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Re: Default path for opening files

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  • Subject: [mg127000] Re: Default path for opening files
  • From: "E. Martín-Serrano" <eMartinSerrano at>
  • Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2012 05:14:03 -0400 (EDT)
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  • References: <jruonq$fgs$> <>


I am not sure whether I understand you question, but I can tell you what I
do to find and  open files of any extension spread over all directories (not
only  those directories managed directly by Mathematica in $Path)

The basic  problem I understand is (a)  I do not use Mathematica as the root
directory for all my notebooks  (b) Although  it can be argued  that is a
good or safe practice to locate all notebooks under the directory
Mathematica,  it is true, too, that not everything in a computer must be
located in that directory, among other reason because some files are shared
by non Mathematica applications. (c) Mathematica provides the tools to do it

This is an example of what I do (here I use a button but it can be done in
other forms).


fbuttontofile::usage = "fbuttontofile[buttonlegend, filename,isize], yields
a button to open any file in any directory from a notebook"

fbuttontofile[buttonlegend_, filename_, isize_: Full] := 

Module[{directoryfiles, fullpath, filedirectorypath, button},

(* I think this could be down better with Block to avoid saving and
restoring $Path each time the routine is invoked*)

bckpath = $Path ;

(* locates the directory path to the filename file down  the
$UserDocumentsDirectory *)

Quiet[directoryfiles = FileNames[filename, {"*"}, Infinity]];
fullpath = FileNameJoin[{$UserDocumentsDirectory, directoryfiles} //

filedirectorypath =  FileNameTake[fullpath, FileNameDepth[fullpath] - 1];
(* adds directory path for the filename file to $Path *)

AppendTo[$Path, filedirectorypath ];

button =  Button[buttonlegend, SystemOpen[filename], ImageSize -> isize];
(* I do not know why, but I ought to put this dynamic wrapping here for the
button to work, see that button is local to the module *)


(* I would like to restore $path to its canonical setting here, but it does
work, I mean the button does not work  *)


(* restore the canonical value for $Path outside the module *)

$Path = bckpath; 

(* this is done elsewhere outside the function*)

(* the following creates a button to open a file 'external'  to Mathematica
(PDF) *)

fbuttontofile[Style["To Open Existing 'external' PDF File", 12],

(* the button can be located, inserted or enclosed wherever you want *)

As in, for example

Insert[Framed@Column[{"NonAccelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment", 
   fbuttontofile[Style["NAIRU (Natural Unemployment)-Ball&Mankiw", 12], 
    "NAIRU-BallMankiw.pdf"]}, Center], {xpos, ypos}]

(* where "NAIRU-BallMankiw.pdf" is a paper on the subject the notebook is
about and is located in a directory which contains docs about inflation and
prices level  nothing about Mathematica *)

So, substitute the file name for any other in your system and it should

The routine can be improved a lot but it works as it is.

Any clue to improve it would be appreciated

E. Martin-Serrano

On 6/21/2012 5:15 AM, nanobio9 wrote:
> Dear Mathematicans,
> Whenever I tried to open a file from my Mathematica directory (with
> rather deep structure), I have to start with "~/Documents/" (I am
> using Mac). I searched the help and I found that this directory is
> coded in the variable "$UserDocumentsDirectory". OK. So I tried to set
> this variable to the root of my Mathematica directory, but I found it
> protected. Then I setup my local "init.m" file. I unprotect it, set
> it, and protect it, in the init.m file. (This is another story though.
> I searched the web for half a day and I do not see any example or
> instruction, official or by other users, on how people can compose
> their own init.m file.) However, nothing is changed.
> When my data files grow in number, I decided that I should use the
> "FileNameSetter" interface in my NB to pick the file on the fly. That
> way I do not have to modify the code ( filename=xxxx ...., blablabla )
> for each datafile. However, I found the same problem. In the
> "FileNameSetter" function, there is not an option to set the default
> starting path. (Or I am just too stupid to use electronic
> documentation so that I do not find the solution?) Everything starts
> with "~/Documents", although since the second time the directory tree
> will be expanded like what I saw the previous time (this is the case
> in Mac. I did not try under Windows or Linux).
> Is there any smarter way to do this?  Look forward to your helpful
> comments.

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