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Find and Replace Text in Files and Go to Location

Find and replace text in the current file or multiple files, automatically rename variables or functions, and go to a location in a file.

Find and Replace Any Text in Current File

You can search for, and optionally replace, any text within a file open in the Editor or Live Editor. To search for text in a file, on the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click Find. You also can use the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut.

In the find and replace dialog box, enter the text that you want to search for and then use the down arrow and up arrow buttons to search forward or backward through the file. You also can use the F3 and Shift+F3 keyboard shortcuts.

To find text that matches the case of the search text, select the match case button. To find an exact full-word match, select the whole word button.

To replace text in the file, click the expand button to the left of the search field to open the replace options. Then, enter the text that you want to replace the search text with and use the replace and replace all buttons to replace the text.

To programmatically search for text in the first comment line of help in all MATLAB® code files found on the search path, use the lookfor function.

Find and Replace Functions or Variables in Current File

In the Editor and Live Editor, you can find all references to a particular function or variable in a file by selecting an instance of that function or variable. When you select an instance, MATLAB automatically highlights all other references of that function or variable in teal blue. In addition, MATLAB adds a marker for each reference in the indicator bar. To see what line number a marker in the indicator bar represents, hover over it. To navigate to the function or variable reference indicated by the marker, click the marker.

Note

If the indicator bar contains a code analyzer marker and a variable marker for the same line, the variable marker takes precedence.

Finding functions and variables using automatic highlighting is more efficient than using text finding tools because when using automatic highlighting, MATLAB only finds references to that particular function or variable, not other occurrences. For example, it does not find instances of the function or variable name in comments. Furthermore, MATLAB only finds references to the same variable. That is, if two variables use the same name, but are in different scopes, highlighting one does not cause the other to highlight.

For example, if you select the first instance of the variable i in the rowTotals function, MATLAB highlights that instance and the two other instances of i. In addition, MATLAB displays three variables markers in the indicator bar.

To disable automatic highlighting of functions and variables, go to the Home tab and in the Environment section, click Preferences. In MATLAB > Colors > Programming Tools, clear the Automatically highlight option.

Automatically Rename All Variables or Functions in a File

You can automatically rename multiple references to a variable or function variable within a file when you rename any of the following:

Variable or Function RenamedExample

Function name in a function declaration

Rename foo in:

function foo(m)

Input or output variable name in a function declaration

(Except varargin and varargout)

Rename y or m in:

function y = foo(m)

Variable name on the left side of assignment statement

(Except global variable names)

Rename y in:

y = 1

When you rename a variable or function, if there is more than one reference to that variable or function in the file, MATLAB prompts you to rename all instances by pressing Shift + Enter. (Typically, multiple references to a function in a file only occur when you use nested functions or local functions.)

To undo automatic name changes, click Undo button once.

Automatic variable and function renaming is enabled by default. To disable it, on the Home tab, in the Environment section, click Preferences. Select MATLAB > Editor/Debugger > Language and in the Language field, select MATLAB. Then, clear the Enable automatic variable and function renaming preference.

In MATLAB Online™, the Enable automatic variable and function renaming preference is located in MATLAB > Editor/Debugger > MATLAB Language.

Find Text in Multiple File Names or Files

You can find folders and file names that include specified text, or whose contents contain specified text using the Find Files dialog box. To open the Find Files dialog box, on the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click Find Drop-down arrow and select Find Files. For more information, see Find Files and Folders.

Go To Location in File

You can go to a specific location in a file, set bookmarks, navigate backward and forward within the file, and open a file or variable from within a file.

Navigate to a Specific Location

This table show how to navigate to a specific location in a file open in the Editor and Live Editor.

Go ToInstructionsNotes

Line Number

On the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click Go To . Select Go to Line... and specify the line that you want to navigate to.

None

Function definition

On the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click Go To . In the Function section, select the local function or nested function that you want to navigate to.

You also can select the file in the Current Folder browser and click the up arrow at the bottom of Current Folder browser to open the Details panel. Then, in the Details panel, double-click the function icon corresponding to the title of the function or local function that you want to navigate to.

Includes local functions and nested functions.

For both class and function files, the functions list in alphabetical order—except that in function files, the name of the main function always appears at the top of the list.

Code Section

On the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click Go To . In the Sections section, select the title of the code section that you want to navigate to.

You also can select the file in the Current Folder browser and click the up arrow at the bottom of Current Folder browser to open the Details panel. Then, in the Details panel, double-click the section icon corresponding to the title of the section that you want to navigate to.

For more information, see Create and Run Sections in Code.

Property

In the Current Folder browser, select the file that you want to navigate through and click the up arrow at the bottom of Current Folder browser to open the Details panel. Then, in the Details panel, double-click the property icon corresponding to the name of the property that you want to navigate to.

For more information, see Ways to Use Properties.

Method

In the Current Folder browser, select the file that you want to navigate through and click the up arrow at the bottom of Current Folder browser to open the Details panel. Then, in the Details panel, double-click the icon corresponding to the name of the method that you want to navigate to.

For more information, see Methods in Class Design.

Bookmark

On the Editor or Live Editor tab, and in the Navigate section, click Bookmark drop-down arrow. Then, select Previous or Next.

For information about setting and clearing bookmarks, see Set Bookmarks.

Note

The Details panel does not display details for live scripts or live functions and is not available in MATLAB Online.

Set Bookmarks

You can set a bookmark at any line in a file in the Editor and Live Editor so that you can quickly navigate to the bookmarked line. This is particularly useful in long files. For example, suppose that while working on a line, you want to look at another part of the file, and then return. Set a bookmark at the current line, go to the other part of the file, and then use the bookmark to return.

To set a bookmark in the Editor and Live Editor, position the cursor on the line that you want to add the bookmark to. Then, go to the Editor or Live Editor tab, and in the Navigate section, click Bookmark. To clear the bookmark, click Bookmark drop-down arrow, and select Set/Clear. You also can click the bookmark icon to the left of the line.

Starting in R2021b, MATLAB maintains bookmarks after you close a file.

Navigate Backward and Forward in Files

In the Editor and Live Editor, you can access lines in a file in the same sequence that you previously navigated or edited them. To navigate backward and forward in sequence, on the Editor or Live Editor tab, in the Navigate section, click the left arrow and right arrow buttons.

Editing a line or navigating to another line using the list of features described in Navigate to a Specific Location interrupts the backward and forward sequence. Once the sequence is interrupted, you can still go to the lines preceding the interruption point in the sequence, but you cannot go to any lines after that point. Any lines that you edit or navigate to after interrupting the sequence are added to the sequence after the interruption point.

For example, open a file containing more than 6 lines and edit lines 2, 4, and 6. Click the left arrow button to return to line 4, and then again to return to line 2. Click the right arrow button to return to line 4. Edit line 3. This interrupts the sequence. You can no longer use the right arrow button to return to line 6. You can, however, click the left arrow button to return to line 2.

Open a File or Variable from Within a File

You can open a function, file, variable, or Simulink® model from within a file in the Editor or Live Editor. Position the cursor on the name, right-click, and select Open selection. The Editor or Live Editor performs a action based on the selection, as described in this table.

Item

Action

Local function

Navigates to the local function within the current file, if that file is a MATLAB code file. If no function by that name exists in the current file, the Editor or Live Editor runs the open function on the selection, which opens the selection in the appropriate tool.

Text file

Opens in the Editor.

Figure file (.fig)

Opens in a figure window.

MATLAB variable that is in the current workspace

Opens in the Variables Editor.

Model

Opens in Simulink.

Other

If the selection is some other type, Open selection looks for a matching file in a private folder in the current folder and performs the appropriate action.

See Also

Related Topics