I want to add some items to the Mathematica 8.0.4 Help menu (under Mac OS X). In


I have the following cell:

  Item["Installed Add-Ons",FrontEndExecute[FrontEnd`FrontEndToken["OpenHelpLink",    
  Item["Standard Extra Packages",FrontEndExecute[FrontEnd`FrontEndToken["OpenHelpLink", 

but the items are not added to the Help menu when I start Mathematica.

Do I have the syntax wrong, or should this go in some other init.m?

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of mathematica.stackexchange.com/q/907/46? $\endgroup$
    – Heike
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ so, does this work when you run it interactively? $\endgroup$
    – acl
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ You are missing a closing ] in the code above. It works for me when put under $UserBaseDirectory/Autoload/PacletManager/Configuration/FrontEnd. It seem that the path you are using is not scanned for init.m files when MMa is starting up. $\endgroup$
    – Matariki
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry about the missing terminal ] in the code; a copy-paste error. I fixed that. $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ About@Matariki comment that the init.m can be placed in $UserBaseDirectory/Autoload/PacletManager/Configuration/FrontEnd: I'm using versioned preferences, and that directory already has an init_8.0.4.m with the following code: SetOptions[$FrontEndSession, PrivatePaths -> {"SystemResources" -> {ParentList}, "TextResources" -> {FrontEnd`FileName[{"/Applications/Math/Mathematica.app/\ AddOns/Applications/WolframAlphaClient/./FrontEnd", "TextResources"}, "PacletManager" -> True, "Prepend" -> True], ParentList}}] What to do? $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


I can only speak for Windows but I would expect the solution should be similar for Mac.

I created a file $BaseDirectory\FrontEnd\init.m

In that file I added the following lines. Note they are slightly different than what you provide but should do what you want.

  Item["Installed Add Ons",FrontEndExecute[FrontEnd`FrontEndToken["OpenHelpLink",
    {"guide/InstalledAddOns",Automatic}]]],Item["Standard Extra Packages",

I attempted to do this using $UserBaseDirectory\FrontEnd but Mathematica insists on wiping out any changes I make to the init.m file that already exists there.


Following the comment by @Matariki one can place the init.m file in $UserBaseDirectory\Autoload\PacletManager\Configuration\FrontEnd\ instead. I'm not sure which is preferable. The $BaseDirectory installation should add the customization for any user on the machine whereas the $UserBaseDirectory option will only work for the selected user.


Also worth noting is that "AboutBoxDialog" is a front end token that can be found in MenuSetup.tr located in $InstallationDirectory/SystemFiles/FrontEnd/TextResources/.

These tokens, to my knowledge, are the only way to control the placement of new commands in menus. I could for example have added a background color to the Format>Background Colors menu by noting that "BackgroundDialog" is the token closest to the relevant menu in MenuSetup.tr. Adding the following code to the previously mentioned init.m will add a Linen color to the Background Colors sub-menu.

  AddMenuCommands["BackgroundDialog", {Delimiter, 
  • $\begingroup$ Drat: I was hoping I could isolate any such change to $UserBaseDirectory and away from $BaseDirectory -- so that the change would definitely be preserved across upgrades or (in case needed) re-installation. I think the only difference between your version and mine is that I included Delimiter before and after the other items. My version of the init.m does work for Mac in $$BaseDirectory/FrontEnd/init.m. $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 21:58

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