Prints a matrix using a different format for each column of the matrix.


retcode = printfm(x, mask, fmt)
  • x (NxK matrix) – matrix which is to be printed and which may contain both character and numeric data

  • mask (LxM matrix) – ExE conformable with x, containing ones and zeros, which is used to specify whether the particular row, column, or element is to be printed as a character (0) or numeric (1) value.

  • fmt (Kx3 or 1x3 matrix) – matrix where each row specifies the format for the respective column of x


retcode (scalar) – 1 if the function is successful and 0 if it fails.


Here is an example of printfm() being used to print a mixed numeric and character matrix:

let x[4,3] = "AGE" 5.12345564 2.23456788
             "PAY" 1.23456677 1.23456789
             "SEX" 1.14454345 3.44718234
             "JOB" 4.11429432 8.55649341;

let mask[1,3] = 0 1 1;      /* character numeric numeric */
let fmt[3,3] = "-*.*s " 8 8 /* first column format */
"*.*lf," 10 3               /* second column format */
"*.*le " 12 4;              /* third column format */

d = printfm(x, mask, fmt);
AGE 5.123, 2.2346E+00
PAY 1.235, 1.2346E+00
SEX 1.145, 3.4471E+00
JOB 4.114, 8.5564E+00

When the column of x to be printed contains all character elements, use a format string of “*.*s” if you want it right-justified, or “-*.*s” if you want it left-justified. If the column is mixed character and numeric elements, then use the correct numeric format and printfm() will substitute a default format string for those elements in the column that are character.

Remember, the mask value controls whether an element will be printed as a number or a character string.


The mask is applied to the matrix x following the rules of standard element-by-element operations. If the corresponding element of mask is 0, then that element of x is printed as a character string of up to 8 characters. If mask contains a 1, then that element of x is assumed to be a double precision floating point number.

The contents of fmt are as follows:


format string,

a string 8 characters maximum.


field width,

a number < 80.



a number < 17.

The format strings correspond to the format slash commands as follows:










“- *.*lf”


“- *.*lE”


“-# *.*lG”


“- *.*lG”

Complex numbers are printed with the sign of the imaginary half separating them and an “i” appended to the imaginary half. The field width refers to the width of field for each half of the number, so a complex number printed with a field of 8 will actually take (at least) 20 spaces to print.

If the \(precision = 0\), the decimal point will be suppressed.

The format string can be a maximum of 8 characters and is appended to a % sign and passed directly to the fprintf function in the standard C language I/O library. The lf, etc., are case sensitive. If you know C, you will easily be able to use this.

If you want special characters to be printed after x, then include them as the last characters of the format string. For example:


right-justified decimal followed by a comma.

“-*.*s “

left-justified string followed by a space.


right-justified decimal followed by nothing.

If you want the beginning of the field padded with zeros, then put a “0” before the first “*” in the format string:


right-justified decimal.

See also

Functions print, printdos, sprintf()