Get user home directory in Matlab on Windows

The tilde “~” character is used by most terminal shells as shorthand for the user home directory. The home directory is typically a safer place to write files than the system root directory, so ~ give a convenient way to refer to an absolute path generic across systems. Many code languages require parsing the tilde, including Python, C++, Fortran and Matlab. GNU Octave understands that ~ tilde is the user’s home directory on any operating system, even Windows. Matlab does not consistently understand ~ as the user home directory, particularly on Windows.

Matlab Fix

We created expanduser.m that works on Linux, Mac and Windows.


returns the absolute path of the user home directory, for example:

  • Linux: /home/username
  • MacOS: /Users/username
  • Windows: C:\Users\Username