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recovering corrupted notebook (Re: Please Help)

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg19293] recovering corrupted notebook (Re: Please Help)
  • From: paulh at (P.J. Hinton)
  • Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 01:45:17 -0400
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • References: <7p00cv$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <7p00cv$755 at>, "schatzi" <antoine.zahnd at> writes:

>Please Help !!!
> Now it is a 36k notebook I wrote several weeks ago with a lot of 
> procedures that I would prefer not to rewrite.  Moreover the notebook 
> is to generate a package itself needed by others notebooks. (I am so 
> sad)
> Does the description of my problem sounds familiar to somebody?
> Is it possible to "recover" the notebook? (please say YES)

I am not certain how you managed to corrupt your notebook.  From
your subsequent posting, it appears that somehow the notebook's
contents have been interpreted and stored as a single string,
and then the notebook has been written out with every instance
of a backslash character (\) being escaped out in the string.
If you were to look at the notebook in a plain text editor, you
would probably see that it looks like this:


		Mathematica 3.0 Compatible notebook


   TextData["Notebook[{Cell[BoxData[\\(2\\ + \\ 2\\), \"Input\"


You will need to get your hands on a text editing program that
has good support for regular expression search and replacement
facility.  You will have to remove the outer Notebook[] expression
wrapper and removing the the string delimiters in the cell contents.
Then you'll want to do a global search and replace, changing the 
double backslashes to single backslashes.  

At that point, there is a good chance that you might be able to
use the corrupt notebook recovery utility on the Technical Support

The instructions for using this utility can be found on that webpage.

To avoid crises like this in the future, you may want to do the following:

1) Back up your files on a basis that is sufficiently frequent so that
you do not lose too much work if your original file gets damaged.  This
is not just true for Mathematica, but for _any_ application that saves
its data to a file in a format that must be reinterpreted by the 

2) Force the front end to save notebooks without using the linear
syntax for box structures.  This can be done on a global basis 
for the front end by evaluating this expression in a notebook:

          PrivateNotebookOptions -> 
            {"ShortBoxForm" -> False}]

You can also set this option in the front end Option Inspector
dialog by changing the option value while the scope indicator
is ste to "global".

P.J. Hinton
Mathematica Programming Group           paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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