Suppose I have a notebook consisting of these cells:

  • Cell G, containing a grid
  • Cell I, containing a program that produces a graphic and places it in a cell
  • Cell E, a cell which successfully receives the graphic from cell I

One of the items in the grid in Cell G contains Cell D, which is where I'm trying to place my graphic.

The program in Cell I successfully places the graphic it creates by using this technique:




So far, this is awesome. My program does not generate any output cells, but I can [Shift]-[Enter] it and see the graphic appear in Cell E wherever that happens to be.

But what I need is for the graphic to appear in Cell D. Currently, I'm trying to use this simple extension to the original idea:

NotebookWrite[First[Cells[First[Cells[CellTags->"cell-D"]], CellTags->"cell-G"]],`cell];

But alas, I get a beep:

You tried to edit inside a subexpression that cannot be edited, because it is a fixed special form.

Several hours of googling and experimenting have not yielded fruit. And, in particular, I have been unable to find out what is meant by "fixed special form".

I have discovered only the following:

  • The problem isn't whether the cell is editable.
  • The problem isn't the grid.
  • The problem isn't how I'm trying to get to Cell D. That is, my code does return the correct CellObject.

Anybody know anything?


1 Answer 1


Got it at last. Turns out it all came down to how Cell D was being created in the first place, which was like this:


Looks perfectly innocuous, but it doesn't actually spit that out. When I evaluated that, the expression that was actually produced was this:

     InterpretationBox[Cell["Cell D",
      TextCell["Cell D", CellTags -> {"cell-D"}]], "\<\"+\"\>", "\<\"Hello\"\>"}
   GridBoxItemSize->{"Columns" -> {{Automatic}}, "Rows" -> {{Automatic}}}],
  "Grid"]], "Output",
 CellChangeTimes->{3.650519194416835*^9, 3.6505192328698063`*^9, 3.650519265619585*^9, {3.650519309424439*^9, 3.650519327862068*^9}, 3.65051936737801*^9, 3.650519575017583*^9, 

The problem here is the InterpretationBox. I do not know for sure, but I believe that's what Mathematica was talking about when it said "fixed special form". And it looks pointless, too. All it does is take my TextCell and present it as a plain Cell.

Thing is, using a plain Cell was the very first thing I tried, and it didn't work like you would expect:

In[212]:= Cell["Cell D",CellTags->{"cell-D"}]
Out[212]= Cell[Cell D,CellTags->{cell-D}]

I don't know why Mathematica does this, but the way around it was to wrap my cell in DisplayForm[], which is intended specifically to address this issue. With my plain cell printing as I expect it to, I can use it my grid, and now I don't have an InterpretationBox, and now my code works like I expect!


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