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GUIDE to App Designer Migration Tool for MATLAB

Use the GUIDE to App Designer Migration tool to help transition your GUIDE apps to App Designer.


Updated 10 Mar 2021

Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

R2020a is the recommended release for migrating apps to App Designer.

Starting with R2020a, improvements to the migration tool significantly reduce the time and the number of manual code updates required to get your app running in App Designer. The improvements help make your GUIDE-style callback code compatible with the App Designer UI components in your migrated app. Whereas with releases R2018a through R2019b, you must manually update all your functions and callback code to work with App Designer.
For more details about the latest version of the migration tool, see GUIDE Migration Strategies ( in the MATLAB documentation.

*** Background ***
In R2019b, MathWorks announced that the GUIDE design environment for building apps in MATLAB will be removed in a future release. GUIDE is built on older third-party technologies that cannot support the modern web-based workflows and features that MATLAB users request.

App Designer, first released in R2016a, is the replacement for GUIDE and is the recommended environment for building apps in MATLAB. It is built with web-based technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS so the environment and the apps it builds are web-friendly.

App Designer provides:
• An improved design canvas and expanded component set
• A robust programming model for managing data within an app
• App sharing for the desktop, the web, and MATLAB Online

Migrating your GUIDE app to App Designer lets you keep developing the layout of your app interactively. It also lets you take advantage of new features and improvements that App Designer offers. For a list of features, see Comparing GUIDE and App Designer (

*** Features of the Migration Tool ***
The GUIDE to App Designer migration tool is a semi-automated tool that converts your GUIDE app into App Designer. It produces an MLAPP file that contains:
• App Designer components, property configurations, and layout that are equivalent to the ones you created in GUIDE
• A copy of the functions and callback code you defined in GUIDE

The tool also generates a migration report that lists any limitations or unsupported functionality, with suggested actions to resolve the issues, if available.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2018a
Compatible with R2018a to R2021a
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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