How to Normalize in Matlab

By Michael Carroll

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

Step 1

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."

Step 2

Divide your vector by its norm, and assign the result as the new value of the vector:v = v/norm(v)

Step 3

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

Tips & 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 normalizing it would not be useful.

References & Resources