Create content-obscured, executable files




pcode(fun) obfuscates the code in fun.m and produces a file called fun.p, known as a P-file. If fun is a folder, then all the script or function files in that folder are obfuscated in P-files. MATLAB® creates the P-files in the current folder. The original .m file or folder can be anywhere on the search path.

pcode(fun1,...,funN) creates N P-files from the listed files. If any inputs are folders, then MATLAB creates a P-file for every .m file the folders contain.

pcode(fun,'-inplace') creates P-files in the same folder as the script or function files.


  • The pcode function obfuscates your code files, it does not encrypt them. While the content in a .p file is difficult to understand, it should not be considered secure. It is not recommended that you P-code files to protect your intellectual property.

  • The pcode function does not support live scripts or live functions (.mlx).

Input Arguments


MATLAB file or directory containing MATLAB files. If fun resides within a package and/or class folder, then pcode creates the same package and/or class structure to house the resulting P-files.

An input argument with no file extension and that is not a folder must be a function in the MATLAB path or in the current folder.

When using wild cards *, pcode ignores all files with extensions other than .m.


collapse all

Convert selected files from the sparfun folder into P-files.

Create a temporary folder and define an existing path to .m files.

tmp = tempname;
fun = fullfile(matlabroot,'toolbox','matlab','sparfun','spr*.m');

Create the P-files.

.            ..           sprand.p     sprandn.p    sprandsym.p  sprank.p     

The temporary folder now contains encoded P-files.

Generate P-files from input files that are part of a package and/or class. This example uses an existing MATLAB example class.

Define funclass as an existing a class folder that contains .m files.

funclass = fullfile(docroot, 'techdoc', 'matlab_oop', ...
    'examples', '@BankAccount')
funclass =

C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2013a\help\techdoc\matlab_oop\examples\@BankAccount

.              ..             BankAccount.m  

Create a temporary folder. This folder has no package or class structure at this time.

tmp = tempname;
.            .. 

Create a P-file for every .m file in the path funclass. Because the input files are part of a package and/or class, MATLAB creates a folder structure so that the output file belongs to the same package and/or class.

.             ..            @BankAccount 

You see that the P-file resides in the same folder structure.

.              ..             BankAccount.p  

Generate P-files in the same folder as the input files using the option inplace.

Copy several MATLAB files to a temporary folder.

fun = fullfile(matlabroot,'toolbox','matlab','sparfun','spr*.m');
tmp = tempname;
.            ..           sprand.m     sprandn.m    sprandsym.m  sprank.m 

Create P-files in the same folder as the original.m files.

.            sprand.m     sprandn.m    sprandsym.m  sprank.m     
..           sprand.p     sprandn.p    sprandsym.p  sprank.p  


  • The pcode algorithm was redesigned in MATLAB 7.5 (Release R2007b). If your P-file was generated prior to MATLAB 7.5, it will not run in MATLAB 8.6 (Release R2015b) or later. Files generated in 7.5, or later versions, cannot run in MATLAB 7.4 or earlier.

  • When obfuscating all files in a folder, pcode does not obfuscate any files within subfolders.

  • A P-file takes precedence over the corresponding MATLAB code file (.m) for execution, even after modifications to the code file.

  • MATLAB does not display any of the help comments that might be in the original MATLAB code file (.m).

Introduced before R2006a