I'm using Mathematica 8 with operating system Mac OS X Lion. When I open Mathematica it always loads a blank notebook. I don't want it to load anything by default.

In the Preferences pane there is a tab for Appearance. Near the bottom of the tabview there is an option

"Show at startup"

with a drop down menu. There is no option for not showing anything at startup. Is there a way around this?


2 Answers 2


In Windows, you set InitialUntitledNotebook to False in the Global Options > PrivateFrontEndOptions section of the Option Inspector to prevent a Untitled-1 notebook opening at start-up. You can also supress/show the welcome splash screen.The combination "ShowAtStartup"->"New Document" and "InitialUntitledNotebook"->False" gives just the MMA toolbar at startup.

option inspector start up

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This appears to be a bug for the Mac OS X version of Mathematica 8. I did this but when I load Mathematica it just hangs. I use multiple desktops. When I slide to the next desktop, one that I didn't load Mathematica in, and then go back Mathematica is no longer hanging and a blank notebook shows up. Thanks for the information. $\endgroup$
    – user246
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ works fine on snow leopard. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ This looks much cleaner than my old kludge, though I know that mine worked since version 4. This appears to have been added in Version 8. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'm using Lion. I should have stated this. $\endgroup$
    – user246
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:53

It appears that there is a better option in version 8; use that if you have it. For older versions:

I was bothered by having Mathematica start with a blank notebook open. I could close this notebook with a script, but it would still flash open briefly. My hack is to create a file Invisible.nb containing:


And add this to my Kernel\init.m :

If[Length[Notebooks["Invisible*"]] > 0, 

  Options[$FrontEnd, NotebooksMenu] /. 
    HoldPattern["Invisible.nb" -> {__}] :> Sequence[]

This closes the invisible Notebook after Mathematica starts. Normally it would not be a problem, but this is "good housekeeping" and there are some packages or tools that I have seen that rely on Notebooks[]. Furthermore, if Invisible.nb somehow got focus and something was pasted into it that would be confusing.

I now start Mathematica by opening Invisible.nb


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