MATLAB 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

Software catalogue

Explore our other software packages.

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.

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