Getting MATLAB at Stanford

There are several ways in which you can do this:

(1) Students can buy the program from the Stanford Bookstore for about US$100. It works in all platforms.

(2) MATLAB is available at the library and dorm clusters.

(3) You can also access MATLAB remotely through the Stanford network.

MAC/Unix users: Open a terminal window (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and say “ssh –X” where the username is your SUNET ID. When prompted for a password, enter your SUNET password. Once logged in to the server, type module load matlab on the prompt, hit enter, and then type and execute the command matlab to start MATLAB remotely (all GUI (graphics) windows will show up on your computer even though the actual program is running on the server).

Windows users: For command-line access only (no graphics windows like plots),

·         Install SecureCRT/SecureFX (bundled together) from These will allow you to open SSH sessions on the server and let you transfer files to/from the server, respectively.

·         To start an SSH session, start the SecureCRT program. Click on “Quick Connect” in the File menu. In the dialog box that opens, the Protocol should be SSH2, Hostname should be “”, Port should be 22, Firewall should be “None” and the Username should be your SUNETID. When you click on “Connect”, you will be prompted for a password – enter your SUNET password here and click OK to start the SSH session.

·         Once an SSH session is opened and you are logged into the server, simply type “matlab” on the prompt to start the MATLAB command line.

·         Note that you can write code separately and save it in .m files which can then be run from the MATLAB command line. (Example: If your program is stored in test.m in the current directory, saying “test” on the MATLAB command line will run the program/script.)

·         To transfer files to/from the server, open the SecureFX program and follow the steps as for SecureCRT above (except the Protocol which should be SFTP in this case). Once logged in, you should be able to browse your home folder on the server on the right side and browse your computer on the left side. Just dragging files from one side to the other will transfer them to/from the server.

For remote GUI sessions (with graphics and plots) on Windows you will need to install Cygwin. Please visit for a step by step explanation. (Note that this is known to not work sometimes. In that case, you might have to use method (2) above.)

NOTE: If you are off campus, you should also get a VPN client to get you past the firewalls. Please visit the following page:


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