I just found one powerful computational tool xAct. Unfortunately, I cannot get it installed correctly. The installation instruction provided by the website is too old, and in windows 10, there is no such directory as C:\Documents and settings\All Users\Application data\Mathematica\Applications. Where shall I install it?

So instead, I downloaded the full package and put xAct at C:\Program Files\Wolfram Research\Mathematica\11.0\AddOns\Applications, and I can invoke it by inputting <http://www.xact.es/Invar/".

I can use some of the functions. What is the correct way to install it?


Drake Marquis

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Try the directory returned by FileNameJoin[{$UserBaseDirectory, "Applications"}]. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2017 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. Thanks for your prompt answer! But Invar still does not work. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2017 at 7:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What is Invar? Shouldn't you load it with <<xAct`xTensor` or something? $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba I load it with <<xActxTras, which automatically loads xActInvar. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2017 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ Elaborate on "But Invar still does not work" $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


Follow the Instructions linked on the xAct Homepage first to load the main xAct package, which contains the Invar kernel. Then, the database of Riemann relations in Invar must be downloaded and installed separately. Follow the Invar link on the xAct page, and on the Invar page there is a Readme link that provides detailed instructions on the special install of the Riemann relations. You should also check at http://contrib.xact.es (link on xAct page provided) for possible contributing packages updates since the main xAct package was created, such as a whole new xPrint version and updates to xTras. Some of these have a link to another webpage for updating, and others provide a GitHub page where you can download the changed files (only overwrite the ones that have changed since the main xAct package was created).

The xAct folks recommend installing xAct in the Applications folder of the MMA $UserBaseDirectory (just unzip into this folder), which should (hopefully) remain untouched when updating MMA. After all the effort required to get to a fully updated xAct package, I would recommend storing a backup of it in case it gets messed up during an MMA update.

Trying to get the xAct help files installed in MMA 10 and higher seems to be a "lost cause." Besides, the xAct developers say that the help directory in the main xAct package does not reflect all of the more recent changes in the contributed packages. They recommend just going directly to the documentation files, which are mainly notebooks (I store a copy of them all next to my MMA working folders for easy access). Also, the xPrint palette has a help menu getting to the main help files (which is up to date if the latest xPrint version is installed).

xAct has its own GoogleGroups forum, which has a lot of info. on both installation issues as well as how to use it. For instance, I wanted to define a flat metric, but xAct generated MMA error messages when building it. Running a search under "FlatMetric" (the xAct option to specify a flat metric), there was a thread ("Mathematica 11.1") where the main developer suggested changing an entry in one of the files if you didn't want to see the error message (otherwise he said to ignore it). So there is an "update" to the installation that doesn't show up anywhere but as an xAct forum entry.

Run Needs["xAct`xPrint`"] followed by Needs["xAct`xTras`"] to load up "everything" when using xAct (except for specialized contributed packages which must be additionally loaded). IMO, the quickest and easiest way to start learning xAct is to first go through the xPrint instruction notebook xPrintDoc.nb, and then use xPrint when possible.

Hopefully that about covers it.



I had the same issue. You have to find first the hidden directory. Go to the search icon in task bar and

1)type file explorer,

2) view hidden systems files and hidden system data something like that(I have a greek version of windows 10 so it's in greek)

3)select the option for programmers and select view settings to view hidden files and system data.

4)Select view settings.

5)Then a window pops out. Select from the bar the option view hidden files, folders and disk units (sth like that). Then tick the box.

Mathematica is in installed in C/users/Your Username/AppData(which was hidden)/Roaming/Mathematica/Applications/Xact/Invar. You will see that the Riemann file is not there. Put it in Invar and then you are ok.

I hope it helps.


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