Convert string to cell array

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Artyom on 31 Aug 2014
Commented: Image Analyst on 17 Apr 2021
How to convert string
a b 3
into cell array {'a' 'b' 3}

Accepted Answer

Geoff Hayes
Geoff Hayes on 31 Aug 2014
Artyom - try using textscan to read the data from the string. Something like
str = 'a b 3';
Z = textscan(str,'%s','Delimiter',' ')';
ans =
'a' 'b' '3'
We use the fact that each character in he input string, str, is separated by a space. The space then acts as the delimiter between each character which we can use to separate each into its own string.
Note that Z is a 3x1 cell array.
Try the above and see what happens!
Geoff Hayes
Geoff Hayes on 31 Aug 2014
You're right - I hadn't caught that! I just assumed that since the input was a string, then the output would be the same.

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More Answers (3)

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 17 Apr 2021
@Souarv De, why "Good"? This answer is wrong. Just look
str = 'a b 3';
ca = cellstr(str) % CHADCHAVIN's wrong answer
Z = textscan(str, '%s', 'Delimiter',' ')' % Geoff's answer
ca =
1×1 cell array
{'a b 3'}
Z =
1×1 cell array
{3×1 cell}
Z{1}{1} =
Z{1}{2} =
Z{1}{3} =
CHADCHAVIN's answer does not give a cell array with three cells (each one containing a substring). It gives one cell (not 3) and it simply put the string into the one cell. Not what was asked for.
It must have been accepted by mistake so I'm going to unaccept it and accept Geoff's instead.

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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 31 Aug 2014
Try this:
str = 'a b 3'
str(str==' ') = []; % Remove spaces.
ca = {str(1),str(2),str(3)} % Create the cell array.
celldisp(ca); % Display its values in the command window.

Martin Vatshelle
Martin Vatshelle on 25 Mar 2019
Edited: Martin Vatshelle on 25 Mar 2019
If you have a mix of text and numbers textscan as suggested by Geoff is a good solution.
If you only have text strsplit does exactly what you want and I feel that is a bit simpler to use.
strsplit('ab cd ef')
ans =
1×3 cell array
'ab' 'cd' 'ef'
You can specify the delimiter if it is not spaces that are your delimiters.
If you however want to split a string into single characters you could use cellstr
s = 'ab cd ef';
cellstr(s(:))' %here I transposed at the end for readability, you can skip that
ans =
1×8 cell array
'a' 'b' '' 'c' 'd' '' 'e' 'f'


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