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Copy and Paste Stateflow Objects

The Clipboard object is an interface to the clipboard used for copying and pasting Stateflow® objects. Unlike other Stateflow API objects, there is only one Clipboard object. You can use the Clipboard object to copy and paste graphical and nongraphical objects within the same chart, between charts in the same Simulink® model, or between charts in different Simulink models.

Access the Clipboard Object

Create a handle to the Clipboard object by calling the sfclipboard function.

cb = sfclipboard;

The Clipboard object has two methods used to copy and paste objects from one location to another.

Copying Objects to the Clipboard

The copy method copies the specified objects to the Clipboard object.

cb.copy(objects);

You cannot copy a mixture of graphical and nongraphical objects to the clipboard in the same operation. Instead, the objects you copy must be all graphical (states, boxes, functions, transitions, junctions, and annotations) or all nongraphical (data, events, and messages).

Copying graphical objects also copies the data, event, and message objects that the graphical objects contain.

All graphical objects copied in a single copy operation must be visible in the same subviewer. In other words, to copy graphical objects in a single operation, they must reside in the same chart or subchart.

To maintain the transition connections and containment relationships between copied objects, you must:

  • Copy a grouped state to the clipboard. By copying a grouped state, you copy all the objects contained in the state, as well as all the relationships among these objects by using a single operation.

  • Copy an array of related objects. For example, to copy two states connected by a transition to another container, first create an array that contains both the states and the transition. Then you can copy the array to the clipboard.

Pasting Objects from the Clipboard

The pasteTo method pastes the contents of the clipboard to a new container.

cb.pasteTo(container)

If the clipboard contains graphical objects (states, boxes, functions, transitions, junctions, and annotations), the container must be a chart or a subchart. To convert a state, box, or graphical function to a subchart, set its IsSubchart property to true. After pasting, you can convert the container back by setting its IsSubchart property to false.

Copy by Grouping

When you copy and paste a grouped state, you copy not only the state but all of its contents. This method is the simplest way of copying objects by using the Stateflow API.

For the example, suppose that ch is a handle to this chart.

Stateflow chart with a hierarchy of states. The outer state is called A. It contains two inner states called A1 and A2.

You can make a copy of state A and its contents by setting the value of the property IsGrouped to true before copying and pasting the state.

  1. Find a handle to state A.

    sA = ch.find('-isa','Stateflow.State','Name','A');

  2. Group the state and its contents by setting the IsGrouped property for the state to true. Save the previous setting of this property so you can revert to it later.

    prevGrouping = sA.IsGrouped;
    sA.IsGrouped = true;
  3. Change the name of the state to 'Copy_of_A'. Save the previous name so you can revert to it later.

    prevName = sA.Name;
    newName = ['Copy_of_' prevName];
    sA.Name = newName;
  4. Create a handle to the clipboard object.

    cb = sfclipboard;
  5. Copy the grouped state to the clipboard.

    cb.copy(sA);
  6. Restore the state properties to their original settings.

    sA.IsGrouped = prevGrouping;
    sA.Name = prevName;
  7. Paste a copy of the objects from the clipboard to the chart.

    cb.pasteTo(ch);
  8. Adjust the state properties of the new state.

    sNew = ch.find('-isa','Stateflow.State','Name',newName);
    sNew.Position = sA.Position + [400 0 0 0];
    sNew.IsGrouped = prevGrouping;

Chart showing result of pasting a copy of state A and its contents.

Copy Objects Individually

You can also copy individual objects from one location to another. However, in order to preserve transition connections and containment relationships between objects, you must copy all the connected objects at once. Before copying to the clipboard, create an array of objects by appending the results of successive searches.

For the example, suppose that ch is a handle to this chart.

Stateflow chart with a hierarchy of states. The outer state is called A. It contains two inner states called A1 and A2.

You can copy states A1 and A2, along with the transition between them, to a new state.

  1. Find a handle to state A.

    sA = ch.find('-isa','Stateflow.State','Name','A');

  2. Add a new state called B. To enable pasting other objects inside B, convert the new state to a subchart.

    sB = Stateflow.State(ch);
    sB.Name = 'B';
    sB.Position = sA.Position + [400 0 0 0];
    sB.IsSubchart = true;
  3. Create an array called sourceObjs that contains handles to the states and transitions in state A. Use the function setdiff to remove state A from the array of objects to copy.

    objArrayS = sA.find('-isa','Stateflow.State');
    objArrayS = setdiff(objArrayS,sA);
    objArrayT = sA.find('-isa','Stateflow.Transition');
    sourceObjs = [objArrayS ; objArrayT];
  4. Create a handle to the clipboard object.

    cb = sfclipboard;
  5. Copy the objects in sourceObjs and paste them in B.

    cb.copy(sourceObjs);
    cb.pasteTo(sB);
  6. Convert B back to a state.

    sB.IsSubchart = false;
    sB.IsGrouped = false;
  7. Reposition the states and transitions in B.

    newStates = sB.find('-isa','Stateflow.State');
    newStates = setdiff(newStates,sB);
    newTransitions = sB.find('-isa','Stateflow.Transition');
    newOClocks = get(newTransitions,{'SourceOClock','DestinationOclock'});
    newPositions = get(newStates,'Position');
    for i = 1:numel(newPositions)
        set(newStates(i),'Position',newPositions{i} + [25 35 0 0]);
    end
    set(newTransitions,{'SourceOClock','DestinationOclock'},newOClocks);

Chart showing result of copying contents of state A and pasting them into state B.

You can also copy nongraphical data, event, and message objects individually. However, since there is no way for these objects to find their new parents, you must ensure that you copy each of these objects separately to its appropriate parent object.

See Also

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