can learn a lot by reading advice from experts with the language.
If others that you work with also use MATLAB, other students, etc., then talk with them.
In fact, I learned MATLAB by using it, by working with others who used it on the same types of problems I needed to solve.
Remember that different people learn differently. Some will be best off reading a good book on the subject. There are lots of them out there. Personally, I'd just look online and read the reviews for any book that caught my eye. No matter what, you will want to get your hands dirty. Try things out.
Finally, always remember that advice you get from online can be suspect, just as advice you get from your friends at work or school. Not all users are experts.
Matt Fig on 11 Feb 2011
This is the best general MATLAB book out there in my opinion, look at all it covers in the description. It is the book I learned with, and I highly recommend it.
muhammad alli on 1 Oct 2016
Dabbling yourself through little projects is how I would advise you go through it, the Mathworks website is an amazing resource, I wrote a book that's advertised here on Mathworks if you'd like some basics and fundamentals outlined, I currently teach Matlab at my University and think that minimalist unambiguous examples are the best. Check out my book if you like.
Taylor on 22 Feb 2017
The recommendation I received (but have not yet tested) is to pick a simple question and then try to design code for it. Many of the professions I know who use it say they taught themselves how to use MATLAB.