How Does MATLAB Access Data in Structure?


Heather Bennett

How Does MATLAB Access Data in Structure?

In MATLAB, structures are data types that allow you to store and organize different types of data together. Each data element within a structure is called a field. Accessing data within a structure in MATLAB is straightforward and can be done using dot notation or indexing.

Accessing Structure Fields Using Dot Notation

To access the fields of a structure using dot notation, you need to use the name of the structure followed by a dot and the name of the field. For example, consider a structure named “person” with fields “name”, “age”, and “gender”. To access the “name” field, you would write:

This will return the value stored in the “name” field of the “person” structure.


% Define a structure = 'John Doe';
person.age = 30;
person.gender = 'Male';

% Accessing fields using dot notation
disp(; % Output: John Doe
disp(person.age); % Output: 30
disp(person.gender); % Output: Male

Accessing Structure Fields Using Indexing

In addition to dot notation, you can also access structure fields using indexing. In this case, each field is assigned an index number based on its position within the structure. The first field has an index of 1, the second has an index of 2, and so on.

To access a specific field using indexing, you need to use curly braces ({}) along with the index number. For example, continuing with our previous example:


This will return the value stored in the first field of the “person” structure, which is the “name” field.


% Define a structure
person = struct('name', 'John Doe', 'age', 30, 'gender', 'Male');

% Accessing fields using indexing
disp(person{1}); % Output: John Doe
disp(person{2}); % Output: 30
disp(person{3}); % Output: Male

Accessing Nested Structure Fields

In MATLAB, structures can also be nested, meaning that a field within a structure can itself be another structure. To access fields within a nested structure, you simply chain together multiple dot notations or indexings.


% Define a nested structure
house.rooms.bedroom.color = 'Blue';
house.size = 'Medium';

% Accessing fields in nested structures using dot notation
disp(house.color); % Output: Blue

% Accessing fields in nested structures using indexing
disp(house{'rooms'}{'bedroom'}{'size'}); % Output: Medium

By understanding how to access data within structures using dot notation and indexing, you can effectively work with and manipulate complex data structures in MATLAB. Whether you need to retrieve specific information or modify certain fields within a structure, these techniques will prove invaluable in your MATLAB programming journey.

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