I would like to set up a plot viewer that can display plots from a Wolfram Engine session. (Something similar to python where when we plot something, the Graphic appears in a new window). The plot doesn't have to be interactive as the main idea is to quickly see what the plot looks like for the given code.

Of course, I can link the kernel with Jupyter notebooks and get an experience that closely resembles that of Mathematica notebooks, but I am curious to know if a plot viewer can be set up that can be directly invoked from the terminal.

I would really appreciate any tips and suggestions. Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ What platform are you on and what is the name of your plot viewer? $\endgroup$
    – Syed
    Nov 14, 2021 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm on macOS and the plot viewer is the one that cames with matplotlib in python $\endgroup$
    – Sâu
    Nov 14, 2021 at 21:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ SystemOpen[File["C:\\test.pdf"]] runs the acrobat reader and opens this file on my machine. I am on Windows though. Try to see if you can Export a graphic to a certain location on disk. Then use the full path to the file and it should open with the registered application on your OS. This is as much as I can help you since I am not on a Mac. I am using Mathematica not the Wolfram Engine. $\endgroup$
    – Syed
    Nov 14, 2021 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ You may consider using Jupyter notebooks with wolfram engine. The plots get rasterised in Jypyter notebooks though. github.com/WolframResearch/WolframLanguageForJupyter $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2021 at 9:00
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ If viewing plots in PDF format, I would recommend SumatraPDF instead of Acrobat Reader. The reason is that Sumatra is lighter, free and doesn't lock the file, so overwriting the file with a new version is easier. I say this as a user, I'm not linked to Sumatra development at all. $\endgroup$
    – rhermans
    Nov 15, 2021 at 10:32

2 Answers 2


The basic idea is to set $DisplayFunction or $Post.

I have the following code in my tool bag:




$TemporaryOutput = FileNameJoin@{$TemporaryDirectory, "WolframKernelOutput"};
If[!DirectoryQ@#, CreateDirectory@#] &@$TemporaryOutput;
WriteToShell[str_] := (
  If[Head@$ShellProcess =!= ProcessObject, $ShellProcess = StartProcess@$SystemShell];
  WriteLine[$ShellProcess, str];

MakeNotebook[box_] := Notebook[{Cell@BoxData@box}, WindowSize -> All]

WolframPlayer[expr_, box_] := (
  $WolframPlayerProcess = If[# === {}, StartProcess@"WolframPlayer", None] &@SystemProcesses@"WolframPlayer";
    "WolframPlayer ",
    Export[FileNameJoin@{$TemporaryOutput, CreateUUID["CDFOutput-"]<>".cdf"}, MakeNotebook@box, "CDF"]
  ] //WriteToShell;
  ExportString[OutputForm@expr, "Text"]

$Epilog := (
  KillProcess/@{$ShellProcess, $WolframPlayerProcess};
  Quiet@DeleteFile@FileNames[__, $TemporaryOutput];
  If[FindFile["end`"] =!= $Failed, << "end`"] (* Original definition. You can read it with OwnValues. *)



(*$DisplayFunction = WolframPlayer[#, ToBoxes@#]&;*)
$Post = With[{box = ToBoxes@#},
    WolframPlayer[#, box]

This calls WolframPlayer. For non-interactive contents, you can simply export as PNG and use another picture viewer.

Another way to do this is JavaGraphics`. It costs a lot of time on its first loading, so that it may be inconvenient when you frequently restart wolfram kernel sessions.


There is a complete solution, that uses Wolfram Engine and javascript as a frontend

enter image description here


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