I want to make export of a plot inside Manipulate, but only once. However, this code runs infinitely and does export infinitely:

  pl = Plot[Sin[a x + b], {x, 0, 6}];
  Export["pl.pdf", pl];
 , {a, 1, 4}, {b, 0, 10}]

If I remove Export[] from Manipulate, problem disappears, but I need it inside Manipulate for other reason;)

Can we control number of evaluations of certain code inside Manipulate?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please add version information? Which OS and which Mathematica version you are using? $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Aug 14, 2013 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


What about this (sans Module):

Manipulate[pl = Plot[Sin[a x + b], {x, 0, 6}], {a, 1, 4}, {b, 0, 10}, 
Button["Export", Export["pl.pdf", pl]]]

Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ "Clean clean" ♪ ♫ +1 $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Aug 14, 2013 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard whuzzat (non sequitur)? $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Aug 14, 2013 at 16:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, I looked at your answer and thought "that's clean." Then I thought of this. Yes, I know I'm weird. :o) $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Aug 14, 2013 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ LOL! Now I have to get that out of my head, thank you :-) $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Aug 14, 2013 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ But really the question was on why using Export was causing a Continuous updating since it should not be the case. I say this is bug or bad design somewhere in export. The 2 solutions given are simply work around. The problem itself has not gone away, because again, calling export[] should not have caused this. Even when adding SynchronousUpdating -> False which means do not time out, the Continuous updating is still there. $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Aug 14, 2013 at 16:58

It is a Dynamic problem. Export seems to be tagged dynamic somewhere. This is workaround. When I saw this, I remembered similar problem few days ago, and I used the same trick given there and it worked.

I set SynchronousUpdating -> False and ContinuousAction -> False else it will be very slow since you'll be trying to make a pdf file for each small tick change. Now a PDF file will be created when you release the mouse only from the slider.

SetDirectory[NotebookDirectory[]]; (*so we know where the PDF file is *)


  pl = Plot[Sin[a x + b], {x, 0, 6}];
  myExport["myPlot.pdf", pl];

 {a, 1, 4},
 {b, 0, 10},

 SynchronousUpdating -> False,
 ContinuousAction -> False,

 Initialization :> 
   myExport[type_String, p_] := myExport[type, p] = Export[type, p]

reference: Manipulate keeps updating due to a function


The problem as I saw it, is why Manipulate continue to update when using an Export when though Export is clearly not updating any of the control variables. On V 9.01, these are animations showing the problem. First animation is the original code posted above, and the second one, after adding SynchronousUpdating -> False.

The real question I assumed why: Why does this happen.

enter image description here


enter image description here


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