For everyday work I use a custom notebook template. Its name DefaultModified.nb However, in order to open it I need to first open a built-in default notebook, go to the Menu/Format/StyleSheet and define the style that I need.

My question: Is it possible to fix in Mma a style of the notebook that will open by default? In my case the DefaultModified.nb.

Note that I do not want to kill or change the Default.nb style. Let it be in case that something goes wrong. I only want to ask Mma to open another template by default.

  • $\begingroup$ You can use DefaultStyleDefinitions but I'd rename yours to Default.nb and put it in $UserBaseDirectory/... so that notebooks have a valid StyleDefinitions when sent to others. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba How to use the DefaultStyleDefinitions? Yes, I understan that I could simply rename DefaultModified.nb into Defalt.nb. My point is, however, that I do not want to destroy the Default.nb $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You don't have to destroy it, it is in $InstallationDirectory while yours would be in $UserBaseDirectory. I haven't tried DefaultStyleDefinitions but I suppose SetOptions[$FrontEnd... should work. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – Stitch
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ You begin the question by referring to a template. Later it appears that you want to set a default stylesheet? If you want to globally set the default stylesheet that opens with each new notebook then doing that in the options inspector is probably easiest $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


According to the Documentation,

DefaultStyleDefinitions is a global option that specifies the default stylesheet for all new notebooks.

The stylesheet must be located in a directory that is listed in StyleSheetPath.

Note that this option affects not only on-screen display, but also determines the default styles used by Export.

By convention the custom user stylesheets should be located in the user profile directory:

dir = FileNameJoin[{$UserBaseDirectory, "SystemFiles", "FrontEnd", "StyleSheets"}];

If the directory doesn't exists one should create it:

If[! DirectoryQ[dir], CreateDirectory[dir]];

You should put your custom stylesheet "DefaultModified.nb" in this directory and then set it as the default via

CurrentValue[$FrontEnd, DefaultStyleDefinitions] = "DefaultModified.nb";

After restarting the FrontEnd all the new Notebooks will have this stylesheet by default.

It is worth to mention that according to Kuba's comment, StyleDefinitions are always set as a path relative to directories on StyleSheetPath, for example one can specify StyleDefinitions -> FrontEnd`FileName[{"Lectures"}, "styles.nb"] for a stylesheet "styles.nb" in a directory "Lectures" located wherever on StyleSheetPath. The same should be true for DefaultStyleDefinitions.

  • $\begingroup$ Do not use this method with 12.1, it produces curious results (in my case, unevaluatable cells). Use the method described in the article in Wolfram Support linked by ktm. $\endgroup$
    – Nicholas G
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 9:25

Wolfram has an article discussing precisely this:



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