This is documentation for Mathematica 9, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.2)

Mathematica Sessions

Mathematica provides a uniquely powerful interactive environment for building up arbitrarily complex computations, under convenient interactive or programmatic control.


Components of Mathematica

Kernel — core computational engine

Front end — notebook interface system

Executing Computations

Shift+Enter evaluate input

Ctrl+Shift+Enter evaluate selection in place

expr; evaluate expression, but do not print the result

(= at beginning of input) — use free-form linguistic input

Session History »

% most recent output expression (%%, %%%, ... for earlier outputs)

%n n^(th) output expression

Control+L copy down an input line (Insert ► Input from Above)

Getting Help

F1 bring up help about a function

?name give information about functions, symbols, etc.


Alt+. abort a running calculation (Evaluation ► Abort Evaluation)

Evaluation ► Quit Kernel quit the kernel, keeping the front end running

Messages »

Off switch off a message or a group of messages

Quiet run a computation "quietly" without outputting messages

Why the Beep? ▪ Why the Coloring?

Session Information »

Directory current directory

Names names of known symbols

Notebooks ▪ MemoryInUse ▪ SystemInformation ▪ DateString ▪ ...

Session Customization »

Edit ► Preferences set global front end preferences

Format ► Stylesheet pick the stylesheet for a notebook

Format ► Option Inspector set options for notebooks

$Post ▪ $Path ▪ $CharacterEncoding ▪ $TimeZone ▪ $RecursionLimit ▪ ...

Kernels & Contexts

Evaluation ► Kernel Configuration Options set up additional local or remote kernels

Evaluation ► Notebook's Kernel choose the kernel to connect to

Evaluation ► Notebook's Default Context define scope of symbols