Suppose I have a Mathematica script called test.m. There at least 4 ways to run this from the terminal:

math -script test.m

math -run < test.m

math < test.m

MathematicaScript test.m

math -noprompt -run "<<test.m"

What are the differences between these? What is the recommended way to run a Mathematica script (that is, I would like to get a behavior similar to the one you get with a python script by running python file.py)


3 Answers 3


I'm not sure on which operating system you are and whether this makes a difference, but your 4 choice don't do the same.

math -run file.m


When you change this command to math -run < file.m then it does the same as the next (wrong) alternative.

Doesn't do anything with the content of file.m at all, because the -run option expects a command like math -run Print[2]. Additionally, the command is not ran in batch mode like you would expect it from a script. Instead, an interactive command-line Mathematica session is opened. This is the same (although the session is quit instantly) for

math < file.m

where the content of file.m is executed, but file.m is not considered to be a script. You can easily see this when you create a script file with she-bang like

#!/usr/local/bin/MathematicaScript -script


the the output of math < file.m looks pretty awesome:

Mathematica 10.0 for Linux x86 (64-bit)
Copyright 1988-2014 Wolfram Research, Inc.

Out[1]= -script + -------------------------------
                  bin local MathematicaScript usr

In[2]:= In[2]:= Hello


Your last alternative seems to miss the -script option which is (as stupid as this may sound) required, even for the MathematicaScript command. Therefore, I need to run

WolframScript -script file.m

or I get an error

error: Need to provide the -script option. Usage: -script

which is pretty lame.

If I had to give a suggestion, I would tell you to always include the she-bang in your file and make the file executable with chmod +x. Then you can simply call

patrick@lenerd:~/tmp$ ./file.m 
  • $\begingroup$ I had forgotten a < in my second option (the one with -run). Taking into account your answer, I added a 5th option also using -run. Please see the edits in my question. $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Oct 9, 2014 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ With the additional redirect (<) you get the same output as in math < file.m, because the she-bang is not valid Mathematica syntax (but usually required). $\endgroup$
    – halirutan
    Oct 9, 2014 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure whether this answer is just confusing or wrong (for V12.3) but when I run math -run file.m it starts an interactive mathematica session and does nothing with the file. (So it does what you describe for math -run < file.m.) $\endgroup$
    – Kvothe
    May 25, 2023 at 10:18

From my experience and under linux:

For MMA v10, I use:

MathematicaScript -script script_file

For MMA v11, I use:

wolframscript -f script_file

For the sake of a more condensed and current reply (Mathematica 11) I write my answer.

I think you should make use of the script option which is built to be used in the command line. For that, you have to have a file (named file) that would look like this:

#!/usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/11.3/Executables/wolframscript -script (*Default installation place for Mathematica 11*)
(* Your Code *)
Print["Hello World"];

file doesnt have to be a .m. Assuming you are in Linux it can just be named file and given executable privileges by running the command chmod +x file.

You run your mathematica script in the command line with


It can take commandline arguments as well as shown here. Note: if your command arguments are not all numbers don't use the ToExpression part in vars. By default the rest of the var definition will return your arguments into a list of strings, and you can convert the desired argument to an expression as needed in your code.

Hope it helped. When I was trying to create my own script I would have liked a direct short answer like this.


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