How Do You Access Structure Data in MATLAB?


Larry Thompson

When working with MATLAB, accessing structure data is a fundamental skill that every programmer needs to master. In this tutorial, we will explore different ways to access and manipulate structure data in MATLAB. So, let’s dive right in!

What is Structure Data in MATLAB?

In MATLAB, a structure data type is a way to organize and store related pieces of information together. It allows you to group variables of different types into a single container, making it easier to manage and access them.

Each piece of information stored within a structure is called a field. Fields can contain various types of data, such as numbers, strings, arrays, or even other structures.

Creating a Structure

To start working with structure data in MATLAB, you first need to create a structure. There are multiple ways to do this:

Method 1 – Using the struct() Function

The simplest way to create a structure is by using the struct() function. This function takes field names and corresponding values as input arguments.

exampleStruct = struct('field1', value1, 'field2', value2);

You can add as many fields as you want by providing additional pairs of field names and values.

Method 2 – Dot Notation

An alternative method for creating a structure is by using the dot notation.

exampleStruct.field1 = value1;
exampleStruct.field2 = value2;

This approach allows you to add new fields later on without modifying the existing code.

Accessing Structure Fields

To access individual fields within a structure, you can use the dot operator (.) followed by the field name.field1

This will return the value stored in field1. Similarly, you can access other fields using the same syntax.

If you want to access multiple fields at once, you can use square brackets ([]) and provide a comma-separated list of field names.

exampleStruct([field1, field2])

This will return a new structure containing only the specified fields and their values.

Modifying Structure Fields

Once you have accessed a field, you can modify its value just like any other variable in MATLAB. Simply assign a new value to the field using the assignment operator (=).

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exampleStruct.field1 = newValue;
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exampleStruct.field2 = anotherValue;

Nesting Structures

One of the most powerful features of MATLAB structures is their ability to nest inside each other. This means that a field within a structure can contain another structure as its value.

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nestedStruct.field3 = struct('nestedField1', nestedValue1, 'nestedField2', nestedValue2);
exampleStruct.field4 = nestedStruct;

To access nested fields, simply use multiple dot operators in succession.field4.nestedField1

This will return the value stored in nestedField1 within field4.


In this tutorial, we have explored the basics of accessing structure data in MATLAB. We have learned how to create structures, access their fields, modify field values, and even nest structures within each other.

Structures provide a flexible and efficient way to organize and manipulate complex data in MATLAB. Mastering these techniques will greatly enhance your ability to work with MATLAB effectively.

Now that you have a solid understanding of structure data in MATLAB, go ahead and experiment with creating your own structures and accessing their fields! Happy coding!

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