I am watching the video Hands-on Start to Mathematica Basic Graphics and for about 15 minutes I was trying to evaluate $\frac{\sin x}{x}$ and each time I encountered errors like:

  1. The result can not be shown as XML
  2. syntax error, not able to interprete
  3. List item
  4. List item

until I found out that my internet connection has been lost for a while. As soon as I finished fixing the problem and returned to my desk to reavaluate that command, it worked. Do we need internet connection whenever we are working to Mathematica? Then what if there's no connection available?
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  • $\begingroup$ @OleksandrR. oh yes you're true. I had similar problems when using the documentation center. For example whenever I chose Help>Find selected Function, I encountered the error dialog. That is because it needs online access. then there's nothing wrong with my installation of mathematica $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ You only need internet access when you use the natural language interface / WolframAlpha. If you're using plain Mathematica functions (except the *Data functions) you don't need a connection. $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


No, you only need the Internet connection if you are using Wolfram|Alpha to enter your inputs, because this is a web service. If you had typed the Mathematica input

Plot[Sin[x]/x, {x, -9.4, 9.4}]

rather than

graph of sin[x]/x

then this would not have happened.

W|A's interpretation of inputs is unpredictable at the best of times, so I would suggest that you don't use it in this way in ordinary circumstances: I think the tutorial is only using it to make you aware that it is possible.

  • $\begingroup$ The problem is sometimes in spite of having access to the internet, I have this problem. For example if I choose a subpod and request it from Wolfram|Alpha the error dialog, Mathematica goes Not Responding and then another error dialog is shown without letting me do anything and finally I have to close Mathematica $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ anyway what does requesting a subpod from Wolfram|Alpha mean? $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ I have not experienced this problem myself, but it sounds like a bug or glitch with your configuration. In the preferences dialog (under the Edit menu), go to the Internet Connectivity tab and press "Update local indices from Wolfram Research server", run RebuildPacletData[], and then restart Mathematica. If it is a paclet problem, this will hopefully solve it. In the same dialog you are given the option to disable Internet access completely, which may also help. $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ About the subpods, this is described in the W|A API reference. It is not really something that a new user should, or should have to, concern themselves with. (In my opinion anyway.) $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2015 at 19:02

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