MAT (.mat)

Matrix data format.
Native data format of the MATLAB numerical computation software.
Stores numerical matrices, Boolean values, or strings.
Binary format.
MAT Level 4 files are compatible with MATLAB Version 4 and lower, while MAT 5 files are compatible with MATLAB Version 5 and higher versions.
  • Import fully supports Versions 4 and 5 of the MAT format.
  • When appropriate, numerical data is imported as SparseArray objects.
  • Export generates MAT 4 files.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file.mat"] imports a MAT-file, returning an array.
  • Export["file.mat", expr] exports any numeric array to a MAT-file.
  • Import["file.mat"] returns a multidimensional array containing numbers, strings, or Boolean values.
  • Export["file.mat", expr] creates a MAT-file from an array of integers or doubles.
  • Import["file.mat", elem] imports the specified element from a MAT-file.
  • Import["file.mat", {elem, suba, subb, ...}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.mat", {{elem1, elem2, ...}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The import format can be specified with Import["file", "MAT"] or Import["file", {"MAT", elem, ...}].
  • Export["file.mat", expr, elem] creates a MAT-file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.mat", {expr1, expr2, ...}, {{elem1, elem2, ...}}] treats each as specifying the corresponding .
  • Export["file.mat", expr, opt1->val1, ...] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file.mat", {elem1->expr1, elem2->expr2, ...}, "Rules"] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the MAT format.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation element:
  • "Data"numerical or textual data given as a multidimensional array
    "LabeledData"data given as a list of rules
  • Import and Export use the element by default.
  • Meta-information element:
  • "Comments"user comments stored in the file
    "Labels"dataset names given as a list of strings

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples (4)Basic Examples (4)

This imports a simple MAT-file:

Click for copyable input

List available Import elements

Click for copyable input

Import raw meta-information from this file:

Click for copyable input

Export a numerical matrix:

Click for copyable input

Export a few named datasets and import the resulting file:

Click for copyable input
Click for copyable input

Export a named dataset using element specifications:

Click for copyable input
New in 5.1 | Last modified in 8
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