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Re: Style Sheed Documentation

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg76591] Re: [mg76535] Style Sheed Documentation
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 06:12:02 -0400 (EDT)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

Many of your questions are answered in my last email...I'll drill down on=
that weren't...

On Wed, 23 May 2007 05:39:43 -0400 (EDT), David Park wrote:
> Since a new feature of Version is that documentation can be updated on-
> line, it would be nice to get some additional tutorial documentation for
> style sheets without waiting for Mathematica 6.1 or 6.01.
> I've a few style sheets of my own design from 5.2. I'm willing to create
> them fresh in 6.0 so that they will be totally compatible with 6.0 and so
> I can learn how to use the new style sheet system.
> So here are some of my questions:
> 1) I would like to start with the standard Default style and modify it to
> make a style sheet system that I will call XStyle. I want to do things
> like change fonts and font sizes, add some new cell types, set menu
> positions, add some open/close icons, change the background for the
> entire notebook. But first, how do I create and save the XStyle.nb style
> sheet, so that I can edit and develop it to the style I want?

Here's the part we really need to deliver an interface for.  For now, you=
create a private stylesheet, then save it.  You can also use the Install=
to put it in the right place.  Unfortunately, there's a bug in the Install erroneously (and somewhat confusingly) includes built-in=
in the popup list.  The better thing to do is to choose "From File...", and=
the file you saved.  Note that this is just a convenient way of copying the=
to the right place.  The Install dialog will improve in the minor 6.0.x 

> 2) I noticed that the Default style sheet has two extra levels of
> sections: Subsubsubsection and Subsubsubsubsection. I would like to have
> them and modify them. (I would like to add open/close icons.) How do I
> get access to them so I can modify them?
> 3) Suppose I want to modify the background color for the entire notebook.
> How do I do that?
> 4) Maybe Cascading Style Sheets are obvious and maybe they are not. Would
> it be possible to have a basic description on how they work?

I think I answered the above questions pretty clearly in my last email.

> 5) As a designer of new style sheets, would I have to created my own
> cascading style sheets? Would I have to have an XStyleCore.nb and an
> XStyleDefault.nb? If so, how would I create them?

Just start with the stylesheet you want to use as your base and go from=

> 6) I did create a style sheet by something of a hack. I saved the private
> style sheet that came up under a new name and then I went to the WRI
> style sheets and just copied whole sections into it, and then modified
> them. (This is probably not the way to do it?) This seemed to work except
> that when I now first evaluate a cell in a notebook I get a Message
> window warning about an invalid value for MenuPosition and I don't know
> why because I made them all distinct. I had a new Title type cell and
> three new Text type cells and I tried to interlace their Menu positions
> with the title and text menu positions. Then I tried putting them all at
> the end with menu positions greater than 10000 and distinct -  but I
> still get the message.  What are the rules on MenuPosition? I don't see a
> lot of usefulness for hidden styles not on the menu.

Hidden styles are very useful, actually.  Styles which are used by the=
but which are generally inappropriate for use at the cell level (like the 
Graphics and Panel styles, or the format-type styles like StandardForm and 
TraditionalForm) shouldn't clutter the style menu.

However, you're certainly right in suggesting that end-user-created styles 
generally should be in the menus.  The styles created by typing into the=
field and pressing Enter should have an appropriate MenuPosition by default=
which always places the style at the bottom of the menu, alphabetized among=
other user-created styles.

Not entirely certain where the MenuPosition warning came from, but I could=
you if you send me the stylesheet.

> 7) When one modifies a style, such as Text, one gets just the normal Text
> style cell. What about the Presentation, Printing and Condensed styles?
> How would they be entered?

Right now, there's no way to do this.  My original version of the interface=
a way to do this, but testers and internal users kept getting confused by=
So, for now, you'll have to edit the cell expression.  I think in future 
versions of the interface, there will be some "advanced" interface that=
always around to confuse people that will allow you to do this.

> 8) How would I make a new text cell type with a new name by modifying the
> existing Text style (keeping the original Text style?)

Answered in my previous email.

> I will probably have more questions but I hope that is a basic start.
> I'm very pleased that John Fultz has taken an interest in this. From past
> experience we can expect nothing but good results!

Why thank you!

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

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