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Unlike many other computer languages, Octave allows you to define functions that return more than one value. The syntax for defining functions that return multiple values is

function [ret-list] =name(arg-list)bodyendfunction

where `name`, `arg-list`, and `body` have the same meaning
as before, and `ret-list` is a comma-separated list of variable
names that will hold the values returned from the function. The list of
return values must have at least one element. If `ret-list` has
only one element, this form of the `function`

statement is
equivalent to the form described in the previous section.

Here is an example of a function that returns two values, the maximum element of a vector and the index of its first occurrence in the vector.

function [max, idx] = vmax (v) idx = 1; max = v (idx); for i = 2:length (v) if (v (i) > max) max = v (i); idx = i; endif endfor endfunction

In this particular case, the two values could have been returned as elements of a single array, but that is not always possible or convenient. The values to be returned may not have compatible dimensions, and it is often desirable to give the individual return values distinct names.

It is possible to use the `nthargout`

function to obtain only some
of the return values or several at once in a cell array.
See Cell Array Objects.

- Function File:
**nthargout***(*`n`,`func`, …) - Function File:
**nthargout***(*`n`,`ntot`,`func`, …) Return the

`n`th output argument of function given by the function handle or string`func`. Any arguments after`func`are passed to`func`. The total number of arguments to call`func`with can be passed in`ntot`; by default`ntot`is`n`. The input`n`can also be a vector of indices of the output, in which case the output will be a cell array of the requested output arguments.The intended use

`nthargout`

is to avoid intermediate variables. For example, when finding the indices of the maximum entry of a matrix, the following two compositions of nthargout`m`= magic (5); cell2mat (nthargout ([1, 2], @ind2sub, size (`m`), nthargout (2, @max,`m`(:)))) ⇒ 5 3are completely equivalent to the following lines:

`m`= magic (5); [~, idx] = max (`M`(:)); [i, j] = ind2sub (size (`m`), idx); [i, j] ⇒ 5 3It can also be helpful to have all output arguments in a single cell in the following manner:

`USV`= nthargout ([1:3], @svd, hilb (5));

In addition to setting `nargin`

each time a function is called,
Octave also automatically initializes `nargout`

to the number of
values that are expected to be returned. This allows you to write
functions that behave differently depending on the number of values that
the user of the function has requested. The implicit assignment to the
built-in variable `ans`

does not figure in the count of output
arguments, so the value of `nargout`

may be zero.

The `svd`

and `lu`

functions are examples of built-in
functions that behave differently depending on the value of
`nargout`

.

It is possible to write functions that only set some return values. For example, calling the function

function [x, y, z] = f () x = 1; z = 2; endfunction

as

[a, b, c] = f ()

produces:

a = 1 b = [](0x0) c = 2

along with a warning.

- Built-in Function:
**nargout***()* - Built-in Function:
**nargout***(*`fcn`) Within a function, return the number of values the caller expects to receive. If called with the optional argument

`fcn`, a function name or handle, return the number of declared output values that the function can produce. If the final output argument is`varargout`the returned value is negative.For example,

f ()

will cause

`nargout`

to return 0 inside the function`f`

and[s, t] = f ()

will cause

`nargout`

to return 2 inside the function`f`

.In the second usage,

nargout (@histc) % or nargout ("histc")

will return 2, because

`histc`

has two outputs, whereasnargout (@deal)

will return -1, because

`deal`

has a variable number of outputs.At the top level,

`nargout`

with no argument is undefined.`nargout`

does not work on builtin functions.`nargout`

returns -1 for all anonymous functions.

It is good practice at the head of a function to verify that it has been called correctly. In Octave the following idiom is seen frequently

if (nargin < min_#_inputs || nargin > max_#_inputs) print_usage (); endif

which stops the function execution and prints a message about the correct way to call the function whenever the number of inputs is wrong.

For compatibility with MATLAB, `nargchk`

, `narginchk`

and
`nargoutchk`

are available which provide similar error checking.

- Function File:
`msgstr`=**nargchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`) - Function File:
`msgstr`=**nargchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`, "string") - Function File:
`msgstruct`=**nargchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`, "struct") Return an appropriate error message string (or structure) if the number of inputs requested is invalid.

This is useful for checking to see that the number of input arguments supplied to a function is within an acceptable range.

**See also:**nargoutchk, narginchk, error, nargin, nargout.

- Function File:
**narginchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`) Check for correct number of arguments or generate an error message if the number of arguments in the calling function is outside the range

`minargs`and`maxargs`. Otherwise, do nothing.Both

`minargs`and`maxargs`need to be scalar numeric values. Zero, Inf and negative values are all allowed, and`minargs`and`maxargs`may be equal.Note that this function evaluates

`nargin`

on the caller.**See also:**nargchk, nargoutchk, error, nargout, nargin.

- Function File:
**nargoutchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`) - Function File:
`msgstr`=**nargoutchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`) - Function File:
`msgstr`=**nargoutchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`, "string") - Function File:
`msgstruct`=**nargoutchk***(*`minargs`,`maxargs`,`nargs`, "struct") Check for correct number of output arguments.

On the first form, returns an error unless the number of arguments in its caller is between the values of

`minargs`and`maxargs`. It does nothing otherwise. Note that this function evaluates the value of`nargout`

on the caller so its value must have not been tampered with.Both

`minargs`and`maxargs`need to be a numeric scalar. Zero, Inf and negative are all valid, and they can have the same value.For backward compatibility reasons, the other forms return an appropriate error message string (or structure) if the number of outputs requested is invalid.

This is useful for checking to see that the number of output arguments supplied to a function is within an acceptable range.