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Arranging the Desktop--Overview

You can modify the desktop configuration to best meet your needs. Because the desktop uses many standard graphical user interface (GUI) conventions, it is easy to learn about arranging the desktop just by using it. If you are not familiar with any of the GUI elements, refer to the overview information and examples in this section.

The desktop manages tools and documents differently. The Command History and Editor/Debugger are examples of tools, and an M-file is an example of a document that appears in the Editor/Debugger tool.

These are the main actions you perform in arranging your desktop tools and documents:

See also Examples of Desktop Arrangements.

Opening and Arranging Tools

This table summarizes actions for arranging desktop tools. For further information, click the "see more details" links, which provide additional information, available only online.

Tool Action
Steps to Perform 
Opening desktop tools
To maximize your work area, keep open only those tools you use. To open a tool, select the tool name from the Desktop menu. Opened tools have a check mark before them in the menu. The tool appears in the location it occupied the last time it was open. The sizes of other tools adjust to accommodate the newly opened tool. See more details online.
Documents and the tools they are associated with can be part of the desktop, but you do not open them via the Desktop menu. Instead, you open a document and it opens the associated tool. See Opening and Arranging Documents.
Navigating among desktop tools

The Window menu displays all open desktop tools and documents, as well as tools for other MathWorks products. Select an entry in the Window menu to go directly to that tool or document. Another way to access an undocked desktop tool is by selecting its entry in the Windows task bar, or the equivalent for your platform. See also Keyboard Shortcuts (Accelerators) and Mnemonics and see more details online.

Closing desktop tools

To close a desktop tool, select the item in the Desktop menu, which clears the check mark in the menu and closes the tool. Or click the Close box (X) in the title bar for the tool. See more details online.

Resizing tools

To resize tools in the MATLAB desktop, drag the separator bar, which is the bar between two tools. You can hide the title bars for tools in the desktop so the tools use less space--select Desktop -> Titles. See more details online.

Moving tools within the desktop

To move a tool in the MATLAB desktop, drag the title bar of the tool toward where you want the tool to be located. As you drag the tool, an outline of it appears. When the outline nears a position where you can keep it, the outline snaps to that location. Release the mouse button. The tool stays at the new location. Other tools in the desktop resize to accommodate the new configuration. The inside edges of the desktop container and tools all act as if they are "sticky," so you can position a tool along any inside edge. See more details online.

Moving tools out of the desktop (undocking)

Move a tool out of the desktop to make it larger or easier to work with. To move a tool outside the MATLAB desktop (called undocking), select the tool to make it active, and then select Desktop -> Undock -> Toolname. The tool appears outside the MATLAB desktop and an entry for it appears in the Windows task bar, or the equivalent for your platform. Tools within the desktop resize accordingly. Another way to undock is by using the Undock button in the tool's title bar. See more details online.

Moving tools into the desktop (docking)

To move a tool that is outside the MATLAB desktop into the desktop, click the Dock button in the tool's menu bar, or select Desktop -> Dock Toolname. See more details online.

Grouping (tabbing) tools together

You can group tools so that they overlay each other in the MATLAB desktop, and then access each tool via its tab. To group tools together, drag the title bar of one tool in the desktop on top of the title bar of another tool in the desktop. To make a tool active, click its tab. See more details online.

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