What topics can I ask about here?

Mathematica Stack Exchange is for users of the software Mathematica developed by Wolfram Research, as well as related products like gridMathematica, Wolfram Workbench, Player (Pro), and the CDF Player. If you have a question about the Mathematica system or wish to solve a problem using Mathematica, then you have come to the right place!

Be aware that only good questions receive good answers. Good questions usually contain most of the following ingredients:

  • a clear description of what your problem exactly is or what you are trying to achieve;
  • a minimal working code example of your problem or your efforts, formatted with Ctrl+K, so that other users can easily copy it and try it themselves;
  • an example of what you expect as output, if your code doesn't do what you want it to do;
  • some proof of minimal Mathematica knowledge: be familiar with the language, its syntax, and the ways you can look for help. The searchable Documentation Center is included with Mathematica, and contains a full language reference, tutorials and guides.
  • a title that clearly and succinctly summarizes your problem. That will help the right people notice your question.

The formatting of your code is as important as its content, because it makes your question easier to read. Be sure to format the code by enclosing it with backticks (as in `code`) or by indenting lines of code by four spaces, which you can easily do by selecting the code and pressing Ctrl+K (Cmd+K on Mac). The toolbar on the top of the editor window contains other markup functions. Select a portion of text and then click on the appropriate button.

Pay attention to Mathematica syntax, because code with erroneous syntax cannot be tested by others.

A complete reference can be found found on the Markdown help page. Additionally, the site supports MathJax, which allows you to use a $\LaTeX$-like syntax in your posts. Just enclose a mathematical expression in dollar signs (e.g. $\frac{2}{3}$ gives $\frac{2}{3}$).

(But including a formula in $\LaTeX$ is no substitute for your Mathematica code!)

In general, put as much effort into your question as you would like others to put into their answers. After asking your question, try to stay on the site for a while, since comments to your question will usually be quickly posted.

Some kinds of questions are considered off-topic:

  • Questions on Wolfram Alpha (but questions on using Wolfram Alpha within Mathematica are okay).
  • Questions on licensing, specific support arrangements, product availability and pre-release versions of Mathematica — please contact Wolfram Support at support@wolfram.com.
  • Questions about the site itself — please ask on the meta site instead.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Mathematica Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

Current custom close reasons include:

  • "This question arises due to a simple mistake such as a trivial syntax error, incorrect capitalization, spelling mistake, or other typographical error and is unlikely to help any future visitors, or else it is easily found in the documentation."

  • "This question cannot be answered without additional information. Questions on problems in code must describe the specific problem and include valid code to reproduce it. Any data used for programming examples should be embedded in the question or code to generate the (fake) data must be included."

  • "The question is out of scope for this site. The answer to this question requires either advice from Wolfram support or the services of a professional consultant."

Make an effort to keep your questions out of any of these categories. Note that if a question is put on hold for any of these reasons, it will be marked as "off-topic" due to the present mechanics of the closing system, even if the question is, strictly speaking, on topic.