As the title states I would like to dynamically show ::usage on several functions.

Let's consider two functions here:


Thus I do:

   PopupMenu[Dynamic@whichfun, funlist], "usage should be here"], 

Instead of "usage should be here" I obviously tried (Dynamic@whichfun)::usage but it's complaining that the Head is not a Symbol, so I tried to convert it to a Symbol but it still fails.

Thus the question is:

How can I convert Dynamic@whichfun in order to be able to have its usage?


2 Answers 2


This is the problem with evaluation, since MessageName is HoldFirst. You can use e.g.

Dynamic[MessageName @@ {whichfun, "usage"}]


Dynamic @ MessageName[Evaluate[whichfun], "usage"]

in place of "usage should be here".

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! It seems like I'll always do the same mistakes when I use Dynamic. Additional Question (might be to be edited): Do you know how to display the first line of the usage only? $\endgroup$
    – Öskå
    Oct 1, 2013 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Öskå Not sure how robust this is, but I would use something like this: Dynamic[First@ StringSplit[MessageName[Evaluate[whichfun], "usage"], "\n"]]. $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2013 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ It does the job, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Öskå
    Oct 1, 2013 at 14:05

Use With to inject expression:

funlist = {Plot, Plot3D};
Input[Panel[PopupMenu[Dynamic@whichfun, funlist], 
  Dynamic[With[{t = whichfun}, MessageName[t, "usage"]]]], 

enter image description here


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