Menu Properties

Control appearance and behavior of menu

Menus display drop-down lists of options at the top of an app window. Call the uimenu function to create a menu or add a submenu to an existing menu. Properties control the appearance and behavior of a menu. Use dot notation to refer to a specific object and property.

uf = uifigure;
m = uimenu(uf);
m.Text = 'Open Selection';

The properties listed here are valid for menus in App Designer, or in apps created with the uifigure function. For menus used in GUIDE, or in apps created with the figure function, see Menu Properties.

Menu

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Menu label, specified as a character vector or string scalar. This property specifies the label that appears on the menu or menu item.

Avoid using these case-sensitive reserved words: "default", "remove", and "factory". If you must use a reserved word, then specify a backslash character before the word. For instance, specify "default" as '\default'.

You can specify a mnemonic keyboard shortcut (Alt+mnemonic) by using the ampersand (&) character in the text for the label. The character that follows the ampersand appears underlined in the menu when Alt is pressed. You can select the menu item by holding down the Alt key and typing the character shown.

To use mnemonics, you must specify a mnemonic for all menus and menu items that you define in the app. If you define mnemonics only for some menus or menu items, pressing the Alt key does not have any effect.

The table shows some examples:

Text ValueMenu Label with Mnemonic Hints
'&Open Selection'

'O&pen Selection'

'&Save && Go'

Keyboard shortcut, specified as a character. Use this property to define a keyboard shortcut for selecting a menu item.

Example: mitem.Accelerator = 'H'

Specifying an accelerator value enables users to select the menu item by pressing a character and another key, instead of using the mouse. The key sequence is platform specific.

  • Windows® systems: Ctrl+accelerator

  • Macintosh systems: Command+accelerator

  • Linux® systems: Ctrl+accelerator

Things to keep in mind when using accelerators:

  • The app window must be in focus when entering the accelerator key sequence.

  • Accelerators cannot be used on top-level menus.

  • Accelerators only work when the menu item meets all these criteria.

    • It does not contain any submenu items.

    • It executes a callback function.

    • It has the Visible property set to 'on'.

Separator line mode, specified as 'off' or 'on'. Setting this property to 'on' draws a dividing line above the menu item.

Note

The Separator property is ignored when the menu item is a top-level menu item.

Menu check indicator, specified as 'off' or 'on'. Setting this property to 'on' places a check mark next to the corresponding menu item. Setting it to 'off' removes the check mark. You can use this feature to show the state of menu items that enable or disable functionality in your application.

Note

The Checked property is ignored when the menu item is:

  • A top-level menu item

  • A menu item that contains one or more child menu items

Menu label color, specified as an RGB triplet, a hexadecimal color code or one of the color options listed in the table.

RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes are useful for specifying custom colors.

  • An RGB triplet is a three-element row vector whose elements specify the intensities of the red, green, and blue components of the color. The intensities must be in the range [0,1]; for example, [0.4 0.6 0.7].

  • A hexadecimal color code is a character vector or a string scalar that starts with a hash symbol (#) followed by three or six hexadecimal digits, which can range from 0 to F. The values are not case sensitive. Thus, the color codes '#FF8800', '#ff8800', '#F80', and '#f80' are equivalent.

Alternatively, you can specify some common colors by name. This table lists the named color options, the equivalent RGB triplets, and hexadecimal color codes.

Color NameShort NameRGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
'red''r'[1 0 0]'#FF0000'

'green''g'[0 1 0]'#00FF00'

'blue''b'[0 0 1]'#0000FF'

'cyan' 'c'[0 1 1]'#00FFFF'

'magenta''m'[1 0 1]'#FF00FF'

'yellow''y'[1 1 0]'#FFFF00'

'black''k'[0 0 0]'#000000'

'white''w'[1 1 1]'#FFFFFF'

Here are the RGB triplets and hexadecimal color codes for the default colors MATLAB® uses in many types of plots.

RGB TripletHexadecimal Color CodeAppearance
[0 0.4470 0.7410]'#0072BD'

[0.8500 0.3250 0.0980]'#D95319'

[0.9290 0.6940 0.1250]'#EDB120'

[0.4940 0.1840 0.5560]'#7E2F8E'

[0.4660 0.6740 0.1880]'#77AC30'

[0.3010 0.7450 0.9330]'#4DBEEE'

[0.6350 0.0780 0.1840]'#A2142F'

Interactivity

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Menu visibility, specified as 'on' or 'off'. When the Visible property is set to 'off', the menu is not visible, but you can query and set its properties.

Operational state of menu, specified as 'on' or 'off'. This property controls whether the user can select a menu item. When the value is 'off', the menu label appears dimmed, indicating that the user cannot select it.

Tooltip, specified as a character vector, cell array of character vectors, string array, or 1-D categorical array. Use this property to display a message when the user hovers the pointer over the component at run time. The tooltip displays even when the component is disabled. To display multiple lines of text, specify a cell array of character vectors or a string array. Each element in the array becomes a separate line of text. If you specify this property as a categorical array, MATLAB uses the values in the array, not the full set of categories.

Callbacks

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Menu selected callback, specified as one of these values:

  • A function handle.

  • A cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • A character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression (not recommended). MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

The callback responds depending on the location of the menu item and the type of interaction:

  • Left-clicking a menu expands that menu and triggers its callback.

  • While any menu is expanded, hovering any other parent menu (or top-level menu) expands that menu and triggers its callback.

Note

Do not use a callback to dynamically change menu items. Deleting, adding, and replacing menu items in a callback can result in a blank menu. Instead, use the Visible property to hide or show menu items. You can also enable and disable menu items by setting the Enable property. To fully repopulate menu items, delete and create them outside the callback.

For more information about writing callbacks, see Write Callbacks in App Designer.

Object creation function, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle.

  • Cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • Character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression (not recommended). MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see Write Callbacks in App Designer.

This property specifies a callback function to execute when MATLAB creates the object. MATLAB initializes all property values before executing the CreateFcn callback. If you do not specify the CreateFcn property, then MATLAB executes a default creation function.

Setting the CreateFcn property on an existing component has no effect.

If you specify this property as a function handle or cell array, you can access the object that is being created using the first argument of the callback function. Otherwise, use the gcbo function to access the object.

Object deletion function, specified as one of these values:

  • Function handle.

  • Cell array in which the first element is a function handle. Subsequent elements in the cell array are the arguments to pass to the callback function.

  • Character vector containing a valid MATLAB expression (not recommended). MATLAB evaluates this expression in the base workspace.

For more information about specifying a callback as a function handle, cell array, or character vector, see Write Callbacks in App Designer.

This property specifies a callback function to execute when MATLAB deletes the object. MATLAB executes the DeleteFcn callback before destroying the properties of the object. If you do not specify the DeleteFcn property, then MATLAB executes a default deletion function.

If you specify this property as a function handle or cell array, you can access the object that is being deleted using the first argument of the callback function. Otherwise, use the gcbo function to access the object.

Callback Execution Control

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Callback interruption, specified as 'on' or 'off'. The Interruptible property determines if a running callback can be interrupted.

There are two callback states to consider:

  • The running callback is the currently executing callback.

  • The interrupting callback is a callback that tries to interrupt the running callback.

Whenever MATLAB invokes a callback, that callback attempts to interrupt the running callback (if one exists). The Interruptible property of the object owning the running callback determines if interruption is allowed. The Interruptible property has two possible values:

  • 'on' — Allows other callbacks to interrupt the object's callbacks. The interruption occurs at the next point where MATLAB processes the queue, such as when there is a drawnow, figure, uifigure, getframe, waitfor, or pause command.

    • If the running callback contains one of those commands, then MATLAB stops the execution of the callback at that point and executes the interrupting callback. MATLAB resumes executing the running callback when the interrupting callback completes.

    • If the running callback does not contain one of those commands, then MATLAB finishes executing the callback without interruption.

  • 'off' — Blocks all interruption attempts. The BusyAction property of the object owning the interrupting callback determines if the interrupting callback is discarded or put into a queue.

Note

Callback interruption and execution behave differently in these situations:

  • If the interrupting callback is a DeleteFcn, CloseRequestFcn or SizeChangedFcn callback, then the interruption occurs regardless of the Interruptible property value.

  • If the running callback is currently executing the waitfor function, then the interruption occurs regardless of the Interruptible property value.

  • Timer objects execute according to schedule regardless of the Interruptible property value.

When an interruption occurs, MATLAB does not save the state of properties or the display. For example, the object returned by the gca or gcf command might change when another callback executes.

Callback queuing, specified as 'queue' or 'cancel'. The BusyAction property determines how MATLAB handles the execution of interrupting callbacks. There are two callback states to consider:

  • The running callback is the currently executing callback.

  • The interrupting callback is a callback that tries to interrupt the running callback.

Whenever MATLAB invokes a callback, that callback attempts to interrupt a running callback. The Interruptible property of the object owning the running callback determines if interruption is permitted. If interruption is not permitted, then the BusyAction property of the object owning the interrupting callback determines if it is discarded or put in the queue. These are possible values of the BusyAction property:

  • 'queue' — Puts the interrupting callback in a queue to be processed after the running callback finishes execution.

  • 'cancel' — Does not execute the interrupting callback.

This property is read-only.

Deletion status, returned as 'off' or 'on'. MATLAB sets the BeingDeleted property to 'on' when the DeleteFcn callback begins execution. The BeingDeleted property remains set to 'on' until the component object no longer exists.

Check the value of the BeingDeleted property to verify that the object is not about to be deleted before querying or modifying it.

Parent/Child

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Parent object, specified as a Figure created using the uifigure function, or a Menu object. You can move a menu item to a different window, or move it under a different menu by setting this property.

Menu children, returned as an empty GraphicsPlaceholder or a 1-D array of Menu objects.

You cannot add or remove child components using the Children property. Use this property to view the list of children or to reorder the child menu items.

To add a child menu to this list, set the Parent property of another Menu object to this Menu object.

Visibility of the object handle, specified as 'on', 'callback', or 'off'.

This property controls the visibility of the object in its parent's list of children. When an object is not visible in its parent's list of children, it is not returned by functions that obtain objects by searching the object hierarchy or querying properties. These functions include get, findobj, clf, and close. Objects are valid even if they are not visible. If you can access an object, you can set and get its properties, and pass it to any function that operates on objects.

HandleVisibility ValueDescription
'on'The object is always visible.
'callback'The object is visible from within callbacks or functions invoked by callbacks, but not from within functions invoked from the command line. This option blocks access to the object at the command-line, but allows callback functions to access it.
'off'The object is invisible at all times. This option is useful for preventing unintended changes to the UI by another function. Set the HandleVisibility to 'off' to temporarily hide the object during the execution of that function.

Identifiers

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This property is read-only.

Type of graphics object, returned as 'uimenu'.

Object identifier, specified as a character vector or string scalar. You can specify a unique Tag value to serve as an identifier for an object. When you need access to the object elsewhere in your code, you can use the findobj function to search for the object based on the Tag value.

User data, specified as any MATLAB array. For example, you can specify a scalar, vector, matrix, cell array, character array, table, or structure. Use this property to store arbitrary data on an object.

If you are working in App Designer, create public or private properties in the app to share data instead of using the UserData property. For more information, see Share Data Within App Designer Apps.

Introduced in R2017b