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Re: Basic question about Mathematica Interface

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  • Subject: [mg100147] Re: Basic question about Mathematica Interface
  • From: Bob F <deepyogurt at>
  • Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 05:10:31 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <gv5e4l$igp$>

On May 21, 11:44 pm, Dave Martin <cvk1... at> wrote:
> Hi Bob
> Thanks for your detailed reply. At this point, it seems to me that the so=
lution is too complex. I looked at the Options Inspector, but there were to=
o many things that could be edited there, and I couldn't figure out which o=
ne would make all notebooks (new as well as saved) open at a prescribed spo=
t on my screen, with a prescribed window size. I didn't want to make any ch=
anges that might break something.
> As I understand it, even if I had been successful, this would only fix th=
e notebook window position. The help browser window requires a different fi=
x, and the menu bar position/size is currently not fixable. So I would stil=
l have to fiddle around with that stuff no matter what.
> Again, I appreciate your help.
> I am a new user of Mathematica (having used another system through my sch=
ool years), and I must confess to being disappointed. I tried Mathematica o=
nce before (I think it was at version 6 then, perhaps), only to find that i=
ts HTML rendering engine was broken, and notebook files outputted as HTML g=
ot truncated. That was a make-or-break feature for me, since I needed to be=
 able to post notebooks as HTML on web pages. I believe they never did get =
around to fixing that for version 6.
> Now we have version 7, in this day and age, acting as if people are still=
 using 800x600 screens with one application open at a time, and it needs to=
 plaster its menu bar way across the whole screen. No application frame, no=
 convenient way to tell windows where to open and how big they should be.
> I will try it a bit longer, but I am wondering if this lack of polish ext=
ends deeper into the program.
> Dave M.

One BIG difference in the user interface in the Options Inspector on
Windows and Macs is that on the Mac, as you type in a string to search
for, the list of items shown gets shorter and shorter very quickly,
while on the Windows version the list stays the same length and items
with the string in question get highlighted which helps some, but you
are right about the list being so long. I wish that Wolfram would
change the functionality of the Windows version to duplicate the way
that this winnowing occurs on the Mac.

The actual parameters to change are WindowSize and WindowMargins
(palettes don't usually use WindowSize since the windowsize is not
really changeable like a notebook window is as the layout would be
really ugly if you did change it I am guessing). For example, in my
init.m file I have the following (only a portion):

 "ClassroomAssistant.nb" -> {
   WindowMargins -> {{Automatic, -93}, {Automatic, 0}},
    TaggingRules -> {
     "ShowCalculator" -> True, "ShowNavigation" -> False,
"ShowBasicCommands" ->
      False, "ShowWritingTools" -> False, "ShowBasicTypesetting" ->
      "ShowAbcKeyboard" -> True, "ShowHelpLinks" -> False,
"PaletteMode" -> 1,
       "OptionsInsertionMode" -> 1, "ShowNavigationTools" -> False}},
  "SpecialCharacters.nb" -> {
   WindowMargins -> {{Automatic, 83}, {101, Automatic}}}}

So this puts up the "ClassroomAssistant" and "SpecialCharacters"
palettes at the indicated margin settings (which is the way to set the
position). You should read about what these numbers really mean in the
Documentation Center (look up WindowMargins) and realize that the size
of the window in combination with the margin settings need to both be
taken into account to understand where the window or palette really
gets located on your screen.

In the case where there are more than one screen or monitors,
sometimes the values to WindowMargins are negative, as there is no
concept of multiple monitors in Mathematica, so depending on how the
second monitor is located relative to the first monitor (on my Mac you
can easily setup the second monitor to be to the left, right, above or
below the primary monitor - and I think the same is true on Windows),
will dictate which of the left/right/bottom/top values to set (usually
only two of these have values and the other two are set to Automatic
according to the DC). Keep in mind that these WindowMargins[] and
WindowSize[] values are dynamically settable even after the window or
palette are created using either the Option Inspector or by just
moving or resizing them. If you don't quite see how to set the values,
play around with moving them to different parts of your screen(s) and
see what the resulting values are in the init.m file (this file
usually gets written to when you exit Mathematica). If you change the
position or size of a notebook window, these values get written to the
file when it's saved.

I empathize with your frustration with the user interface
inconsistancies and difficulties, but the pluses of Mathematica far
outweigh the minuses IMO, so try and keep an open mind about how
things work and do the best you can, and play around with different
features and read the documentation and ask lots of questions. This
group is fantastically helpful and as you use Mathematica more and
more you will get better and better at dealing with and understanding
the software. It really is a worthwhile investment in time and effort
if your future involves any sort of a technical aspect.

Good luck...


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