Mastering Table Display in Matlab

In this detailed guide, we will explore the art of creating and displaying tables in the widely-used programming language for scientific computing, Matlab. We will delve into various aspects of table …

Updated November 3, 2023

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In this detailed guide, we will explore the art of creating and displaying tables in the widely-used programming language for scientific computing, Matlab. We will delve into various aspects of table generation, from basic concepts to advanced features, ensuring a thorough understanding of table usage within your workflow. With a range of examples provided throughout this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive resource that can serve as an invaluable reference for all Matlab users.

Matlab is an indispensable tool in the world of scientific computing, providing a multitude of features and functionalities aimed at simplifying complex computations. The ability to efficiently visualize data and organize it in the form of tables plays a crucial role in understanding the results and interpreting patterns within datasets. In this article, we will learn how to effectively display tables using Matlab. We will cover various aspects such as creating tables, formatting them, adding rows or columns, interacting with table contents, and exporting the generated tables into different formats for further analysis and sharing.

  1. Creating a Table in Matlab A. To begin with, let’s create a table using the ‘table’ function within Matlab. This function can be used to construct tables from both numeric arrays and tabular data structures. In its simplest form, this function takes an array as input and returns a table. For instance:

    Data = [1 2 3; 4 5 6]; Table = table(Data);

    Here, we have constructed a table using a 2x3 numeric array containing elements {1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6}. Matlab will automatically create the table and assign it to the ‘Table’ variable.

  2. Formatting Tables in Matlab A. Once you have created your table using the ‘table’ function or any other means, you can customize its appearance as per your needs. This is done primarily through formatting options that can be applied either via property names or directly in code.

    2.1 Property Names for Table Formatting: These are used to control the visual aspect of a table. For example, to change the font color of cells' text, you could use the ‘FontColor’ property as follows:

    Table.FontColor = ‘red’;

    Similarly, one can modify cell alignment (e.g., HorizontalAlignment), background colors (e.g., BackgroundColor), and more by using these property names. Please note that each property has multiple attributes that can be assigned for further customization. You can find a detailed list of table properties here:

    2.2 Direct Code for Table Formatting: In addition to the property names, you may also format your table using Matlab code directly. This approach can prove useful when generating more advanced tables with complex structures and requires accessing each individual element of the table. For example, to change a specific cell’s font color, one would use something similar to this:

    Table(3, 2).Text = [‘blue’, ‘red’];

    Here, we are explicitly defining the font color of cells located in row 3 and column 2 as blue for the first element and red for the second. As you can see, the direct coding approach gives you fine-grained control over every cell’s properties, allowing for a high degree of flexibility when customizing tables.

  3. Adding Rows or Columns to a Table in Matlab A. After creating your table, you may need to modify it by adding new rows or columns, especially if there is additional data available that needs to be incorporated into the table structure. To achieve this, simply add new rows using the ‘addrows’ method or new columns with the ‘addcolumns’ method. For instance:

    Table = addrows(Table, 1); % Add a row at the end of the table Table = addcolumns(Table, [2]); % Add two columns at the beginning of the table

  4. Interacting with Table Contents in Matlab A. With tables being composed of cells that can contain various types of data (e.g., numbers, strings, etc.), it is essential to be able to manipulate these contents within a table. To access individual elements or properties of a specific cell, use the ‘get’ function followed by the row number and column number. For example:

    CellValue = get(Table, 1, 2) % Returns the value at row 1 and column 2 (i.e., element (1,2))

  5. Exporting a Table in Matlab A. Once your table is structured appropriately, you may want to share it with others or save it for future use. To export your table, utilize the ‘writetable’ function within Matlab. This function can write data from tables to disk files in various formats such as MAT-files (default), comma-separated values (CSV) files, and plain text files. For example:

    writetable(‘OutputTable.mat’, Table); % Write table to ‘OutputTable.mat’ file writetable(‘MyCSVFile.csv’, Table, ‘WithHeaders’); % Write table to ‘MyCSVFile.csv’ with header information


The ability to create and display tables in Matlab is an essential skill for researchers, developers, and engineers working on scientific computing projects. By understanding how to generate tables using the ‘table’ function and leveraging the numerous customization options available within the programming environment, users can effectively visualize their data sets, facilitate collaboration with others, and derive meaningful insights.

Furthermore, as a Python Engineer and Computer Vision Expert, I encourage you to explore the integration of these concepts in both Python and OpenCV for further application possibilities. By harnessing the power of these tools together, one can develop advanced visualization techniques capable of handling increasingly complex datasets and making data analysis more streamlined and efficient.