How do I rename fields of a structure array?

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John Petersen
John Petersen on 17 Mar 2016
Answered: Jan on 8 Jun 2022 at 21:04
Say I have a structure array such as
A =
1x49 struct array with fields:
How do I rename the structure fields? Such as
A =
1x49 struct array with fields:
  1 Comment
Eduardo on 6 May 2020
Dear MATLAB reps, I hope that the myriad of workarounds from user answers for something that should be extremely simple prompts you to do something about your product. It's the little things.

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Answers (7)

Jos (10584)
Jos (10584) on 17 Mar 2016
There is a somewhat hidden function called renameStructField, that can do the job, perhaps within a loop.
Or use dynamic field names and copy the fields into a new structure. This makes code quite readable and bug proof.
oldnames = {'a','b','c'}
newnames = {'aa','test','cXY'}
for k=1:number(oldnames)
Snew.(newnames{k}) = Sold.(oldnames{k}) ;

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Sriram Nayak
Sriram Nayak on 18 Apr 2020
function structOut = renamefield(structIn, oldField, newField)
for i = 1:length(structIn)
structIn = setfield(structIn,{i},newField,getfield(structIn(i),oldField));
structOut = rmfield(structIn,oldField);

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 17 Mar 2016
struct2cell( cell2struct(A), {'aa', 'ba', 'ca', 'da'})
Christian Svensson
Christian Svensson on 27 Nov 2019
I encountered this problem recently, for completeness I'll add my solution. Assuming that you want to add the same suffix to all fieldnames, you can use
cell2struct(struct2cell(A), strcat(fieldnames(A), 'a'))
Note that fieldnames and struct2cell return the field names and the values in the same order, so no sorting is needed.

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Jos (10584)
Jos (10584) on 18 Mar 2016
You can use DEAL and a for-loop to change fieldnames:
% create a structure array, with different fields
for k=1:10,
Sold(k) = struct('a',k,'b',1:k','c',sprintf('test%02d',k)) ;
% engine
oldnames = {'a','b','c'}
newnames = {'aa','test','cXY'}
N = numel(Sold)
for k=1:numel(oldnames)
[Snew(1:N).(newnames{k})] = deal(Sold.(oldnames{k})) ;

Stephen23 on 17 Mar 2016
Edited: Stephen23 on 17 Mar 2016
Here is a robust four-line solution that works for a non-scalar structure. It uses a Map container to ensure that the fieldnames are correctly allocated, no matter what order they occur in within the old structure:
map = containers.Map({'a','b','c'},{'aNew','bNew','cNew'});
Here is a 1x3 structure to rename the fields of (the field order is not important):
old = struct('c',{7,8,9}, 'a',{1,2,3}, 'b',{4,5,6});
and the code itself to create a new structure:
tmp = reshape(values(map,fieldnames(old)),1,[]);
tmp(2,:) = num2cell(permute(struct2cell(old),[3,1,2]),1);
new = reshape(struct(tmp{:}),size(old));
Checking it in the command window:
>> old
old =
1x3 struct array with fields:
>> [old.b]
ans =
4 5 6
>> new
new =
1x3 struct array with fields:
>> [new.bNew]
ans =
4 5 6

Teresa Martinez
Teresa Martinez on 26 May 2021
Create new fields with the same data:
A.aa = A.a; = A.b;
and remove the old ones:
A = rmfield(A,'a');
A = rmfield(A,'b');

Jan on 8 Jun 2022 at 21:04
Although this thread is old, it has a lot of views and it is worth to mention this implementation as fast C-Mex:

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