How to Convert MAT to XLS with Stat/Transfer

How to Convert MAT to XLS with Stat/Transfer

MAT files are actually binary data files created and used by MatLAB applications. This type of file usually contains arrays, functions, variables, expressions, and other mathematical data. XLS is one of the filename extensions used for Excel spreadsheets. XLS files are commonly used for the older version of Microsoft Excel (as the newer versions apply XLSX) and they contain data arranged in rows and columns. Converting MAT files to XLS spreadsheets can be useful if you want to quickly export data from your MatLAB as a format supported by multiple applications (compared to MAT files that are mainly used by MatLAB).

I will demonstrate the conversion process using Stat/Transfer 1.0 (Shareware $295) by Circle Systems, Inc., because it is one of the few methods you can turn MAT files into XLS without having to deal with MatLAB. It is also very easy to use as you will see from the following guide.

Tutorial assets

You will need to download the following software to keep up with this tutorial.

The trial version of this application comes with a limitation: approximately sixteen cases will be deleted from your output file. A message box will warn you about this and the border at the top of the Stat/Transfer window will say "Trial Mode".

Here are the simple steps you will need to complete in order to convert your files

Step 1

Select MatLAB as the input file type.

Select MatLab as the Input FormatSelect MatLab as the Input Format

Step 2

Load your MAT file by clicking on the "Browse" button.

Step 3

Choose "Excel '97-2003" as the output file type.

Output Format SelectionOutput Format Selection

Step 4

Change the output location by pressing the "Browse" button.

Step 5

Click on the "Transfer" button to start the conversion.


a. Select which columns you want to convert to XLS from your MAT file by clicking on the "Variables" tab. 

Variables TabVariables Tab

b. Customize the output file by clicking on the "Options" tab and modifying any desired entry (see the image).

Options WindowOptions Window


As you can see, turning MatLAB MAT files into Excel XLS spreadsheets with Stat/Transfer is a pretty simple process (as long as you don't have to modify any parameters). The only other way to perform the conversion task (at least, the only one that I've found) is by using MatLAB applications and the xlswrite command. I believe that the presented method is much easier and cheaper than the alternative. 

  • Easy to use
  • Support for large number of formats
  • Lots of output customization options
  • A bit expensive ($295)

Alternative downloads

Comments on How to Convert MAT to XLS with Stat/Transfer