Programming 
Creating strings in a regular MATLAB array requires that all strings in the array be of the same length. This often means that you have to pad blanks at the end of strings to equalize their length. However, another type of MATLAB array, the cell array, can hold different sizes and types of data in an array without padding. Cell arrays provide a more flexible way to store strings of varying length.
For details on cell arrays, see Cell Arrays.
Converting to a Cell Array of Strings
The cellstr
function converts a character array into a cell array of strings. Consider the character array
Each row of the matrix is padded so that all have equal length (in this case, 13 characters).
Now use cellstr
to create a column vector of cells, each cell containing one of the strings from the data
array:
Note that the cellstr
function strips off the blanks that pad the rows of the input string matrix:
The iscellstr
function determines if the input argument is a cell array of strings. It returns a logical 1
(true
) in the case of celldata
:
Use char
to convert back to a standard padded character array:
Functions for Cell Arrays of Strings
This table describes the MATLAB functions for working with cell arrays.
Function 
Description 
cellstr 
Convert a character array to a cell array of strings. 
char 
Convert a cell array of strings to a character array. 
deblank 
Remove trailing blanks from a string. 
iscellstr 
Return true for a cell array of strings. 
sort 
Sort elements in ascending or descending order. 
strcat 
Concatenate strings. 
strcmp 
Compare strings. 
strmatch 
Find possible matches for a string. 
You can also use the following set
functions with cell arrays of strings.
Function 
Description 

Set the intersection of two vectors. 

Detect members of a set. 

Return the set difference of two vectors. 

Set the exclusive OR of two vectors. 

Set the union of two vectors. 

Set the unique elements of a vector. 
Characters and Strings  String Comparisons 
© 19942005 The MathWorks, Inc.