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Signal Types

Summary of Signal Types

You can use many different kinds of signals in a model. The following table summarizes the signal types, and links to sections that describe each type in detail.

Signal TypeDescription
Array of buses An array whose elements are buses. See Combine Buses into an Array of Buses.
Bus (Composite)A Simulink® composite signal made up of other signals, optionally including other bus signals. See Composite (Bus) Signals.
ControlSignal used by one block to initiate execution of another block. For example, a signal that executes a function-call or action subsystem. For details, see Control Signals.
NonvirtualSignal that occupies its own storage. A nonvirtual bus reads inputs and writes outputs by accessing copies of the component signals.


A virtual vector created with a Mux block. See Mux Signals.

Variable-SizeSignal whose size (the number of elements in a dimension), in addition to its values, can change during a model simulation.

Signal that represents another signal or set of signals. A virtual signal is used for graphical purposes and has no functional effect. See Virtual Signals.

Control Signals

A control signal is a signal used by one block to initiate execution of another block. For example, a signal that executes a function-call or action subsystem is a control signal. When you update or simulate a block diagram, Simulink uses a dash-dot pattern to redraw lines representing the control signals.

Composite (Bus) Signals

You can group multiple signals into a hierarchical composite signal, called a bus, route the bus from block to block, and extract constituent signals from the bus where needed. When you have many parallel signals, buses can simplify the appearance of a model and help to clarify generated code. A bus can be either virtual or nonvirtual.

For example, if you open and simulate the busdemo example model, the bus1, bus2, and main_bus signals are bus signals. These virtual bus signals use the triple line style.

For information about buses, see slexBusExample and Buses.

Related Topics