I am running Mathematica 10 on linux and noted that the directories containing Mathematica's documentation come to over 3GB.

Am I safe to delete these directories without affecting how Mathematica runs? Presumably doing so means I cannot pull up the documentation from Mathematica, but given that when it's in use I am normally online this is a small price to pay.

I have previously read this thread, but there they only mention altering the documentation notebooks to reduce their size: this solution then requires some work, compared to just deleting them all!


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Probably it's ok. A nice extension of this question might be how to change the Help > Find Selected Function menu command to search the online documentation. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 12:18
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Well, I think nobody is going to tell you that it's fine for sure, as Mathematica hasn't had the documentation as an optional component for a long time (since version 4 IIRC? So about 15 years now.) Personally, I'd just remove it and see what happens. You'll soon know whether things work correctly (for whatever definition of "correctly" you prefer) or not. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ I miss a option to install Mathematica with no docs. $\endgroup$
    – Murta
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ In theory deleting the documentation notebooks should not affect any functionality (it certainly doesn't affect the kernel) aside from the in-product documentation, obviously. However, this is clearly not a supported operation, so there could be some instability in the FrontEnd as a result, but I'd say it's rather unlikely to crash due to this (no guarantees, though). $\endgroup$
    – Stefan R
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Which Mathematica files may be deleted to save space $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


With some confidence instilled by the comments, I decided to give it a go.

The subdirectory of Documentation which appears to take up the most space is Symbols (2GB). Having deleted this I can happily say there has been (in the last hour) no adverse effect.

Following Oleksandr R.'s lead, I'm not promising the same will be true for anyone else: but it seems to have worked fine for me.

  • $\begingroup$ I would expect that the only thing that's going to happen is that some of the links in the remaining documentation will be broken. I would be real surprised if anything else happened. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 16:16

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