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Section color no longer an option in 2021b?

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Prior to the changeover (versions 2021a and older), the current section in the Editor would be highlighted a yellowish color. Now with 2021b, there is a blue bar on the left to indicate the current section. I'd like the yellow-highlighted color back. Looking at the forum, there was an option in Preferences -> Colors -> Programming Tools that would allow the user to customize this section color, but unfortunately this has been removed. Or am I not seeing it somewhere?
Schuvol on 27 Jan 2024
Please bring back the yellow highlight!

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Accepted Answer

Arthi Sathyamurthi
Arthi Sathyamurthi on 26 Oct 2021
Starting in R2021b, sections in the Editor have an improve appearance. The new section is highlighted with a blue border, indicating that it is selected. Hence, "section display option" to highlight section is not available in R2021b.
For more information refer to R2021b Release Notes (Environment --> Editor Sections).
Walter Nagy
Walter Nagy on 2 Jan 2024
Edited: Walter Nagy on 2 Jan 2024
This is an improvement like when Apple removed the colors in the finder sidebar - this has been a sore issue for years now. It still sucks that this very useful highlighted section feature is gone since color is something some of us humans use to bring attention to a section or item quickly - probably why it was added in the first place :-). The blue bar is utterly lame and nearly useless. FYI, I didn't know it existed until I read it on this site since my desktop background is nearly the same blue color, ROFL. Why do you remove features/options instead of just providing the option to be enabled or disabled?
Edited: ANGELICA LIPONI on 4 Jan 2024
Hi, I agree with the sentiments expressed in the comments above (if not all, then certainly the vast majority). Having the ability to highlight the current section in the Editor by using a different background color would be greatly appreciated. It truly aids in visualizing the start and end of a section, which I find extremely helpful. I hope this option could be reinstated in the upcoming releases.
Additionally, as someone else has already pointed out (here), it's currently challenging to discern the starting point of the text within a line due to the presence of a left margin. Consequently, it's unclear if there's any indentation present. Thank you!

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More Answers (21)

Zhaoran Zhang
Zhaoran Zhang on 18 Feb 2022
Yeah, I also like the yellow backgroud much better. I think the yellow helps me to focus on the current section better and give me more peace. I've been working with the same yellow background for years, feeling sad to not have it anymore.
  1 Comment
Richard on 15 Mar 2022
Agreed. I think the yellow background that I had R2021a is great.... now I'm on R2022a I'm ticked off its gone.

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Andrew Marshall
Andrew Marshall on 28 Jan 2022
Yes. I would also like the yellow-ish highlighted cell mode to return. I don't like the current default.

John Brewer
John Brewer on 27 Jun 2022
Edited: John Brewer on 27 Jun 2022
"Starting in R2021b, sections in the Editor have an improve appearance."
What if nobody thinks this is "an improve appearance"? I think comment point to problem.

Marcel on 28 Jan 2022
I like to address another problem of a non-highlighted section @MathWorks Support Team:
It is not possible to see where the line start, where is character 1. The current editor looks like there are 3-4 free space before the first letter, so the entire line looks intended, even if it's not. With the (yellow) highlight in the picutre below from 2021a it was clearly visibly where the first character of this line is.
MATLAB 2021b
MATLAB 2021a

Marcel on 10 Nov 2021
@Arthi Sathyamurthi why does the Blue bar on the left side sometimes not appear?
It seems that the section bar is not available, if a .m file is a function instead of a script?
Personally I agree with @Cory Dinkle, that "improved appearance" is very subjetive and I feel a big downside on the new layout...
Bob on 16 Feb 2022
In MATLAB, I exclusively program with only functions and classes. I find scripts limiting because they junk up the base workspace with variables. If I want to work with these variables at the command line, I simply use breakpoints to enter the debugger. So, this new design restriction on section highlighting artificially limits the section highlighting capability for me.
I vastly prefer the old style in which the background is highlighted in a color to the new blue bar. One way that I enjoyed using section highlighting was to help visually break up multiple local functions and nested functions within a single m-file. In fact, for GUIs with more than a handful of controls, I would say this highlighting capability is almost critical for me. If the old style was brought back to the Editor, or added as a new feature for the use case that I described, it would be greatly appreciated!
(Also, where is the capability in the MATLAB Editor to group multiple files under projects whose contents can be collapsed and expanded? I develop code for multiple tasks, and this feature would enormously aid in helping to organize my work. I have been waiting over 20 years for this capability to be added to the Editor...)
Ivan Kirschner
Ivan Kirschner on 26 Feb 2024
I vastly prefer the old yellow section highlighting for functions, scripts, or any other form. It does not take up any space at all. Like Bob, I strictly use functions for programming in MATLAB, but I like the narrow line numbering width. PLEASE bring back the yellow section highlighting!!!!!!

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Martin Brand
Martin Brand on 9 May 2022
I would also greatly appreciate to have the yellow highlighting back, please!

Michael Drew
Michael Drew on 17 Jun 2022
+1 vote from me. This is a horrible "improvement"! Please bring back the old formatting as an option.

Shyam Kishor Sharma
Shyam Kishor Sharma on 20 Apr 2022
Yes, Recently I updated my version from 2018 to 2022a , and there is no option for yellow color in section after %% sign .I used to that features .Please bring back the previous display settings.

Marcel on 20 Jan 2022
I was checking out the 2022a pre-release, and found that there is still no option to highlight the current code section. Can you please address this user request before launching the official 2022a.
  1 Comment
David Rosenbaum
David Rosenbaum on 20 Jan 2022
Much appreciated, folks. That will help and I (we) appreciate your responsiveness ... Two more suggestions for MATLAB: (1) Provide a feature whereby all the section headers (distinguishing strings after %%) are shown as a kind of table of contents in the program and not just in the Publish version; (2) Allow for subsections down to some arbitrary number of levels as in standard hierarchicies.

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Ian Townend
Ian Townend on 22 Mar 2022
I have just migrated from 2020b to 2022a. All I can see on my screen to denote the current section are two horizontal blue lines. The side bar blue strip is so thin it is almost invisible. I will try adapting but may well revert to using 2020b for editing. As already stated there is a high degree of subjectivity in the statement that this change has improved the appearane. For me the ability to clearly identify the current section with a pale colored background was one of the strengths of the Matlab editor.

Naor on 4 May 2022
+1 that request, and also requesting the option to remove the horizontal line between sections.
Sections are valuable to me in functions (as opposed to scripts or live scripts) as a way to visually organize code, perhaps like paragraphs or chapters in prose. A subtle visuale distinction between sections is very helpful, while a strong visual distinction is more distracting than helpful.

Liang Hu
Liang Hu on 6 May 2022
Please give this option back I am so used to it. Have to downgrade to 2021a after upgrading to 2022a. It is just a waste of time.

Paul Hoffrichter
Paul Hoffrichter on 21 Oct 2022
Edited: Paul Hoffrichter on 21 Oct 2022
When I called MathWorks about coloring of the call stack lines (above the current function) when stepping through the r2021b debugger, the agent checked and saw another similar complaint. They fixed this problem in r2022a but did not fix it for r2021b.
If they get many complaints on the technical support line, maybe they will add the yellow color section background. So call!
Technical Support: 508-647-7000 Access to technical support requires a valid license number and a Software Maintenance Service subscription.
Enter ver to get the license number.
Not sure how this works for students. However, they are acutely aware that students become their future customers, so call and find out how to complain about their bad feature.
When calling be very specific about this one missing yellow background issue. Don't combine multiple issues in one call.

Matthew McMahon
Matthew McMahon on 21 Oct 2022
+1 for the suggestion to change it back. I, too, much prefer the yellow highlight.

Xingwang Yong
Xingwang Yong on 28 Jan 2023
Improved appearance? The default color scheme in R2022a is already a mess. Not to mention the missing section highlight, which can not be adjusted anymore.

Nicolae Moise
Nicolae Moise on 27 Mar 2023
Can you please bring back the old section highlights, at least as an option in the preferences?

Christopher Koh
Christopher Koh on 14 Jun 2023
Edited: Christopher Koh on 14 Jun 2023
I would like to chime in here, and request that MATLAB brings back the old section highlights.
Or at the very least, allow the end-user to choose their own "improved appearance" options, instead of MATLAB unilaterally deciding what constitutes an "improved appearance".
Here's to R2021a instead of R2023.
  1 Comment
Christopher Koh
Christopher Koh on 22 Sep 2023
Moved: Dyuman Joshi on 4 Jan 2024
This "improved appearance" of removing section highlights is actually an order of magnitude worse. In fact, I will be on record and say that Matlab R2021a has a BETTER APPEARANCE than R2021b because it has section highlights.
This degradation in appearance is also making me actively look for a better editor than MATLAB's in-built editor, or perhaps use another language. Perhaps I should get ChatGPT to code me an editor that has section highlights. Just a thought.

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André A
André A on 20 Sep 2022
I also agree the highlight should be back. And also an option to change the color if this blue line, because it is awkward in my dark background.

Alan Peters
Alan Peters on 3 Oct 2022
The blue line thing is not only a worse indicator of the current selection but it is also, to put it nicely, an annoyance. If I accidently click on it the section runs. That is actually more than an annoyance because it completely disrupts my flow. That makes me angry in a time when I do not need one more source of anger. Some people may like the new live blue line. But I most decidedly do not. Please make it an option so I can get rid of it!
Amy on 26 Oct 2022
Alan, if you right click in any part of the left margin, you can unselect "Show Run Section Margin". This preference will take effect in all open editors and in all future MATLAB sessions and is available in R2021b and later releases. This is documented on the page Create and Run Sections in Code.
Alan Peters
Alan Peters on 26 Oct 2022
Thank you very much, Amy! That does solve my problem -- accidently clicking on the blue line causes the whole script to run when I did not want it to and thereby dissrupted my work flow. Now I'm back to where I was and that is good.
I do wonder why, when introducing a GUI element that supplants a current one, the current one is not kept as an option. I understand that it some cases that is not possible. But having either a blue line next to, or a yellow highlight over the current section seems rather a trivial option to implement. I have been using matlab for 35 years(! Time flies.) first on Sun Workstations, later on windoze PCs. The changes in the program over that time have been dramatic, amazing, and largely very welcome. One that threw me was when the keyboard shortcuts changed from the unix/vi set to a windows set. But I soon found that the previous set still worked, it just had to be installed. No problem at all! I still install those with every new release and continue on. So Mathworks knows how to provide alternatives. I am surprised that the yellow highlight was not retained as an option. Perhaps an unintended oversight?

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Adam Golinski
Adam Golinski on 3 Mar 2023
Edited: Adam Golinski on 8 Mar 2023
Please bring back the yellow highlight! It was much more eye-friendly before.

tutku oztel
tutku oztel on 2 Nov 2023
Edited: tutku oztel on 2 Nov 2023
so frustrating how hard it is atm to navigate across the sections with the current default </3 i was barely paying attention to what we have at the lefthand side of the coding window until now. bad decisions... hated it


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