## MATLAB Operators and Special Characters

This page contains a comprehensive listing of all MATLAB® operators, symbols, and special characters.

### Arithmetic Operators

`+`

`plus`
`+`

Unary plus

`uplus`
`-`

Subtraction

`minus`
`-`

Unary minus

`uminus`
`.*`

Element-wise multiplication

`times`
`*`

Matrix multiplication

`mtimes`
`./`

Element-wise right division

`rdivide`
`/`

Matrix right division

`mrdivide`
`.\`

Element-wise left division

`ldivide`
`\`

Matrix left division

(also known as backslash)

`mldivide`
`.^`

Element-wise power

`power`
`^`

Matrix power

`mpower`
`.'`

Transpose

`transpose`
`'`

Complex conjugate transpose

`ctranspose`

### Relational Operators

`==`

Equal to

`eq`
`~=`

Not equal to

`ne`
`>`

Greater than

`gt`
`>=`

Greater than or equal to

`ge`
`<`

Less than

`lt`
`<=`

Less than or equal to

`le`

### Logical Operators

`&`

Find logical AND

`and`
`|`

Find logical OR

`or`
`&&`

Find logical AND (with short-circuiting)

`Short-Circuit AND`
`||`

Find logical OR (with short-circuiting)

`Short-Circuit OR`
`~`

Find logical NOT

`not`

### Special Characters

 `@` Name: At symbolUses: Function handle construction and referenceCalling superclass methods Description: The `@` symbol forms a handle to either the named function that follows the `@` sign, or to the anonymous function that follows the `@` sign. You can also use `@` to call superclass methods from subclasses.ExamplesCreate a function handle to a named function:`fhandle = @myfun`Create a function handle to an anonymous function:`fhandle = @(x,y) x.^2 + y.^2;`Call the `disp` method of `MySuper` from a subclass:`disp@MySuper(obj)`Call the superclass constructor from a subclass using the object being constructed:`obj = obj@MySuper(arg1,arg2,...)`More Information: `.` Name: Period or dotUses: Decimal pointElement-wise operationsStructure field accessObject property or method specifier Description: The period character separates the integral and fractional parts of a number, such as `3.1415`. MATLAB operators that contain a period always work element-wise. The period character also enables you to access the fields in a structure, as well as the properties and methods of an object.ExamplesDecimal point:`102.5543`Element-wise operations:```A.*B A.^2```Structure field access:`myStruct.f1`Object property specifier:`myObj.PropertyName`More Information `...` Name: Dot dot dot or ellipsisUses: Line continuationDescription: Three or more periods at the end of a line continues the current command on the next line. If three or more periods occur before the end of a line, then MATLAB ignores the rest of the line and continues to the next line. This effectively makes a comment out of anything on the current line that follows the three periods. NoteMATLAB interprets the ellipsis as a space character. Therefore, multi-line commands must be valid as a single line with the ellipsis replaced by a space character.ExamplesContinue a function call on the next line:```sprintf(['The current value '... 'of %s is %d'],vname,value)```Break a character vector up on multiple lines and concatenate the lines together:```S = ['If three or more periods occur before the '... 'end of a line, then the rest of that line is ' ... 'ignored and MATLAB continues to the next line']```To comment out one line in a multiline command, use `...` at the beginning of the line to ensure that the command remains complete. If you use `%` to comment out a line it produces an error:```y = 1 +... 2 +... % 3 +... 4;```However, this code runs properly since the third line does not produce a gap in the command:```y = 1 +... 2 +... ... 3 +... 4;```More Information `,` Name: CommaUses: SeparatorDescription: Use commas to separate row elements in an array, array subscripts, function input and output arguments, and commands entered on the same line.ExamplesSeparate row elements to create an array:`A = [12,13; 14,15]`Separate subscripts:`A(1,2)`Separate input and output arguments in function calls:`[Y,I] = max(A,[],2)`Separate multiple commands on the same line (showing output):`figure, plot(sin(-pi:0.1:pi)), grid on`More Information `horzcat` `:` Name: ColonUses: Vector creationIndexingFor-loop iteration Description: Use the colon operator to create regularly spaced vectors, index into arrays, and define the bounds of a `for` loop.ExamplesCreate a vector:`x = 1:10`Create a vector that increments by 3:`x = 1:3:19`Reshape a matrix into a column vector:`A(:)`Assign new elements without changing the shape of an array:```A = rand(3,4); A(:) = 1:12;```Index a range of elements in a particular dimension:`A(2:5,3)`Index all elements in a particular dimension:`A(:,3)``for` loop bounds:```x = 1; for k = 1:25 x = x + x^2; end```More Information `;` Name: SemicolonUses: Signify end of rowSuppress output of code line Description: Use semicolons to separate rows in an array creation command, or to suppress the output display of a line of code.ExamplesSeparate rows to create an array:`A = [12,13; 14,15]`Suppress code output:`Y = max(A);`Separate multiple commands on a single line (suppressing output):```A = 12.5; B = 42.7, C = 1.25; B = 42.7000 ```More Information `vertcat` `( )` Name: ParenthesesUses: Operator precedenceFunction argument enclosureIndexing Description: Use parentheses to specify precedence of operations, enclose function input arguments, and index into an array.ExamplesPrecedence of operations:`(A.*(B./C)) - D`Function argument enclosure:```plot(X,Y,'r*') C = union(A,B)```Indexing:```A(3,:) A(1,2) A(1:5,1)```More Information `[ ]` Name: Square bracketsUses: Array constructionArray concatenationEmpty matrix and array element deletionMultiple output argument assignment Description: Square brackets enable array construction and concatenation, creation of empty matrices, deletion of array elements, and capturing values returned by a function.ExamplesConstruct a three-element vector:`X = [10 12 -3]`Add a new bottom row to a matrix:```A = rand(3); A = [A; 10 20 30]```Create an empty matrix:`A = []`Delete a matrix column:`A(:,1) = []`Capture three output arguments from a function:`[C,iA,iB] = union(A,B)`More Information `{ }` Name: Curly bracketsUses: Cell array assignment and contentsDescription: Use curly braces to construct a cell array, or to access the contents of a particular cell in a cell array.ExamplesTo construct a cell array, enclose all elements of the array in curly braces:```C = {[2.6 4.7 3.9], rand(8)*6, 'C. Coolidge'} ```Index to a specific cell array element by enclosing all indices in curly braces:```A = C{4,7,2} ```More Information `%` Name: PercentUses: CommentConversion specifier Description: The percent sign is most commonly used to indicate nonexecutable text within the body of a program. This text is normally used to include comments in your code.Some functions also interpret the percent sign as a conversion specifier.Two percent signs, `%%`, serve as a cell delimiter as described in Create and Run Sections in Code.ExamplesAdd a comment to a block of code:```% The purpose of this loop is to compute % the value of ...```Use conversion specifier with `sprintf`:`sprintf('%s = %d', name, value)`More Information `%{ %}` Name: Percent curly bracketUses: Block commentsDescription: The `%{` and `%}` symbols enclose a block of comments that extend beyond one line.NoteWith the exception of whitespace characters, the `%{` and `%}` operators must appear alone on the lines that immediately precede and follow the block of help text. Do not include any other text on these lines.ExamplesEnclose any multiline comments with percent followed by an opening or closing brace:```%{ The purpose of this routine is to compute the value of ... %} ```More Information `!` Name: Exclamation pointUses: Operating system commandDescription: The exclamation point precedes operating system commands that you want to execute from within MATLAB.Not available in MATLAB Online™.ExamplesThe exclamation point initiates a shell escape function. Such a function is to be performed directly by the operating system:```!rmdir oldtests ```More Information `?` Name: Question markUses: Metaclass for MATLAB classDescription: The question mark retrieves the `meta.class` object for a particular class name. The `?` operator works only with a class name, not an object.ExamplesRetrieve the meta.class object for class `inputParser`:`?inputParser`More Information `metaclass` `''` Name: Single quotesUses: Character array constructorDescription: Use single quotes to create character vectors that have class `char`.ExamplesCreate a character vector:`chr = 'Hello, world'`More Information `""` Name: Double quotesUses: String constructorDescription: Use double quotes to create string scalars that have class `string`.ExamplesCreate a string scalar:`S = "Hello, world"`More Information `N/A` Name: Space characterUses: SeparatorDescription: Use the space character to separate row elements in an array constructor, or the values returned by a function. In these contexts, the space character and comma are equivalent.ExamplesSeparate row elements to create an array:```% These statements are equivalent A = [12 13; 14 15] A = [12,13; 14,15]```Separate output arguments in function calls:```% These statements are equivalent [Y I] = max(A) [Y,I] = max(A)``` `N/A` Name: Newline characterUses: SeparatorDescription: Use the newline character to separate rows in an array construction statement. In that context, the newline character and semicolon are equivalent.ExamplesSeparate rows in an array creation command:```% These statements are equivalent A = [12 13 14 15] A = [12 13; 14 15]``` `~` Name: TildeUses: Logical NOTArgument placeholder Description: Use the tilde symbol to represent logical NOT or to suppress specific input or output arguments.ExamplesCalculate the logical NOT of a matrix:```A = eye(3); ~A```Determine where the elements of `A` are not equal to those of `B`:```A = [1 -1; 0 1] B = [1 -2; 3 2] A~=B```Return only the third output value of `union`:`[~,~,iB] = union(A,B)`More Information `=` Name: Equal signUses: AssignmentDescription: Use the equal sign to assign values to a variable. The syntax `B = A` stores the elements of `A` in variable `B`.NoteThe `=` character is for assignment, whereas the `==` character is for comparing the elements in two arrays. See `eq` for more information.ExamplesCreate a matrix `A`. Assign the values in `A` to a new variable, `B`. Lastly, assign a new value to the first element in `B`.```A = [1 0; -1 0]; B = A; B(1) = 200;``` `< &` Name: Left angle bracket and ampersandUses: Specify superclassesDescription: Specify one or more superclasses in a class definitionExamplesDefine a class that derives from one superclass:```classdef MyClass < MySuperclass … end ```Define a class that derives from multiple superclasses:```classdef MyClass < Superclass1 & Superclass2 & … … end ```More Information: `.?` Name: Dot question markUses: Specify fields of name-value structureDescription: When using function argument validation, you can define the fields of the name-value structure as the names of all writeable properties of the class.ExamplesSpecify the field names of the `propArgs` structure as the writeable properties of the `matlab.graphics.primitive.Line` class.```function f(propArgs) arguments propArgs.?matlab.graphics.primitive.Line end % Function code ... end ```More Information:

### String and Character Formatting

Some special characters can only be used in the text of a character vector or string. You can use these special characters to insert new lines or carriage returns, specify folder paths, and more.

Use the special characters in this table to specify a folder path using a character vector or string.

 `/``\` Name: Slash and BackslashUses: File or folder path separationDescription: In addition to their use as mathematical operators, the slash and backslash characters separate the elements of a path or folder. On Microsoft® Windows® based systems, both slash and backslash have the same effect. On The Open Group UNIX® based systems, you must use slash only.ExamplesOn a Windows system, you can use either backslash or slash:```dir([matlabroot '\toolbox\matlab\elmat\shiftdim.m']) dir([matlabroot '/toolbox/matlab/elmat/shiftdim.m']) ```On a UNIX system, use only the forward slash:```dir([matlabroot '/toolbox/matlab/elmat/shiftdim.m']) ``` `..` Name: Dot dotUses: Parent folderDescription: Two dots in succession refers to the parent of the current folder. Use this character to specify folder paths relative to the current folder.ExamplesTo go up two levels in the folder tree and down into the `test` folder, use:`cd ..\..\test`More Information `cd` `*` Name: AsteriskUses: Wildcard characterDescription: In addition to being the symbol for matrix multiplication, the asterisk `*` is used as a wildcard character.Wildcards are generally used in file operations that act on multiple files or folders. MATLAB matches all characters in the name exactly except for the wildcard character `*`, which can match any one or more characters.ExamplesLocate all files with names that start with `january_` and have a `.mat` file extension:`dir('january_*.mat')` `@` Name: At symbolUses: Class folder indicatorDescription: An `@` sign indicates the name of a class folder.ExamplesRefer to a class folder:`\@myClass\get.m`More Information `+` Name: PlusUses: Package directory indicatorDescription: A `+` sign indicates the name of a package folder.ExamplesPackage folders always begin with the `+` character:```+mypack +mypack/pkfcn.m % a package function +mypack/@myClass % class folder in a package```More Information

There are certain special characters that you cannot enter as ordinary text. Instead, you must use unique character sequences to represent them. Use the symbols in this table to format strings and character vectors on their own or in conjunction with formatting functions like `compose`, `sprintf`, and `error`. For more information, see Formatting Text.

SymbolEffect on Text
`''`

Single quotation mark

`%%`

Single percent sign

`\\`

Single backslash

`\a`

Alarm

`\b`

Backspace

`\f`

Form feed

`\n`

New line

`\r`

Carriage return

`\t`

Horizontal tab

`\v`

Vertical tab

`\xN`

Hexadecimal number, `N`

`\N`

Octal number, `N`