There are two ways in VC++ to call MATLAB:

  1. distribute MATLAB code into MATLAB independent C++ shared library. Refer to the previous blog for details.

  2. call MATLAB directly in VC++.

This blog will focus on the second approach (also the easier one).


  • Install MATLAB: unlike the first method, make sure you have the whole MATLAB application installed in order to call MATLAB directly in VC++ (only MATLAB Compiler Runtime is needed for the first method). We will take MATLAB-x64-R2013a as an example (installed under C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a).
  • Platform consistence: the platforms of MATLAB and VC++ compile platform must be the same, i.e. Win32/x86 VC++ compile platform can only use x86 MATLAB and x64 VC++ compile platform can only use x64 MATLAB.
  • Example: take the following example myadd2.m (assume under C:\):

    function [y, z] = myadd2(a, b)
    % dummy function, just to demonstrate the idea
    y = a+b;
    z = a+2*b;
    disp('Output from MATLAB.');

VC setup:

  1. Add MATLAB include folder to project Include files: i.e. C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a\extern\include
  2. Add MATLAB library folder to project Library files: i.e. C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a\extern\lib\win64\microsoft
  3. Add relevant libraries to Linker>Input>Additional Dependencies: libmx.lib libeng.lib
  4. Add MATLAB Compiler Runtime binary folder to project Debugging>Environment: i.e. PATH=%PATH%;$(ProjectDir)\dlls_x64;C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a\runtime\win64;C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a\bin\win64
  5. Add header to main code: #include "engine.h"
  6. Call in VC++: refer to VC_call_MATLAB_directly.cpp for details.

    In this cpp file, there are also ways to handle data passing of different types between VC++ and MATLAB (see the SHOW_EXTEND_INFO part), which includes:

    • double (or int/float/…)
    • string
    • matrix
    • gray-scale image
    • RGB image

Other Remarks:

  1. If engOpen(NULL) always returns 0 or NULL, you should register MATLAB first by1

    • Run DOS in admin mode.
    • In DOS, go to MATLAB install folder that contains matlab.exe, e.g. D:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2014b\bin.
    • Run command: ./matlab.exe /regserver.

    Note: it seems that given MATLAB can not both register both x86 & x64 (e.g. can only register MATLAB-2015b-x86 or MATLAB-2015b-x64, but not both). On the other hand, if we do want both x86 and x64 modes, we can install one MATLAB for one mode and one for another, e.g. MATLAB-2015b-x86 and MATLAB-2014b-x64.

  2. Try to close the previous MATLAB window first (extra command window) if stuck at engOpen(NULL).