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Pass Contents of Cell Arrays to Functions

These examples show several ways to pass data from a cell array to a MATLAB® function that does not recognize cell arrays as inputs.

Pass Contents of Single Cell by Indexing with Curly Braces, {}

This example creates a cell array that contains text and a 20-by-2 array of random numbers.

randCell = {'Random Data', rand(20,2)};
plot(randCell{1,2})
title(randCell{1,1})

Figure contains an axes. The axes with title Random Data contains 2 objects of type line.

Plot only the first column of data by indexing further into the content (multilevel indexing).

figure
plot(randCell{1,2}(:,1))
title('First Column of Data')

Figure contains an axes. The axes with title First Column of Data contains an object of type line.

Combine Numeric Data from Multiple Cells Using cell2mat

This example creates a 5-by-2 cell array that stores temperature data for three cities, and plots the temperatures for each city by date.

temperature(1,:) = {'2020-01-01', [45, 49, 0]};
temperature(2,:) = {'2020-04-03', [54, 68, 21]};
temperature(3,:) = {'2020-06-20', [72, 85, 53]};
temperature(4,:) = {'2020-09-15', [63, 81, 56]};
temperature(5,:) = {'2020-12-31', [38, 54, 18]};

allTemps = cell2mat(temperature(:,2));
dates = datetime(temperature(:,1));

plot(dates, allTemps)

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains 3 objects of type line.

Pass Contents of Multiple Cells as Comma Separated List To Function

This example plots X against Y , and applies line styles from a 2-by-3 cell array C.

X = -pi:pi/10:pi;
Y = tan(sin(X)) - sin(tan(X));

C(:,1) = {'LineWidth'; 2};
C(:,2) = {'MarkerEdgeColor'; 'k'};
C(:,3) = {'MarkerFaceColor'; 'g'};

plot(X, Y, '--rs', C{:})

Figure contains an axes. The axes contains an object of type line.

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