I am trying to make Mathematica do some plots for me as a part of a script. I have a .m file that basically does Import[] on some data followed by

Export["plot.png", Graphics[...]]

I run this with math -script file.m. However every time I am distracted by a window that appears for a split second when the above command is executed. Obviously this is a source of unnecessary focus loss and delay. I suspect this command is responsible as I did not see it happen when I commented it out. I also believe that a window is not necessary because I can perfectly well run the same script in a text-only runlevel and I get the output plot just fine. How do I reach the same behaviour when running from an X terminal?

  • $\begingroup$ If I press Ctrl+C during the procedure I get: Interrupt during LinkConnect> in the command line and in a few seconds a message box appears saying "One or more programs are currently using the Wolfram Language front end as a service..." This happens even if I unset $DISPLAY prior to running the command. $\endgroup$
    – The Vee
    May 18, 2016 at 11:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ related mathematica.stackexchange.com/q/30866/2079 $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Mar 14, 2017 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


You may use WolframScript (its documentation page is wolframscript).

As it states in the documentation you can create a script file from File | New | Script (.wls). It has a notebook similar to package development but includes a script header. I put in two lines of code for data and export. The resulting script file contained.

#!/usr/bin/env wolframscript
(* ::Package:: *)



I am on Windows and it seems that wolframscript's installation directory was added to the system paths. Therefore I just went to the directory where I saved the script with the command prompt and entered:

wolframscript -file Test.wls

I can also just type in the script file name since the file extension is registered.


No windows popped up and the follow image appeared in my documents directory.

Mathematica graphics

I think WolframScript appeared in version 10.4 or 11. I believe it can be downloaded separately from the link I provided at the top if you have an earlier version.

Hope this helps.


I believe your graphics export is requiring a front end. This line below should cause it to run in background.

UsingFrontEnd[Export["plot.png", Graphics[...]]]

Alternatively try

math -noicon -script file.m
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! That's my guess, too. But interestingly MMA can do without the front end as I can run this from a text console (unless it launches its own dummy X server just for that purpose in the background). Unfortunately -noicon does not seem to make much difference in my Gnome environment—not to the momentary focus loss, at least, but even the icon flashes quickly. I was aware of UsingFrontEnd but I think I'm looking for an exact opposite of that, if that makes any sense in the system. $\endgroup$
    – The Vee
    May 18, 2016 at 16:01

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