Four (of many) new features for Apps in MATLAB R2021a
These four new features are the solutions to many inquiries in the Answers forum that continue to receive hundreds of views per month long after they were asked.
Table of Contents
- Keyboard Shortcuts for UI Components
- Programmatically scroll UITables
- Figure always on top
- UI hyperlink component
- Demo app: Keyboard shortcut challenge
Keyboard Shortcuts for UI Components
Keyboard shortcuts can now change the focus and make contiguous and non-contiguous selections in ListBox, Table, DatePicker, and ColorPicker menus created in uifigures.
The table below summarizes the shortcuts made available in R2021a ( release notes ).
Reminder: in MATLAB R2020b and later you can change the tab order of objects in an app by changing their stack order in AppDesigner using the Reorder tool in the drop-down menu or by right-clicking the component and selecting Reorder from the menu (see R2020b release notes and a screenshot in the Answers forum ).
Programmatically scroll UITables
The scroll function was added in R2016a but as of R2021a it can be used with uitables to programmatically scroll to the top, bottom, left, or right of a table or to a specific row, column or cell ( release notes ). Combined with a uistyle (R2019b) you can scroll to and highlight any part of the uitable.
Figure always on top
Figures created with uifigure now have an additional WindowStyle property: 'alwaysontop' ( release notes ). Figures with this setting will stay on top of other windows but unlike the modal option, other windows are still accessible.
See the WindowStyle property description for tips on setting and changing this property.
To toggle the AlwaysOnTop state of your app using a checkbox, state button, or another UI component, follow this callback function template,
function alwaysOnTopCheckBoxValueChanged(app, event)
value = app.alwaysOnTopCheckBox.Value;
app.UIFigure.WindowStyle = 'alwaysontop';
app.UIFigure.WindowStyle = 'normal';
UI hyperlink component
Use the uihyperlink function or the UI hyperlink component in App Designer or a uifigure to add and configure a clickable link ( release notes ). The hyperlink can be assigned to a figure, panel object, tab object, ButtonGroup, or GridLayout object when created in a uifigure. In addition to setting the text and URL, there are lots of properties to control the text format including the VisitedColor property that controls the color of the text after the link is clicked and an optional user-defined HyperlinkClickedFcn function that is evoked when the link is clicked.
Demo app: Keyboard shortcut challenge
The attached zip file contains an app, keyboardShortcutsDemo_R2021a.mlapp , that demonstrates these 4 features. The app displays the extent of arctic sea ice from 1979 to 2016 during the months when extent typically maximizes and minimizes.
Mouseless challenge: After opening the app, without using your mouse, try the following.
- Select a month (September or March) and any number of years from the list boxes
- Navigate through the Date Picker and select a date within the range or your selected years (disabled when only 1 year is selected).
- Navigate to the always-on-top checkbox to pin the app to the top of other windows.
- Navigate to the text box and enter a year that appears in the uitable to go to that row in the uitable (disabled when only 1 year is selected).
- Navigate to the URL and press Enter to open the website containing the raw data.
Download the attached zip file, FourNewAppFeatures_R2021a.zip, for a Live script copy of this thread and an app that demonstrates each feature.