Configuring the MATLAB R2012b Desktop 5

Posted by Guy Rouleau,

As you probably know by now, a lot of changes happened in MATLAB R2012b.

As with everything, changes in our environment or with what we are used to requires adaptation. To help you with this, I will show you how I have adapted the MATLAB desktop for my common Simulink workflows.

The Quick Access Toolbar

In R2012b, the Toolstrip was introduced. You have to admit, this give a nice modern look to MATLAB!

The MATLAB Toolstrip

After using it for a few days, I realized that most of my work is done using only a few buttons from different tabs. So instead of continuously switching between tabs to click the few buttons I use, I decided to minimize the toolstrip and add the functions I use to the Quick Access Toolbar.

For example, I added the Simulink Library by right-clicking on the icon in the Toolstrip and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Adding to the Quick Access Toolbar

After adding my commonly used buttons and shortcuts, here is how my Quick Access Toolbar looks like:

My Quick Access Toolbar

If you are curious about what type of custom shortcuts I use, let me know!

My Desktop - MATLAB Configuration

With the Toolstrip and Quick Access Toolbar setup, here is what my desktop look like most of the time:

My MATLAB R2012b Desktop click to enlarge

Next Step

In the configuration shown above, there are still two settings for which I have not made a final choice:

  • Position of the Quick Access Bar
  • Position of the Address bar

The options for positioning those two toolbars are described by David Garrison in this post The MATLAB R2012b Desktop - Part 2: Customizing the R2012b MATLAB Desktop.

Let me know if you have suggestions for those!

My Desktop - Simulink Configuration

Some days, I know I will spend a lot of time developing a large Simulink model. In that case, I like to take the time to arrange things differently.

To avoid Atl-Tabbing between the MATLAB Desktop and the Simulink Editor, I like to undock the MATLAB prompt and an editor window. That way I can easily access the prompt if I need to quickly evaluate something, and type notes or possible values for variables in the editor. Here is what it typically looks like:

My desktop when developing Simulink models click to enlarge

Now it's your turn

How do you configure your desktop? Do you take advantage of the customization features to optimize your workflow? Let us know by leaving a comment here.

5 CommentsOldest to Newest

wei replied on : 1 of 5

@Guy, 1) Is it possible with older style short cut where a few letters are allowed? In your example of several single letters there is not much a hint for determining which is which.
2) The online document seems to be worse. It is very hard to locate info. It’s very hard to cross reference on a topic. The left panel with doc tree is very helpful. Is there a way to read doc old style?


1. Yes it is possible. For each shortcut you have the option to display the label or not. I personally prefer to hide the label to get room for more shortcuts, but I am the only one knowing what are my shortcuts.

2. Thank you for your comment, I forwarded it to our development team. It took me some time adapting to the new documentation, but after using it for a few months I am getting used. I found out that opening pages in new tabs is very useful.

It is not possible to read the documentation “old style”.

Bob replied on : 3 of 5

Hi guy, I have a couple of months follow you, you are able to do awesome things with simulink,I started to process images in simulink 5 months ago, I can’t imagine what I could do with the new characteristics of it, well I was wondering if you can give me a tip to solve a problem, its just to go on more quickly in an school project, basically I’m interested in do the first example from the next web page into SIMULINK.

I know, that I should use embedded matlab function, but my question is how should I declare the inputs in the embedded matlab editor? I’m really lost.

continuous working as until now, greetings from Mexico!!!

Han Geerligs replied on : 4 of 5

Hi Guy,

it would be nice if I would be able to dock a search window.

In this way it is possible to select an occurrence of the search without having to layout the Simulink window and the search dialog. Maximum screen estate would be preserved.


Chad Gilbert replied on : 5 of 5

Hi Guy,

I add shortcuts to my MATLAB window programmatically by reading which project directories my current MATLAB instance has access to and then calling a few “awtinvoke”s. This lets me switch between machines at any time, immediately see which project repositories I have available on each, and easily switch between those projects. When I clone a project to another computer – voila! There it is in my shortcuts bar (after MATLAB restarts).

Is there a way for me to programmatically add those shortcuts to the Quick Access bar, so that I can leave that big fat ribbon minimized, like you’ve done above?

And since we’re at it, is there a way to automatically minimize the ribbon using my startup.m?



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