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Documentation / Mathematica / Getting Started / Working with Notebooks /

Working with Cells and Notebooks

Mathematica notebooks consist of sequences of cells. The various kinds of cells are listed in Format RightTriangleStyle.

To create a new cell:

1. Move the pointer in the notebook window until it becomes a horizontal I-beam.

2. Click, and a cell insertion bar will appear; start typing. By default, new cells are Mathematica input cells.

To create a new cell to hold ordinary text:

1. Click in the notebook to get a cell insertion bar.

2. Choose Format RightTriangleStyle RightTriangleText.

- or -

Use the keyboard shortcut AltKeyLeftModified7 RightModified on Windows, CloverLeafLeftModified7 RightModified on Macintosh, or Mod1Key LeftModified7 RightModified on Unix.

3. When you start typing, a text cell bracket appears.

To change the style of a cell:

1. Click the cell bracket. The bracket is highlighted.

2. Select a style from the Style submenu. The cell will immediately reflect the change.


Bullet Select Format RightTriangleShow ToolBar to get a toolbar at the top of the notebook.

To close a group of cells:

Double-click the outermost cell bracket of the group.

When a group is closed, only the first cell in the group is displayed, and the group bracket is shown with a triangular flag at the bottom.

To open a group of cells:

Double-click a closed group's cell bracket.

To print a notebook:

Choose File RightTrianglePrint. The notebook style will be automatically optimized for printing.

To change the overall look of a notebook:

1. Go to the Style Sheet submenu of the Format menu.

2. Choose a style sheet. All cells in the notebook will change appearance, based on the definitions in the new style sheet.


BulletMathematica comes with a collection of color and black-and-white style sheets.

Bullet Use Format RightTriangleEdit Style Sheet to set up individual style sheets for Mathematica notebooks.

Bullet Changes to a notebook that only involve opening or closing cell groups will not cause the front end to ask you if you wish to save such changes when you close the notebook before saving. To save these changes, use File RightTriangleSave before you close the notebook or quit Mathematica.

Bullet To close a notebook, click the Close button in the title bar. You will be prompted to save any unsaved changes.

BulletWindows: To close notebooks without being prompted to save, hold down the ShiftKey key when clicking the Close box.

For more information

BulletNotebooks: The Mathematica Book, Sections 1.3.4 and 1.3.5.