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Re: Re: change $UserDocumentsDirectory

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg76420] Re: [mg76391] Re: [mg76346] change $UserDocumentsDirectory
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 02:41:56 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at

What I'm trying to accomplish by changing $HomeDirectory is very simple: 
when the Save As dialog comes up, the default location will be where _I_ 
want it to be (in e:\temp) instead of the Mathematica default of what 
I've set in Windows as the equivalent of My Documents.  Directory temp 
is where I'm working now; Documents is stuff I'm saving "forever".

I had hoped there was in environment variable for this, just as there 
are for $UserBaseDirectory and $UserBaseDirectory.

I prefer to set such things in the OS rather than edit any init.m.  It's 
easier and less likely to get lost when updating from on Mathematica 
version to another.

But I guess I have no choice here.

John Fultz wrote:
> No, there isn't.  It is merely a reflection of the default operating system
> location for documents (except on Unix, where it's just the same value as 
> $HomeDirectory).  Under Windows and Mac, there are probably operating-system
> methods (perhaps obscure) to change these system-wide.
> The principle place where it shows up in the product is in the default value of 
> certain FE path options, and it's probably easier to change the path options for 
> many people than it is to set an environment variable.  As such, it never 
> occurred to me that somebody might want to set an environment variable.  If you 
> find my attitude curious, consider that there's never been a method via 
> environment variables to set $HomeDirectory (another default OS location), and I 
> can't recall anybody ever noticing.
> But I'm curious to hear what you're trying to accomplish, and perhaps there's 
> reasonable justification to consider it.
> As for the documentation, those environment variables which can be overridden by environment variables specify that on their home pages.  For example,
> (in the More Information section)
> Also, this page is helpful...
> Sincerely,
> John Fultz
> jfultz at
> User Interface Group
> Wolfram Research, Inc.
> On Sun, 20 May 2007 02:26:50 -0400 (EDT), Murray Eisenberg wrote:
>> Is there an OS environment variable that can be used to change
>> $UserDocumentsDirectory?
>> This is with 6.0 under Windows XP. I tried MATHEMATICA_USERDOCUMENTS but
>> that didn't seem to do anything.
>> (Comment: the use of OS environment variables seems poorly documented.)

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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