First off, I am using Mathematica 8.0 and Mac OS X 10.7.4. Recently, when starting a new Mathematica session, I am confronted with an error beep and message window stating "The file you tried to open was not found or could not be opened." That said, I can simply click OK, and the error box vanishes which seemingly no more problems.

This is potentially a problem for me, because I have scripts set up on my computer that instruct Mathematica to open at particular times, then do particular tasks. I also want to add that I am using Dropbox to access Mathematica files in the cloud, but I never open and evaluate any one file in the cloud at the same time. Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ I have encountered that problem since version 6, although it may have been 7. Since it hasn't been an issue, I have not worried about it. It seems most prevalent when openning larger notebooks. $\endgroup$
    – rcollyer
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ Something in one of your init.m files perhaps? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Just on an off chance: Have you had a look in the Console to see if Mma left a message in there? $\endgroup$
    – Matariki
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ On Mac, one thing you could try is to open Disk Utility and perform a "Repair Permissions" - this may help if the error message is due MMA trying to access a file that it doesn't have privileges to open. $\endgroup$
    – Jens
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 21:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ stan, MathTeam, welcome to Mathematica.SE! If you registered your account then any reputation points you get from future questions and answers will be added to those you are getting from this question. $\endgroup$
    – Verbeia
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


I'm almost certain that the reason is due to a missing stylesheet (or a file that's linked to from a notebook). When you use a custom stylesheet for a particular notebook, you'll find something like the following in Options[EvaluationNotebook[]]

StyleDefinitions -> "stylesheet.nb"

If you delete stylesheet.nb or if you downloaded a notebook from someone who had used their custom stylesheet, then Mathematica will issue a "file not found" error when you open that notebook. One solution would be to go to Format > Stylesheet > and choose something that you like.

Now the reason why you're seeing this happen every time Mathematica starts up is because on OS X Lion (10.7.x), which you're using, the default behaviour is for programs to open previously open documents on startup. So when Mathematica tries to open this problematic notebook on startup, it gives you an error saying that the stylesheet file wasn't found. You can disable this on your Mac by going to System Preferences > Personal > General and unchecking Restore windows when quitting and reopening apps.


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