MATLAB Answers


Why can't MATLAB access a file that is in its current directory?

Asked by Fahad
on 18 Aug 2017
Latest activity Commented on by Steven Lord
on 14 Nov 2019 at 21:59
I am trying to execute a .m script that manipulates data in an Excel file. The MATLAB code and the Excel spreadsheet are in the same directory, which is also the current directory. However, whenever I click 'Run', an error message says that the file could not be found in the current directory or on the MATLAB path. I then went to File>Set Path, clicked 'Add Folder', browsed for the folder that was supposed to be my current directory and pressed Save. Afterwards, I tried again but to no avail. Can someone help me get the file to execute? I have already wasted a week trying to fix this problem. Thanking you in advance. P.S. I am using MATLAB R2008b.


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NEVER save or alter files under the C:\Program Files directory.
That location is reserved for installed programs and apps on your computer. You should be working in your personal user directory.
There's another problem with those files. The ( and ) characters are not allowed in MATLAB script, function, or class names.

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1 Answer

Answer by Guillaume
on 18 Aug 2017

Your screenshots clearly show that the current directory is C:\Program Files\MATLAB. The Program Files directory is a system directory on Windows. Under no circumstances should you put data files such as your m files and excel files in there. Matlab should have created a matlab directory for you in your My Documents folder. Work in there instead.
Recent versions of Windows, such as the one you're using, will actively prevent you putting data in Program Files to the point of lying to you. It may tell you that you've saved a file in there whereas it actually has saved it in a virtual store in another location. This may be the reason matlab can see the files in some circumstances and not others (depends on how it tries to access the files). So as said, put your code and excel file in My Documents
As to reading the Excel file, use the full path of the file instead of just the file name. It'll be more reliable, means the excel file doesn't have to be in the same directory as your code and means you don't have to manipulate matlab's path.

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I've been having this exact problem, thank you so much

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