Using a Text-Based Interface
The standard front end interface, as discussed in "Using a Notebook Interface
", is appropriate for most users' purposes. In some cases, however, you may not need to use the notebook front end, and you may want instead to interact more directly with the Mathematica
kernel. You can do this by using a text-based interface, in which text you type on the keyboard goes straight to the kernel.
It is important to note that while the text-based interface provides access to most of the capabilities of the Mathematica
kernel, the graphics functionality and dynamic interactivity of the Mathematica
front end are not available.
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 a Mathematica kernel
|math||the operating system command to start Mathematica|
|text ending with Enter||input for Mathematica|
|Ctrl+D or Quit||exiting Mathematica|
Running Mathematica with a text-based interface.
A dialog with Mathematica
using a text-based interface.
In:= Integrate[1/(x^3 - 1), x]
1 + 2 x
Sqrt Log[-1 + x] Log[1 + x + x ]
Out= -(---------------) + ----------- - ---------------
Sqrt 3 6
At each stage, Mathematica
prints a prompt of the form In[n]:=
to tell you that it is ready to receive input. You can then type your input, ending with Enter
When you have entered your input, Mathematica
will process it and generate a result. If it prints the result out, it will label it with Out[n]=
documentation, "dialogs" with Mathematica
are often shown in the following way:
The computer prints In:=
. You just type in 2+2
. The line that starts with Out=
is the result from Mathematica
Note that you do not explicitly type the In[n]:=
prompt; only type the text that follows this prompt.
Most of the actual dialogs given in the Mathematica
tutorials 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.
If your input is short, then you can give it on a single line. If your input is longer, you can give it on several lines. Mathematica
will automatically continue reading successive lines until it has received a complete expression. Thus, for example, if you type an opening parenthesis on one line, Mathematica
will go on reading successive lines of input until it sees the corresponding closing parenthesis. Note that if you enter a completely blank line, Mathematica
will throw away the lines you have typed so far, and issue a new input prompt.
|%n or Out[n]||the value of the nth output|
|In[n]||the nth input, for reevaluation|
Retrieving and reevaluating previous input and output.
With a text-based interface, each line of Mathematica
input and output appears sequentially. Often your computer system will allow you to scroll backwards to review previous work, and to cut-and-paste previous lines of input.
But whatever kind of computer system you have, you can always use Mathematica
to retrieve or reevaluate previous input and output. In general, reevaluating a particular piece of input or output may give you a different result than when you evaluated it in the first place. The reason is that in between you may have reset the values of variables that are used in that piece of input or output. If you ask for Out[n]
, then Mathematica
will give you the final form of your nth
output. On the other hand, if you ask for In[n]
, then Mathematica
will take the nth
input you gave, and reevaluate it using whatever current assignments you have given for variables.
To exit Mathematica
, type Quit
at an input prompt. You may also exit Mathematica
by typing Ctrl+D
, depending on your computer system.