This is documentation for Mathematica 8, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.1)


starts the Mathematica kernel in Windows and Mac OS X.
  • runs the standalone Mathematica kernel. To access the full Mathematica system including the notebook interface, use Mathematica.
  • A standalone kernel session normally reads input from (typically a keyboard), evaluates the expression, and prints the results to (typically a display device). Input and output can be redirected using Mathematica commands or standard shell mechanisms.
  • The following command-line options can be given:
-mathlinkcommunicate only via MathLink
-initfile "file"execute the commands in the initialization file during startup
-lmverboseprint information on interactions with MathLM
-noinitdo not read any initialization files
-password "pw"use the password
-pwfile "file"read passwords from
-run cmdrun on startup
-nopromptdo not print banner or In/Out prompts (useful for batch input)
-script "file"execute the commands from the in a script mode
  • If the -script command-line option is given, the kernel evaluates commands from the in a batch, or script, mode and then terminates.
  • In a script mode the kernel prints no banner and no In or Out labels, and generates all output in InputForm, with the PageWidth option effectively set to Infinity.
  • In a script mode the standard input and output are not redirected, so that the input and output can be used in a pipe with other processes.
  • In a script mode the kernel ignores the first line of the file if it starts with the characters "#!".
  • The following command-line option can be used in Windows:
-threadpriority=nset the relative priority of the kernel process
  • The argument to -threadpriority option can be one of -2, -1, 0, 1, or 2, with the default being 0. Positive numbers indicate that the kernel should run at a higher priority than normal, while negative numbers indicate a lower-than-normal priority.
  • If no command-line options are given, the kernel will read the value of the environment variable and will use that value as though it had been entered on the command line.
  • Unless the Mathematica variable $IgnoreEOF is set to True, the kernel will exit when it receives an end-of-file character sequence. The kernel will always exit when given the command Quit.