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NetCDF Files

Network Common Data Form

You can interact with netCDF files in several ways:

  • The Import Tool app (in MATLAB® Online™) and the Import Data Live Editor task provide intuitive, graphical interfaces for exploring and reading data from netCDF files.

  • The MATLAB high-level netCDF functions provide a simplified, text-based interface for reading data from netCDF files and writing variables from the MATLAB workspace into netCDF files.

  • The netCDF library package of low-level functions provides the most control over the reading and writing process of netCDF files by providing access to the routines in the netCDF C library.

MATLAB supports netCDF version 4.9.1.

Live Editor Tasks

Import DataImport data from a file in the Live Editor (Since R2023a)


Import ToolImport data from file


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nccreateCreate variable in netCDF file
ncdispDisplay contents of netCDF data source in Command Window
ncinfo Return information about netCDF data source
ncreadRead data from variable in netCDF data source
ncreadattRead attribute value from netCDF data source
ncwriteWrite data to netCDF file
ncwriteattWrite attribute to netCDF file
ncwriteschemaAdd netCDF schema definitions to netCDF file

Library Functions

netcdf.getChunkCacheRetuen default chunk cache settings for netCDF library
netcdf.inqLibVersReturn NetCDF library version information
netcdf.setChunkCacheSet default chunk cache settings for netCDF library
netcdf.setDefaultFormatChange default netCDF file format

File Operations

netcdf.abortRevert recent netCDF file definitions
netcdf.closeClose netCDF file
netcdf.createCreate new netCDF dataset
netcdf.endDefEnd netCDF file define mode
netcdf.inqReturn information about netCDF file
netcdf.inqFormatDetermine format of NetCDF file
netcdf.inqGrpsRetrieve array of child group IDs
netcdf.inqUnlimDimsReturn IDs of all visible unlimited dimensions in group
netcdf.openOpen NetCDF data source
netcdf.reDefPut open netCDF file into define mode
netcdf.setFillSet netCDF fill mode
netcdf.syncSynchronize netCDF file to disk


netcdf.defDimCreate netCDF dimension
netcdf.inqDimReturn netCDF dimension name and length
netcdf.inqDimIDReturn dimension ID
netcdf.renameDimChange name of netCDF dimension


netcdf.defGrpCreate group in NetCDF file
netcdf.inqDimIDsRetrieve list of dimension identifiers in group
netcdf.inqGrpNameRetrieve name of group
netcdf.inqGrpNameFullComplete pathname of group
netcdf.inqGrpParentRetrieve ID of parent group
netcdf.inqNcidReturn ID of group
netcdf.inqVarIDsReturn IDs of all variables in group


netcdf.defVarFillDefine fill parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.defVarCreate netCDF variable
netcdf.defVarChunkingDefine chunking behavior for netCDF variable
netcdf.defVarDeflateDefine compression parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.defVarFletcher32Define checksum parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.getVarRead data from netCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarInformation about variable
netcdf.inqVarChunkingReturn chunking parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarDeflateReturn compression parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarFillReturn fill parameters for netCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarFletcher32Return Fletcher32 checksum setting for netCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarIDReturn ID associated with variable name
netcdf.putVarWrite data to netCDF variable
netcdf.renameVarChange name of netCDF variable


netcdf.copyAttCopy attribute to new location
netcdf.delAttDelete netCDF attribute
netcdf.getAttReturn NetCDF attribute
netcdf.inqAttReturn information about netCDF attribute
netcdf.inqAttIDReturn ID of netCDF attribute
netcdf.inqAttNameReturn name of netCDF attribute
netcdf.putAttWrite NetCDF attribute
netcdf.renameAttChange name of attribute

User-Defined Types

netcdf.defVlenDefine user-defined variable length array type (NC_VLEN) (Since R2022a)
netcdf.inqUserTypeReturn information about user-defined type (Since R2022a)
netcdf.inqVlenReturn information about user-defined NC_VLEN type (Since R2022a)


netcdf.getConstantReturn numeric value of named constant
netcdf.getConstantNamesReturn list of constants known to netCDF library



Resolve Errors Reading OPeNDAP Data

When you have trouble reading OPeNDAP data, consider these factors.

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