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Deploy MATLAB Function to .NET Application Using MATLAB Data API for .NET

Supported .NET Version: .NET 6.0 or higher

This example shows how to package a MATLAB® function and deploy it with a .NET application written in C#. The workflow is supported on Windows®, Linux®, and macOS systems. This example uses a workflow based on Windows.

Since R2023a, .NET applications with packaged MATLAB code can be developed and published across Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms. This means it's possible to develop on any one of these platforms and publish to any of the other two. Prior to that release, .NET applications could only be published from Windows to Linux and macOS.

Note that while development and publishing can happen on any platform, there may still be platform-specific nuances and issues. Some libraries or functionalities might behave differently on different platforms, and developers should test their applications thoroughly on the target platform to ensure expected behavior.


  • Create a new work folder that is visible to the MATLAB search path. This example uses a folder named work.

  • Verify that you have set up a .NET development environment. For details, see Setting Up .NET Development Environment.

  • Verify that you have met all of the MATLAB .NET target requirements. For details, see MATLAB Compiler SDK .NET Target Requirements.

  • End users must have an installation of MATLAB Runtime to run the application. For details, see Install and Configure MATLAB Runtime.

    For testing purposes, you can use an installation of MATLAB instead of MATLAB Runtime.

  • Verify that you have .NET 6.0 SDK or higher or Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2022 (v17.0 or higher) installed. You can verify whether .NET 6.0 is installed by entering dotnet --info at a system command prompt. You can download a .NET SDK version specific to your operating system from

Data Management

To exchange data between the deployed MATLAB code and the .NET application, use the MATLAB Data API for .NET. This API is also used by MATLAB Engine. For an overview, see Call MATLAB from .NET. For details, see:

Create MATLAB Function

Create a MATLAB file named calculateDistance.m with the following code:

function distance = calculateDistance(p1, p2)
    % This function calculates the Euclidean distance between two points
    % Inputs:
    %   p1 - a two-element vector [x, y]
    %   p2 - a two-element vector [x, y]
    % Output:
    %   distance - the Euclidean distance between p1 and p2
    % Use arguments block to map C# type to corresponding MATLAB type
    % Int64[] <--> (1,2) int64 {mustBeReal}
    arguments (Input)
        p1 (1,2) int64 {mustBeReal}
        p2 (1,2) int64 {mustBeReal}

    arguments (Output)
        distance (1,1) int64 {mustBeReal}
    % Calculte Euclidean distance
    diff = p1 - p2;
    diffSq = diff.^2;
    sumSq = sum(diffSq);
    distance = sqrt(sumSq);

Established MATLAB users may find the presence of an arguments block unconventional. The arguments block lets you represent C# data types with an equivalent MATLAB type. For instance, if your C# application employs an Int64 data type representing a value, you can now represent that in MATLAB as an int64. This option is useful in situations where a C# application has strict type requirements. For details, see Data Type Mappings Between .NET and Strongly Typed MATLAB Code.

In this example, an arguments block with specified type information is used to illuminate subtle nuances. However, remember that incorporating an arguments block is entirely optional. The deployment process remains unchanged even without it. Various parts of this example underscore the areas where this difference manifests. So, if data types aren't crucial, the specification of type information using an arguments block is not necessary.

Test the MATLAB function at the command prompt.

p1 = int64([0, 0])
p2 = int64([3 4])
distance = calculateDistance(p1,p2)
p1 =
  1×2 int64 row vector
   0   0
p2 =
  1×2 int64 row vector
   3   4
distance =

Create .NET Assembly Using

Create a code archive (.ctf file), from the MATLAB function using the function.

buildResults ="calculateDistance.m", Interface="matlab-data",...
    Verbose="on", OutputDir=".\output", AssemblyName="CalculateDistance")

Although supplying an assembly name via the AssemblyName property isn't mandatory, it's highly recommended. Doing so results in a cleaner namespace for the generated .NET assembly and C# file. In its absence, a root namespace named example is automatically appended to the sub-namespace, leading to a cluttered and potentially confusing namespace structure.

The function produces a suite of files, as enumerated below, and places them in the specified output directory. Among these, the key files utilized during the integration process are the code archive (.ctf file) containing the MATLAB code, a C# (.cs) code file, and a .NET assembly (.dll file). For information on the other files, see Files Generated After Packaging MATLAB Functions.

│   CalculateDistance.csproj
│   CalculateDistance.ctf
│   CalculateDistance.deps.json
│   CalculateDistance.dll
│   GettingStarted.html
│   includedSupportPackages.txt
│   mccExcludedFiles.log
│   readme.txt
│   requiredMCRProducts.txt
│   unresolvedSymbols.txt

To finalize integration, you can choose one of two options:

  • Use the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file in conjunction with the calculateDistance.cs C# code file.

  • Use the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file in conjunction with the CalculateDistance.dll .NET assembly file.

Upon inspection, you notice that the function also generates a CalculateDistance.csproj project file. This file is generated specifically to create the corresponding CalculateDistance.dll .NET assembly file. However, it should not be mistaken as a template for your .NET project and must not be used in that context.

This example employs the first integration option to illustrate type mapping mechanics. Relevant guidance for using the second option is interjected at pertinent stages of the workflow.

You can inspect the content of the C# code file below:


In the calculateDistance.cs C# code file, the MATLAB function's int64 argument specification mirrors its C# equivalent, Int64.

    arguments (Input)
        p1 (1,2) int64 {mustBeReal}
        p2 (1,2) int64 {mustBeReal}
Int64[] p1, 
Int64[] p2 )
    arguments (Output)
        distance (1,1) int64 {mustBeReal}
public static void calculateDistance(
            MATLABProvider _matlab, Int64[] p1, Int64[] p2, out Int64 distance)
            dynamic _dynMatlab = _matlab;
            distance = (Int64)_dynMatlab.calculateDistance(
                new RunOptions(nargout: 1), p1, p2);

When an arguments block detailing type information is not included in your MATLAB function, it results in the production of the following C# code file:

 calculateDistance.cs (Type Agnostic)

The primary difference between the C# code files rests in the type specification for input and output variables. When an arguments block is used with type information specified, the inputs and outputs are categorized as Int64. Conversely, when an arguments block with type information is absent:

  • The inputs to the C# method must be of a type that the MATLAB function can handle. They are represented as having dynamic type in the C# code file. For mapping details, see Pass .NET Data Types to MATLAB Functions.

  • In the C# code file, outputs from the MATLAB function are cast to types such as MATLABArray, MATLABObject, or MATLABStruct, depending on the function's return value. These must then be assigned to a corresponding C# type. If you use an incorrect type, a System.InvalidCastException is thrown. For mapping details, see Handle MATLAB Data in .NET Applications.

The process of specifying input and output types often involves a considerable amount of referencing and educated guessing. Consequently, employing an arguments block containing type information can eliminate this ambiguity, thereby streamlining the development of C# applications that incorporate packaged MATLAB functions.


The generated component does not include MATLAB Runtime or an installer. To create an installer using the buildResults object, see compiler.package.installer.

Integrate MATLAB Code into .NET Application

You can finalize the integration process in your preferred C# development environment, including a text editor along with the .NET SDK Command Line API, or alternatives such as Microsoft Visual Studio on Windows and macOS. This example shows you how to complete the integration using both options. For details, see Setting Up .NET Development Environment.

Use .NET SDK Command Line API to Build Application

If you are using Microsoft Visual Studio, see Use Microsoft Visual Studio to Build Application (Windows).

  1. Open the command prompt in Windows and navigate to the work folder being used in this example.

  2. At the command line, enter:

    dotnet new console --framework net6.0 --name DistanceConsoleApp

    This command creates a folder named DistanceConsoleApp that contains the following:

    • obj folder

    • DistanceConsoleApp.csproj project file

    • Program.cs C# source file

  3. Copy the following files produced by the function to the project folder created by dotnet new, alongside the Program.cs C# application code file:

    • .cs C# wrapper files from the ...\work\output\strongly_typed_interface\ directory.

    • CalculateDistance.ctf code archive from the ...\work\output directory.

  4. Edit the project to add assembly dependencies and the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file generated by the function.

    1. Open the project file in a text editor and include the following assemblies using a <Reference> tag within the <ItemGroup> tag of the project:

      • MathWorks.MATLAB.Runtime.dll

      • MathWorks.MATLAB.Types.dll

       Windows Paths

       Linux and macOS Paths


      If you use the CalculateDistance.dll .NET assembly generated by the function instead of the C# code file, include that as a reference within the same <ItemGroup> tag.

    2. Include the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file as a content file to the project.

      • Add the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file as a content file within the <ItemGroup> tag.

      • Add the tag CopyToOutputDirectory and set it to Always. This step ensures that the CalculateDistance.ctf file is copied to the output folder during the build process. This means that when you build your project, this file is in the same directory as your built .exe file.

      • Add the tag CopyToPublishDirectory and set it to Always. This step ensures that the CalculateDistance.ctf file is copied to the cross-platform folder to which this project is published.

    Once you add the assembly dependencies and include CalculateDistance.ctf as a content file, your project file looks like the following:

     DistanceConsoleApp.csproj (Windows)

     DistanceConsoleApp.csproj (Linux)

     DistanceConsoleApp.csproj (macOS)


    If you choose to use the CalculateDistance.dll .NET assembly—generated by—over the C# code file, remember to uncomment the reference tags to the CalculateDistance.dll in the project file. This change ensures your project correctly uses the .dll file.

  5. Replace the code in the Program.cs C# file with the following code:



    While developing and operating on macOS systems, transition the code from the Main method into a new function named MainFunc. Subsequently, invoke MATLABRuntime.SetupMacRunLoopAndRun from within the Main method and pass MainFunc along with the command-line arguments as parameters. MATLABRuntime.SetupMacRunLoopAndRun is integral for macOS environments because it lets MATLAB interact with the Core Foundation Run Loop (CFRunLoop), a macOS-specific mechanism for handling events such as user inputs or timer events. For details, see MathWorks.MATLAB.Runtime.MATLABRuntime.

    When an arguments block detailing type information is not included in your MATLAB function, your C# application code must be written as follows:

     Program.cs (Type Agnostic)

    In the C# application code, when there isn't an arguments block detailing type information, you'll observe that the inputs are often specified as double. While this is not a default setting, it's a practical choice since the default data type in MATLAB is a double. However, it's important to note that other types such as Int64 or Int32 could also be suitable depending on the specific requirements of your application, provided that the MATLAB function can handle these input types. The output variable distance is set to a dynamic type. This adaptable type is designed to inherit the type of MATLABArray as it is the return type of the MATLAB function. Following this assignment, distance is cast as a C# double for use within your program.

    Incorporating explicit type information within your MATLAB function using an arguments block can help eliminate assumptions about data types. This practice not only increases clarity but also enhances the robustness of your code by reducing potential type mismatch errors.

  6. At the command line, build your project by entering:

    dotnet build DistanceConsoleApp.csproj

Run C# Application

For testing purposes, you can run the application from MATLAB command prompt. This does not require a MATLAB Runtime installation.

At the MATLAB command prompt, navigate to the directory containing the executable, and run your application by entering:

!dotnet run

The application displays the Euclidean distance between two points.

Euclidean distance between [0, 0] and [3, 4] is: 5


When you're ready to deploy this application, ensure the target system has MATLAB Runtime installed. For details, see Install and Configure MATLAB Runtime. On Linux and macOS systems, you must set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH and DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH runtime paths respectively, prior to running your application. For details, see Set MATLAB Runtime Path for Deployment.

Use Microsoft Visual Studio to Build Application (Windows)

  1. Open Microsoft Visual Studio and create a C# Console App named DistanceConsoleApp.

  2. Choose .NET 6.0 (Long-term support) as the framework.

  3. Swap out the default-generated source code in the Program.cs file with the specific source code provided in the Program.cs file found on this example page.

  4. Choose one of two options:

    • To incorporate the calculateDistance.cs C# code file generated by the function, navigate to Solution Explorer, right-click your project, and select Add > Existing Item. Use the dialog box to find and add the calculateDistance.cs C# code file.

    • If you prefer to use the CalculateDistance.dll .NET assembly produced by the function, right-click your solution in Solution Explorer and choose Edit Project File. Here, you'll need to add a reference to the CalculateDistance.dll file within the existing <ItemGroup> tag.

    View one of the above-listed project files as a reference.

  5. Add the following assembly dependencies:

    • MathWorks.MATLAB.Runtime.dll

    • MathWorks.MATLAB.Types.dll

     Location of Assembly Dependencies

  6. Add the CalculateDistance.ctf code archive file as a content file to the project. Right-click your project in Solution Explorer and select Add > Existing Item. In the dialog box, browse for the file and add the file.

  7. Right-click the CalculateDistance.ctf file in Solution Explorer and select Properties. In the Properties window, set Build Action to Content and Copy to Output Directory to Copy always.

  8. Right-click your project in Solution Explorer and select Edit Project File. The DistanceConsoleApp.csproj project file opens in the editor. Add the <CopyToPublishDirectory> tag right below the <CopyToOutputDirectory> tag and set it to Always. The edited portion of the DistanceConsoleApp.csproj project file looks as follows:

        <Content Include="CalculateDistance.ctf">

  9. On the menu bar, choose Build and choose Build Solution to build the application within Visual Studio.

    The build process generates an executable named DistanceConsoleApp.exe.

  10. Run the application from Visual Studio by pressing Ctrl+F5. Alternatively, you can execute the generated executable from a system terminal:

    > cd C:\work\DistanceConsoleApp\DistanceConsoleApp\bin\Debug\net6.0
    > DistanceConsoleApp.exe

    The application returns the same output as the sample MATLAB code.

    Euclidean distance between [0, 0] and [3, 4] is: 5


    If you are unable to run your application from Visual Studio, open the Developer Command Prompt for Visual Studio and start Visual Studio by entering devenv /useenv. Then, open your project and run your application.

Publish to Linux and macOS


Before R2023a: Applications can only be published from Windows to Linux and macOS.

  • To publish the application to Linux, enter the following command on a single line at the system command prompt:

    dotnet publish --configuration Release --framework net6.0 
      --runtime linux-x64 --self-contained true DistanceConsoleApp.csproj

  • To publish application to macOS, enter the following command on a single line:

    dotnet publish --configuration Release --framework net6.0 
      --runtime osx.12-x64 --self-contained true DistanceConsoleApp.csproj

To publish to a specific platform, use the appropriate Runtime Identifier (RID). For details, see

Publish from Visual Studio

For details on how to set up publishing from Visual Studio, see the .NET documentation. Once setup is complete, edit your publish profile to contain the following settings:

  • Set Configuration to Release | Any CPU.

  • Set Target framework to net6.0.

  • Set Deployment mode to Self-contained.

  • Set Target runtime to linux-x64 or osx-x64.

  • Leave Target location unchanged or set it to a location of your choice.

Run Published Application on Linux

  1. Copy the Release folder from C:\work\DistanceConsoleApp\bin on Windows to ~/work on a Linux machine. Create a work folder on Linux if one does not already exist.

  2. On the Linux machine, verify that you have installed MATLAB Runtime and set up your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. For details, see Install and Configure MATLAB Runtime and Set MATLAB Runtime Path for Deployment.

  3. Open a Linux console and navigate to:

  4. Add execute permissions to the Linux executable:

    chmod +x DistanceConsoleApp

  5. Run the application by entering:

    Euclidean distance between [0, 0] and [3, 4] is: 5

Follow similar steps to run the application on macOS.


You can use .NET Framework version 4.6.1 or higher to implement this example. However, you cannot deploy the example across platforms. Also, .NET Framework has no command-line interface.

See Also

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