Add persistent user-defined paths to Matlab and Octave

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Oftentimes we add a “toolbox” to Matlab and we want to use functions from that toolbox without adding the path over and over in functions. Here’s how to make those paths persistent in Matlab and Octave, using example toolbox directories ~/mypkg1 and ~/mypkg2.

Normally use addpath() instead of cd(). Do not put brackets or braces around the multiple paths.

  1. (Octave only): configure ~/.octaverc to share startup.m with Matlab.
  2. Prepend your path(s) by adding to file ~/Documents/MATLAB/startup.m
    addpath('~/mypkg1','~/mypkg2')
    
  3. restart Matlab/Octave and type
    path
    

    and you should see your new toolbox directories at the top.

Notes

Matlab doesn’t autoload startup.m

You may have an older version of Matlab that doesn’t automatically load from ~/Documents/MATLAB/startup.m. Fix this by adding to ~/.bashrc

export MATLAB_USE_USERWORK=1

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