Interact directly with NetCDF Library


Functions in the MATLAB® netcdf package provide interfaces to dozens of functions in the NetCDF library. The MATLAB functions enable reading data from and writing data to NetCDF files (known as data sets in NetCDF terminology). To use these functions, you should be familiar with the NetCDF C Interface.

MATLAB supports NetCDF version 4.6.1.

In most cases, the syntax of the MATLAB function matches the syntax of the NetCDF library function. The functions are implemented as a package called netcdf. To use these functions, prefix the function name with the package name, netcdf. For example, to call the NetCDF library routine used to open existing NetCDF files, use the following MATLAB syntax:

ncid =,mode);

For copyright information, see the netcdfcopyright.txt and mexnccopyright.txt files.


For information about MATLAB support for the Common Data Format (CDF), which is a completely separate and incompatible format, see cdflib.

Library Functions

netcdf.getChunkCacheRetrieve 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 list of 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 named group
netcdf.inqVarIDsIDs of all variables in group


netcdf.defVarCreate NetCDF variable
netcdf.defVarChunkingDefine chunking behavior for NetCDF variable
netcdf.defVarDeflateDefine compression parameters for NetCDF variable
netcdf.defVarFillDefine fill parameters for NetCDF variable
netcdf.defVarFletcher32Define checksum parameters for NetCDF variable
netcdf.getVarRead data from NetCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarInformation about variable
netcdf.inqVarChunkingDetermine chunking settings for NetCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarDeflateDetermine compression settings for NetCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarFillDetermine values of fill parameters for NetCDF variable
netcdf.inqVarFletcher32Fletcher32 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


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