This is documentation for Mathematica 6, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.1)

Launching Mathematica on Mac OS X

Launching Mathematica Locally

To run Mathematica using a network license, both the client machine and the license server must be on the network and MathLM must be running.

To launch Mathematica:

Double-click the Mathematica icon in the directory where Mathematica is installed. Alternatively, if you have placed the Mathematica icon in the dock, single-click the icon.

To launch only the Mathematica kernel:

Open the Terminal application and type the full pathname of the MathKernel binary in the window that appears. For example, if you installed Mathematica in the Applications folder, type /Applications/ in a Terminal window and press Return.

Launching Mathematica from a File Server

To maintain a centralized location for preferences and password files or to save disk space, you can run Mathematica directly from a file server. To do this, the client machine does not need to have any Mathematica files installed locally.

To run a copy of Mathematica installed on a remote file server:

1.  Connect to a file server on which Mathematica is installed.
2.  Double-click the icon representing the volume with the Mathematica files. Then navigate to the location where Mathematica is installed.
3.  Double-click the Mathematica icon in the directory where Mathematica is installed.

Mathematica Command-Line Options

The commands MathKernel and Mathematica have several command-line options used to specify certain configuration information and file locations.


The command MathKernel starts the kernel, which is the part of Mathematica that handles calculations. This command is also used by the Mathematica front end.

Command-Line Options

-initfile file




-password str

-pwfile file



The command Mathematica runs the Mathematica front end. In order to run Mathematica with a command-line option, you must start it from the command line using the Terminal application.

Command-Line Options



-preferencesDirectory dir

-topDirectory dir