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How To Override FrontEnd/init.m Settings?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg57456] How To Override FrontEnd/init.m Settings?
  • From: "Harold" <Harold.Noffke at>
  • Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 05:39:37 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

$Version = 5.0 for Microsoft Windows (November 18, 2003)
$Host = Windows XP Pro, Version 5.1


When a change is made to the OptionBrowser, it is stored in
$UserBaseDirectory/FrontEnd/init.m.  My normal Magnification = 1.66.
To determine how $UserBaseDirectory/FrontEnd/init.m settings could be
overridden by a new user's FrontEnd/init.m settings, I placed the

    SetOptions[ $FrontEnd, Magnification->3 ]

into an init.m file, and tried using it in all the FrontEnd/init.m and
Kernel/init.m file initialization options described in MathBook's File
Layout > Front End, Kernel, and Configuration sections.  No matter
where I put this new init.m file, Mathematica gives a load error beep,
and prints

    SetOptions::optnf: Magnification is not a known option for

However, if I move this init.m file to $InstallationDirectory, AND
change its name from init.m to just "x" (no file extension), and
relaunch Mathematica, I get a normal Untitled-1 notebook with my
default font.  Into this notebook I type

    << x

and Mathematica accepts the one line "SetOptions[ $FrontEnd,
Magnification->3 ]" without complaint, and instantly changes the
system's font size to 300% magnification.

This series of experiments brings me to the following conclusion.

Suppose I have several Mathematica users on the same machine, each of
whom wants a different set of FrontEnd settings overrides and Kernel
customizations.  For simplicity, I would like to tell them we need only
put what they want into _one_ file in $InstallationDirectory, which
we'll name with each user's unique 3 initials (say jmb). Then all they
have to do when the Untitled-1 notebook appears is type

    << jmb <Num-Enter>

and Mathematica will accept all their FrontEnd overrides and Kernel

What really bothers me is that I've found no simple way to make
Mathematica accept FrontEnd command overrides when I follow the
FrontEnd/init.m directions given in the Mathematica 5.0 Book.

Does anyone have some different or additional thoughts on this issue?

- Harold

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