How to Normalize in Matlab

Written by michael carroll | 13/05/2017

To normalise a vector is to convert it to a unit vector (a vector of magnitude 1) that points in the same direction. Normalisation is a common technique used to scale two data sets so they can be compared meaningfully. To quickly normalise a vector in MATLAB, divide it by the result of the "norm" function (its magnitude).

Define the vector and store it in a variable with a command like this:

v = [1 4 17 2 9 5 5]

You can use any variable name in place of "v."

Divide your vector by its norm, and assign the result as the new value of the vector:

v = v/norm(v)

Check the magnitude of the vector with "norm," and see that its magnitude is now 1:

norm(v)

Tips

  • This method could produce an error if the magnitude of the vector is 0 or extremely close to 0. This implies, however, that the vector does not have a meaningful direction, and normalising it would not be useful.

Tips and Warnings

  • This method could produce an error if the magnitude of the vector is 0 or extremely close to 0. This implies, however, that the vector does not have a meaningful direction, and normalising it would not be useful.

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