Abstract : In this work we address the problem of retrieving potentially interesting matrix views to support the exploration of networks. We introduce Matrix Diagnostics (or MAGNOSTICS), following in spirit related approaches for rating and ranking other visualization techniques, such as Scagnostics for scatter plots. Our approach ranks matrix views according to the appearance of specific visual patterns, such as blocks and lines, indicating the existence of topological motifs in the data, such as clusters, bi-graphs, or central nodes. MAGNOSTICS can be used to analyze, query, or search for visually similar matrices in large collections, or to assess the quality of matrix reordering algorithms. While many feature descriptors for image analyzes exist, there is no evidence how they perform for detecting patterns in matrices. In order to make an informed choice of feature descriptors for matrix diagnostics, we evaluate 30 feature descriptors—27 existing ones and three new descriptors that we designed specifically for MAGNOSTICS—with respect to four criteria: pattern response, pattern variability, pattern sensibility, and pattern discrimination. We conclude with an informed set of six descriptors as most appropriate for MAGNOSTICS and demonstrate their application in two scenarios; exploring a large collection of matrices and analyzing temporal networks.