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 Documentation / Mathematica / The Mathematica Book / Practical Introduction / Running Mathematica  /

1.0.2 Text-Based Interfaces

Running Mathematica with a text-based interface.

With a text-based interface, you interact with your computer primarily by typing text on the keyboard. This kind of interface is available for Mathematica on almost all computer systems.
To start Mathematica with a text-based interface, you typically type the command math at an operating system prompt. On some systems, you may also be able to start Mathematica with a text-based interface by double-clicking on a Mathematica Kernel icon.
When Mathematica has started, it will print the prompt In[1]:=, signifying that it is ready for your input. You can then type your input. On any system, you can tell Mathematica that you have finished giving input by typing Shift-Return. On some systems, typing Return or Enter alone is sufficient.
Mathematica will then process the input, and generate a result. If it prints the result out, it will label it with Out[1]=.
Throughout this book, dialogs with Mathematica are shown in the following way:

  • The computer prints In[1]:=. You just type in 2+2. The line that starts with Out[1]= is the result from Mathematica.
  • In[1]:= 2 + 2


    Section 0.5.1 discusses some important details about reproducing the dialogs on your computer system. Note that you do not explicitly type the In[n]:= prompt; only type the text that follows this prompt.
    Note also that most of the actual dialogs given in the book show output in the form you get with a notebook interface to Mathematica; output with a text-based interface looks similar, but lacks such features as special characters and font size changes.
    Section 1.0.1 gives more details on running Mathematica with a text-based interface. To exit Mathematica, either type Control-D or Quit[] at an input prompt.