Mastering Vector Printing in MATLAB

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into understanding vectors in MATLAB - a key concept that will play an important role in your MATLAB coding journey. We will explain what vectors are, wh …

Updated October 20, 2023

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In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into understanding vectors in MATLAB - a key concept that will play an important role in your MATLAB coding journey. We will explain what vectors are, why they’re essential for matrix manipulation, how to create and print them, as well as cover some common pitfalls you may encounter while working with them. Additionally, we will demonstrate relevant examples using code snippets throughout the tutorial.


Vector is a fundamental data structure in MATLAB and has numerous applications across various domains such as signal processing, linear algebra, and machine learning. As a Python Engineer and Computer Vision Expert, your proficiency with vectors will greatly enhance your programming capabilities. In this article, we will discuss the significance of vectors in MATLAB programming and how to effectively print them out.

Understanding Vectors in MATLAB

A vector is an ordered set of elements that can be stored as rows or columns in a matrix. Mathematically, it is represented as a one-dimensional array containing real values, often denoted by boldface lowercase letters (e.g., v). In MATLAB, vectors are treated as special cases of matrices where all non-zero elements must belong to the same data type. This implies that you cannot mix both numeric and character types in a vector simultaneously.

There are three main types of vectors in MATLAB:

  1. Row Vector: A vector with only one row, typically denoted by parentheses (). For example: [2 4 6].

  2. Column Vector: A vector with only one column, often represented by square brackets []. Examples include [2; 4; 6] and [[2]; [4]; [6]]. The semicolon separates the elements in a column vector.

  3. Array of Vectors: A matrix where all columns or rows are vectors, which means they share the same data type but may have different dimensions along other axes. For example, an array of three column vectors [A; B; C], where each column has two elements: [[1 2]; [3 4]; [5 6]].

To create and print these types of vectors in MATLAB, you should utilize the proper syntax while handling data types, which we will discuss in the next section.

Creating and Printing Vectors in MATLAB

There are several ways to create a vector in MATLAB depending on the specific data type (double, single, int8, uint8, int16, uint16, int32, uint32, or logical) you would like. We will explore various methods and provide examples for each one below.

Using parentheses with comma-separated values

This method is used to initialize vectors using a list of values enclosed within the parentheses. For instance:

A = [1 2 3] % A row vector
B = [4; 5; 6] % B is a column vector
C = [[7; 8]; [9; 10]; [11; 12]] % C is an array of vectors, with each column having two elements

Constructing vectors using the colon operator (:) and the zeros function

The colon operator is used to generate a sequence of equally spaced values between its operands. Combined with the zeros() function, it can create row or column vectors easily. Here’s an example for creating vectors using the mentioned techniques:

A = zeros(3, 1) % A row vector with three elements having value zero
B = reshape(0 : 2 : 8, 2, 1); % B is a column vector constructed by specifying the range and step size
C = reshape([0:1:4; 5:7:9], [3 2]); % C is an array of vectors, with each column having three elements

Using the repmat() function

The repmat() function creates a new array by repeating an input array across dimensions. It can also be used to create row and column vectors as well as arrays of vectors:

D = repmat(1, 3, 2) % D is a row vector with three elements equal to 1
E = reshape(repmat([0 1], [2 3]), 6, 1); % E is a column vector made up of two different elements repeated six times each
F = repmat([[1 2; 3 4] ; [5 6; 7 8]], [2 3]) % F is an array of vectors with each column having three elements

Printing Vectors in MATLAB

To print the created vector in a standard text format, you can use the disp() function. This function displays the given input as a string. Here’s an example for printing the vectors A to F:

disp(A) % Displays '1 2 3'
disp(B) % Displays '4
disp(C) % Displays '7 8
9 10
11 12'
disp(D) % Displays '1 1 1'
disp(E) % Displays '0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1'
disp(F) % Displays '1 2 5 6
3 4 7 8'


Vectors are crucial components of MATLAB programming, as they enable you to work effectively with matrices while maintaining control over the data type. This article has delved deep into understanding vectors in MATLAB, their creation and manipulation using various methods, and how to print them out. Remember that the syntax may vary slightly depending on the vector type (row or column) and the desired output format. With practice and familiarity with these techniques, your MATLAB skills will be enhanced, ultimately improving the quality of your Python and Computer Vision projects.