MATLAB is a versatile scripting-based programming language, widely used for image processing and analysis due to its emphasis on efficient processing of numerical arrays.  It is ideal for creating custom analysis pipelines or developing new algorithms, and it also has the capability for compiling programs into standalone executables with user-friendly interfaces.


  • Widely-used tool for image processing, featured in numerous peer-reviewed publications.
  • Focus on efficient processing of numerical arrays makes it ideal for implementation and development of image processing algorithms.
  • Includes large library of standard image processing tools covering areas including image filtering, segmentation, data acquisition, visualisation and quantification.
  • Compatible with .lif files produced by Leica LAS (requires BioFormats reader – available free online). 


  • Versatile scripting language is ideal for development of image processing routines, providing near limitless scope for new analysis methods.
  • Can be used to create standalone executables, which don’t require a copy of MATLAB to run (requires relevant runtime to be installed; available free online).
  • Constantly updated online repository containing thousands of user-generated image processing routines and algorithms.


  • Relatively steep learning curve compared to other image processing and analysis software.


  • Commercial software requiring a license.
  • Can be installed on University of Bristol computers via Software Center (full MATLAB suite, including all additional toolboxes).
  • Can be installed on personal computers by staff and students (see Additional Information).
  • Available on image processing computers in room C27/U (data analysis suite).  Access to this computer can be booked on PPMS.

Additional information

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