Functions in Matlab – A guide from professional programmers

Matlab functions are used in several coding lines, which correlate a single variable with the other variables, and each outcome is related to a single input, which is used to generate an essential part of any programming language. The functions in Matlab environment are saved in a specific library file such as script files and much more. They can execute more than a single input argument, and it can return the value of more than a single output argument.

The functions in Matlab operate with the defined variables in the predefined workspace, which is called as ‘the local workspace.’ If you want any Matlab assignment help, you can take our expert’s help from, along with the coding of the Matlab programs.

Kinds of Functions in Matlab

In Matlab programming, functions can be generated or defined with the use of the syntax:

Function [01,02,03……,0N] = myfun(i1,i2,…..iN)

Inside the above line, myfun is the name of the Matlab function that can take the input arguments from i1,i2,…iN. And return the output value 01,02,03…0N. For declaring any of the functions in Matlab, the above statement can be first-line. There are certain norms which require for the proper name of functions and save them:

  • The name of the functions that start with the alphabets and have certain characters, numbers, or underscore tends to be valid. 
  • The function definition and the file names can be saved in the function file that matches with the first function name in a particular file.
  • We can store functions that contain commands and function definitions. The functions in Matlab must be represented at the last of the script file name, and it must not have a similar name as file function.

The end keyword can indicate the end of a function. This is needed when any of the file function has a nested function. There are various kinds of functions in Matlab, and these are as follows:

Anonymous Function

This function is not saved in the program file; instead of this, it is related to the variables that have the data type as function_handle. It can be defined in one statement and can have several output and input arguments. The syntax of the function is:



sum=@(a,b) a+b;

res= sum(3,2)

When we run this, it will produce the output as:


The anonymous function can be written without any input or with the number of inputs and outputs. If the anonymous functions in Matlab have no input, then we have to use empty parentheses to use an anonymous function, for example:

myfun=@(a,b) (a-b);




Output: c=3

Local Function

The first line containing a primary function, and it is visible to other files, and they can be called in any of the command lines. The other function which is available in the same file is called a local function. Moreover, these kinds of functions in Matlab can not be seen in the main function or the parent function coded in the same file. And they are not called from the main command line. They are also called as sub-function. It can be used as subroutines in other programming languages. They can be coded in script files as they appear at the last line of the script codes.

Unction [avg, med] = mystats(b)


avg= mymean(b,a);

med= mymedian(b,a);


Function a = mymean(v,n) //example of local function



To define a script in name file integrationScript.m, that is used to compute the value of the area under the curve of y=sin(x)^3 from 0 to pi.

xmin = 0;

xmax = pi;

f = @myIntegrand;

a = integral(f,xmin,xmax)

function y = myIntegrand(x)

    y = sin(x).^3;


The output will be: 


a= 1.333

Nested Function

The functions in Matlab that are used within the parent functions or in another function are known as nested functions. These functions can modify or use the variables which are defined in other functions or the parent functions. They have the ability to access the workspace where they are already defined. And we can define it in the function’s scope. There are some requirements that a nested function needs to follow:

  • The end statement is not needed for all the functions. But for nesting, every function requires the end statement.
  • The nested function can not be defined within any control statement. Such as switch case, if-else, and much more.
  • The name or a function handle can be used to call a nested function.

Function current


Function nestfun



Private Function

These kinds of functions in Matlab are seen merely to a defined set of functions. They remain in the sub-functions and is denote by keyword “private.” These functions can be seen in the parent folder or in the functions which are directly above the subfolder of private. Besides we can also use it when we want to restrict the scope of various functions. A user can not call these functions from the outside folder of a parent or the command line.

Function priv


Alter the folder that has a private folder and alter the name of the file to ‘present’ as:

Function private


Alter the folder to the other location and call that present function


The output will be: “Hi”


The functions in Matlab is most popular in various programming. We can use it to form an essential part of any coding language. The Matlab functions can be available for any private function or any global function with the use of the global variable. Besides, we can use it to fulfill the demands of business or any other organization.

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