I find Mathematica handling of directories utterly bizarre to say the least. I end up losing changes and seeing files saved in wrong folder due to this. Even in Version 10.01 which I am using, on windows 7.

I open a notebook, say in /A/index.nb. The NotebookDirectory[] shows it is /A correctly. Now if I just do File->Save.. the notebook will be saved in /A. However, if I want to save the notebook as PDF, then I do File->SaveAs.. now the popup window that comes up is not the same as NotebookDirectory[], which is what I expect, but it is Options[$FrontEnd, NotebookBrowseDirectory] which can be different. (it seems to depend on where one used SaveAs.. last time.)

What is even more confusing is that M says this

Mathematica graphics

So, the current working directly is the last saved to directory??

Sometimes I do not notice the folder in the File dialogue menu that comes up, expecting it to naturally to be the same as the notebook directory of the notebook I am currently using, and end up saving the notebook as PDF in the wrong folder.

Since I have many notebooks open at the same time, in many different folders (and I names them index.nb, and I save as PDF and HTML all the time, I am always making a mistake in saving wrong files in wrong locations due to this. Or I spend lots of time changing directories manually with the File dialogue.

A simple solution is to make Options[$FrontEnd, NotebookBrowseDirectory] always the same NotebookDirectory[]. I do not see any need to have it something else right now.

Is there a way to automatically tell Mathematica to do this? May be in preferences? I can see NotebookBrowseDirectory in preferences, but it is string. I need it to be NotebookDirectory[] all the time.

Related question How to set default save directory for notebooks? but I did not see how the answers there solve this problem.


1 Answer 1


I am happy to say this is finally fixed in 10.1.

Now Save As will open popup window that points to the folder where the notebook is located and not to where the last directory used or visited.

Now no more files will be overwritten and lost.

good job WRI


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