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What I miss at times in Mathematica is an interactive prompt where I can type to see, e.g., the value of a variable, without having to go through the hassle of cleaning the notebook from cluttering output.

The interactive command line provides just that but without the convenience of the notebook frontend.

Is there a way to share the kernel/workspace/context between the two? Alternatively, is there anyway to obtain an interactive prompt for mathematica in some form?

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    $\begingroup$ Not really an answer, but I usually work with two/three notebooks in parallel. One for the real stuff, and one which is scrap - I use it exactly to quickly evaluate variables/expressions, plot stuff etc., and I clear it periodically. $\endgroup$ – yohbs Jul 31 '17 at 21:42
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Like @yohbs, I typically work with at least two notebooks at once. One of them is used, among other things, for debugging code such as variable tracking. A notebook is much more convenient than interacting with a kernel on the command line -- you can make use of Dynamic in a notebook and get live tracking of global variables.

Here is example of such a secondary notebook.

notebook

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