I am facing a very annoying problem with mathematica file. Sometimes it is automatically saved in a "pdf like" bizarre format. Each input and output line of the original (.nb) file starts with In[#] and Out[#] respectively. Here is how it looks. enter image description here

I can not transform into usual input type format. I have to re-type the whole file again! :( I've no idea what's going on here.


Here is the link to the file : https://www.dropbox.com/s/b71d14rlkf9vcx4/scalar-w4.nb?dl=0

Info : I use mathematica 10.0 and I just realized this is happening in my desktop which is debian 7.8 (64 bit). But it also happens in my laptop (ubuntu 14.04) if I try to modify that file.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This seems a very random occurrence; unless somebody else has experience this, it would seem to me that you need to get in touch with WRI support for troubleshooting. Anyway, when you open one of these garbled files back in Mathematica, does it still contain selectable text? If so, at the very least you should be able to remove the In and Out expressions with some text manipulation tool, and avoid having to retype your notebook. $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Jul 28, 2015 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a place where you can put one of the changed files online? $\endgroup$
    – rcollyer
    Jul 28, 2015 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ Every time I have a problem that seems completely inexplicable I try this first - support.wolfram.com/kb/12464 $\endgroup$
    – N.J.Evans
    Jul 28, 2015 at 21:31
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    $\begingroup$ The format of the file you shared is reminiscent of what you would get if you "Save As..." -> "Plain Text", but I assume that you did not select plain text format when you saved. It may we worth checking, however, whether for some reason your "Save..." mistakenly defaults to Plain Text format for some reason. $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Jul 28, 2015 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ " if I try to modify that file." -- just to be sure, you're not editing these Notebook files outside of Mathematica, or opening the same Notebook in two different Mathematica sessions, are you? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Jul 29, 2015 at 5:04

1 Answer 1


Opening the file in emacs shows that it is a text file in UTF-8. The Greek characters display correctly. My emacs setup doesn't have the Wolfram private use character font installed, so the double struck differential [DifferentialD] doesn't display properly. A Chinese character is displayed. But it is a text file, without doubt.

          position: 12423 of 12449 (100%), column: 14
        character:  (displayed as ) (codepoint 63308, #o173514, #xf74c)
preferred charset: unicode (Unicode (ISO10646))
code point in charset: 0xF74C
           syntax: w    which means: word
         category: L:Left-to-right (strong), c:Chinese
         to input: type "C-x 8 RET f74c"
      buffer code: #xEF #x9D #x8C
        file code: #xEF #x9D #x8C (encoded by coding system utf-8-unix)
          display: by this font (glyph code)
xft:-FYNN-Jomolhari-normal-normal-normal-*-15-*-*-*-*-0-iso10646-1 (#x51A)

Character code properties: customize what to show
general-category: Co (Other, Private Use)
decomposition: (63308) ('')

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