A minimal example:


will yield error message

Button is not a Graphics primitive or directive.

But if you drop Graphics@ part in the code above, generating a button:

enter image description here

Then you edit the output, simply apprending Graphics@ to it. And viola!

enter image description here

I have no idea why this aproach will work but the code won't.

So is this the correct behavior? Can we call this a (tiny) bug?

By the way, the error message is actually very misleading. A button that really does something (anything) will work perfectly well in Graphics. For example:

Graphics@Button[Disk[], bla]

will work.


1 Answer 1


On the Documentation pages both for Graphics and Button only the two-argument form of Button is mentioned as a wrapper allowed inside of Graphics. So I would not say that the behavior you describe contradicts the Documentation.

From the other side, for what purpose may you need a knowingly inoperative Button inside of Graphics? This approach looks like a wrong idea on its own, so I would not complain that it produces an error message. Button without the second argument is just a useless wrapper and the error message correctly warns that you are doing something wrong.

You have already provided an easy workaround - simple addition of the second argument of Button (even Null) "fixes" this: Graphics@Button[Disk[], ] does not produce the error message.

So there is nothing that can be called even a minor bug.

Why then your workaround through editing the output by prepending Graphics@ to it works? Let us see what the output Cell actually contains by appending //InputForm and evaluating inside of a Notebook:


You see that the Button in the output Cell actually contains four arguments (but it is still the one-argument form of Button with options appended)! So the explanation is simple: Mathematica simply checks if Button contains only one argument and complains in this case. It seems to be the intended behavior but poorly implemented: more general case of one-argument Button with options was not considered by the developer. So it is not a bug, just careless without harmful consequences.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I agree with you. And I share many common arguments with you. What concerns me, and had baffled me, is the misleading message that this behavior may cause. As a newcomer who is not familiar with button in graphics, when I was trying to implement such a thing, I wasn't setting everything up in the first place, but firstly trying to see if an (empty) button will wrok well in graphics. By no means I would have known, in advance, that an empty button is considered "inappropriate" in this scenario. To make things worse, (continued)... $\endgroup$
    – Naitree
    Nov 29, 2014 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ an error message which states that a button will not work in graphics is certainly not helpful. I think similar "accident" may likely happen to other new users. And this can be really confusing for us. $\endgroup$
    – Naitree
    Nov 29, 2014 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ And my sincere thanks to you, for providing an thorough analysis on this (possibly trivial) question. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Naitree
    Nov 29, 2014 at 18:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the Accept. I agree that such a message is confusing for a new user if it face it without previous experience with Mathematica. Generally there are infinite number of such issues. And there are still at least hundreds of well-known issues which trouble newcomers for decades all the time: see this thread. Unfortunately the politics of the company still does not coincide well with expectations of the customers. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2014 at 18:16

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