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Weird self-fixing problem with cell styles

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  • Subject: [mg95391] Weird self-fixing problem with cell styles
  • From: Christopher Henrich <chenrich at>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 05:30:22 -0500 (EST)

I was working on a Mathematica notebook when I suddenly found that I 
could not use the different cell styles.  (Section, Subsection, Tex, 
Input, etc.) Several thins seemed broken:

1. On the toolbar, there is a popup menu for selecting a style; it was 
empty - no choices.

2. The menu item Format > Style offered only one choice : "Other..."

3. The menu item Format > Screen Environment was disabled (grayed out).

I blundered around trying to find an option that referred to cell 
styles. In desperation I changed the Style Sheet, and changed it right 
back again.

And that fixed all the symptoms.

I felt that I had been acting out an AI Koan, from that fine old (!!) 
book _The New Hacker's Dictionary_, p. 404:

   "A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by  turning the 
power off and on.

   "Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly. 'You 
cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of 
what is going wrong.'

   "Knight turned the machine off and on.

   "The machine worked."

I have an Apple Power PC running Mac OS X version 10.5.5;  and 
Mathematica  My notebook and stylesheet were originally written 
with an older version, but I think they have been kept up to date as 

So what happened? And am I Knight, or am I the novice?

Christopher J. Henrich
chenrich at

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