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GNU Octave Manual Version 3
by John W. Eaton, David Bateman, Søren Hauberg
Paperback (6"x9"), 568 pages
ISBN 095461206X
RRP £24.95 ($39.95)

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5 Strings

A string constant consists of a sequence of characters enclosed in either double-quote or single-quote marks. For example, both of the following expressions


represent the string whose contents are ‘parrot’. Strings in Octave can be of any length.

Since the single-quote mark is also used for the transpose operator (see section 8.3 Arithmetic Operators) but double-quote marks have no other purpose in Octave, it is best to use double-quote marks to denote strings.

In double-quoted strings, the backslash character is used to introduce escape sequences that represent other characters. For example, ‘\n’ embeds a newline character in a double-quoted string and ‘\"’ embeds a double quote character.

In single-quoted strings, backslash is not a special character.

Here is an example showing the difference

toascii ("\n")
    => 10
toascii ('\n')
    => [ 92 110 ]

You may also insert a single quote character in a single-quoted string by using two single quote characters in succession. For example,

'I can”t escape'
    => I can't escape

Here is a table of all the escape sequences used in Octave. They are the same as those used in the C programming language.

Represents a literal backslash, ‘\’.
Represents a literal double-quote character, ‘"’.
Represents a literal single-quote character, ‘'’.
Represents the “nul” character, control-@, ASCII code 0.
Represents the “alert” character, control-g, ASCII code 7.
Represents a backspace, control-h, ASCII code 8.
Represents a formfeed, control-l, ASCII code 12.
Represents a newline, control-j, ASCII code 10.
Represents a carriage return, control-m, ASCII code 13.
Represents a horizontal tab, control-i, ASCII code 9.
Represents a vertical tab, control-k, ASCII code 11.

Strings may be concatenated using the notation for defining matrices. For example, the expression

[ "foo" , "bar" , "baz" ]

produces the string whose contents are ‘foobarbaz’. See section 4 Numeric Data Types, for more information about creating matrices.

ISBN 095461206XGNU Octave Manual Version 3See the print edition