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How to Normalize in Matlab

Updated July 20, 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).

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

  2. v = [1 4 17 2 9 5 5]

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

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

  5. v = v/norm(v)

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

  7. norm(v)

  8. Tip

    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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About the Author

Michael Carroll is a high school mathematics teacher. He has written for various websites since 2010, specializing in programming, web design, electronics and various pieces of software. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, with specialization in embedded system design.

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