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Appendix: Updating from Version 2


By default, Mathematica Version 3.0 is installed in a separate directory and not over Version 2. The files used to save default settings are also separate, and will not overwrite any Version 2 preferences files. You must use a new password for 3.0. Please refer to your license certificate for your password.

Notebooks in 3.0

The format of notebooks in Version 3.0 is different from 2.2 and earlier versions. A notebook now is a Mathematica expression and is stored in a single platform-independent file with the extension .nb. All the information necessary to open the notebook is stored in the .nb file.

When you open a notebook that was created with Version 2.2 or earlier in Version 3.0, a dialog box will appear that allows you to convert your notebook automatically. You have the option of converting input and output cells into StandardForm cells, which will automatically typeset characters and formulas.

Packages written with Version 2

Most packages written in Mathematica Version 2 run unchanged under Version 3. A small number of functions have been modified in ways that could cause problems. Please see Appendix A.13.0 in TheMathematicaBook for the list of incompatibilities.

Remote kernels

Remote kernels must be Version 2.2 or Version 3. You may connect a 2.2 front end to a 3.0 kernel. Versions before 2.2 are not supported by Version 3.0.

Using the Applications Library with 3.0


You can also use the kernel function NotebookConvert to convert notebooks to Version 3.0 format. NotebookConvert is useful if youhave a large number of notebooks to convert and you don't want to open each notebook individually within the front end.
NotebookConvert[notebookItalic] converts a notebook to the new format and saves the result in a file. The name of the new notebook is basedon the name of the old notebook, except that the extension .nb is used in place of the .m or .ma extension that was used in previous versions of Mathematica.
Although NotebookConvert is a kernel function, the actual conversion is handled by the front end, so notebook names must be specified in a way that is appropriate for the front end, rather than for the kernel. If the notebooks that you want to convert are not in the same directory as the directory from which you launched the front end, then the notebooks should be specified by giving the directory path relative to the front end directory, or by giving an absolute path name.
You can use Scan[NotebookConvert,listItalic] to convert all of the notebooks listed in list. If the kernel and the front end are running on the same computer, you can use Scan[NotebookConvert,FileNames["*", dir]Italic] to convert all of the files in the directory dir.


  • You can specify the name of the new notebook explicitly using NotebookConvert[old,newItalic], which saves the result in a notebook with the name new.
  • The NotebookConvert function supports the options InputToStandardForm, OutputToStandardForm, PreserveStyleSheet, and GenerateBitmapCaches, each of which can be set to True or False. These options provide the same controls as the check boxes in the notebook conversion dialog box.
  • NotebookConvert also supports the Interactive option, which allows you to specify whether you want to see the Save dialog box if a notebook with same name as the new notebook already exists.