wxMaxima Manual

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The wxMaxima user’s manual

wxMaxima is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Maxima computer algebra system (CAS). wxMaxima allows one to use all of Maxima’s functions. In addition, it provides convenient wizards for accessing the most commonly used features. This manual describes some of the features that make wxMaxima one of the most popular GUIs for Maxima.

wxMaxima logo

Before we look at the content a few points regarding navigation are in order. Immediately below is a short table of contents. Clicking on any of the listed items moves the cursor to the top of the indicated section of the manual. Clicking on Contents here or on the line below the short table of contents moves the cursor to an extended table of contents. This extended table can be used to navigate more directly to specific parts of the manual. Finally, an index provides an alphabetical listing of many of the items in the manual with links to these items.

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1 Introduction to wxMaxima

1.1 Maxima and wxMaxima

In the open-source domain big systems are normally split into smaller projects that are easier to handle for small groups of developers. For example a CD burner program will consist of a command-line tool that actually burns the CD and a graphical user interface that allows users to implement it without having to learn about all the command line switches and in fact without using the command line at all. One advantage of this approach is that the developing work that was invested into the command-line program can be shared by many programs: The same CD-burner command-line program can be used as a “send-to-CD”-plug-in for a file manager application, for the “burn to CD” function of a music player and as the CD writer for a DVD backup tool. Another advantage is that splitting one big task into smaller parts allows the developers to provide several user interfaces for the same program.

A computer algebra system (CAS) like Maxima fits into this framework. A CAS can provide the logic behind a arbitrary precision calculator application or it can do automatic transforms of formulas in the background of a bigger system (e.g., Sage). Alternatively, it can be used directly as a free-standing system. Maxima can be accessed via a command line. Often, however, an interface like wxMaxima proves a more efficient way to access the software, especially for newcomers. computer algebra system.

1.1.1 Maxima

Maxima is a full-featured computer algebra system (CAS). A CAS is a program that can solve mathematical problems by rearranging formulas and finding a formula that solves the problem as opposed to just outputting the numeric value of the result. In other words, Maxima can serve as a calculator that gives numerical representations of variables, and it can also provide analytical solutions. Furthermore, it offers a range of numerical methods of analysis for equations or systems of equations that cannot be solved analytically.

Maxima screenshot

Extensive documentation for Maxima is  available in the internet. Part of this documentation is also available in wxMaxima’s help menu. Pressing the Help key (on most systems that would be the F1 key) causes wxMaxima’s context-sensitive help feature will automatically jump to Maxima’s manual page for the command at the cursor.  

1.1.2 wxMaxima

wxMaxima is a graphical user interface that provides the full functionality and flexibility of Maxima. wxMaxima offers users a graphical display and many features that make working with Maxima easier. For example wxMaxima allows one to export any cell’s contents (or, if that is needed, any part of a formula, as well) as text, as LaTeX or as MathML specification at a simple right-click. Indeed, an entire workbook can be exported, either as an HTML file or as a LaTeX file. Documentation for wxMaxima, including workbooks to illustrate aspects of its use, is online at the wxMaxima help site, as well as via the help menu.

wxMaxima window

The calculations that are entered in wxMaxima are performed by the Maxima command-line tool in the background.

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1.2 Workbook basics

Much of wxMaxima is self-explaining, but some details require attention. This site contains a number of workbooks that address various aspects of wxMaxima. Working through some of these (particularly the "10 minute (wx)Maxima tutorial") will increase one’s familiarity with both the content of Maxima and the use of wxMaxima to interact with Maxima. This manual concentrates on describing aspects of wxMaxima that are not likely to be self-evident and that might not be covered in the online material.

1.2.1 The workbook approach

One of the very few things that are not standard in wxMaxima is that it organizes the data for Maxima into cells that are evaluated (which means: sent to Maxima) only when the user requests this. When a cell is evaluated, all commands in that cell, and only that cell, are evaluated as a batch. (The preceding statement is not quite accurate: One can select a set of adjacent cells and evaluate them together. Also, one can instruct Maxima to evaluate all cells in a workbook in one pass.) wxMaxima's approach to submitting commands for execution might feel unfamiliar at the first sight. It does, however, drastically ease work with big documents (where the user certainly does not want every small change to automatically to trigger a full re-evaluation of the whole document). Also, this approach is very handy for debugging.

The cells that wxMaxima automatically creates when the user enters some text are Maxima input cells that will eventually be sent to Maxima. A pair of such commands appears below. Once the input is executed, the resulting output appears in the same cell.

Input/output cell

On evaluation of an input cell’s contents the input cell Maxima assigns a label to the input (by default shown in red and recognizable by the %i) by which it can be referenced later in the wxMaxima session. The output that Maxima generates will be shown in a different style (which can be user-selected) and is preceded by a Maxima label that begins beginning with %o. The output item can be accessed later with a reference to this code. By default wxMaxima will also attempt to replace this dynamically-generated label by a more descriptive name if the user provides one. The %o-style label Maxima auto-generates will still be accessible, though.

Besides the input cells wxMaxima allows for text cells for documentation, image cells, title cells, chapter cells and section cells. Every cell has its own undo buffer so debugging by changing the values of several cells and then gradually reverting the unneeded changes is rather easy. Furthermore the worksheet itself has a global undo buffer that can undo cell edits, adds and deletes.

The figure below shows a title cell, a section cell, a text cell, and part of an input/output cell.

Noise filter

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1.2.2 Cells

The worksheet is organized in cells. Each cell can contain one or more of the following types of content:

The default behavior of wxMaxima when text is entered is to automatically create a math cell. Cells of other types can be created using the Cell menu or using the hot keys shown in the menu. That is, to enter commands, just type and enter material. Before entering text, a workbook title, or a section or subsection title, one must first create the cell of the specified type. These cells can be created in one of three ways: via the Cell menu, by use of hot key combinations (indicated in the menu), or (depending on your operating system) by right-clicking between two cells and selecting an option from the drop-down menu.

1.2.3 Horizontal and vertical cursors

It sometimes is desirable to allow selecting multiple cells or only part of a cell for export or Drag-and-Drop. However, beginning such an action in the middle of one cell and ending it in the middle of another will almost certainly lead to unexpected results. wxMaxima will therefore extend the selection to full cells in this case.

wxMaxima provides drag-and-drop flexibility by defining two types of cursors. wxMaxima will switch between automatically when needed:

As long as the cursor is inside a cell search operations will limit their scope to the current cell.

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1.2.4 Command autocompletion

wxMaxima contains an autocompletion feature that is triggered via the menu (Cell/Complete Word) or alternatively by pressing the key combination Ctrl+k. The autocompletion is context-sensitive and if activated within an unit specification for ezUnits it will offer a list of applicable units.


Besides completing the current command’s or variable’s name the autocompletion is able to show a template for most of the commands indicating the type (and meaning) of the parameters this program expects. To activate this feature press Shift+Ctrl+k or select the respective menu item (Cell/Show Template).

1.2.5 Greek characters

Computers traditionally store characters in 8-bit values. This allows for a maximum of 256 different characters. All letters, numbers, and control symbols (end of transmission, end of string, lines and edges for drawing rectangles for menus etc.) of nearly any given language can fit within that limit.

For most countries the codepage of 256 characters that has been chosen does not include Greek letters, though. To overcome this limitation Unicode has been invented: This is a method of including characters that are not normally used in the English language in a text that (as long as only the basic form of Latin characters is used) looks like plain 8-bit ASCII.

Maxima allows for unicode characters if it runs on a lisp (the language on which Maxima is built) that supports them. If the wxWidgets library on which wxMaxima is built on supports Unicode characters, too, then wxMaxima can be built with Unicode support. In this case it (besides a Greek Characters Sidebar) provides a method of entering Greek characters using the keyboard:

If the system does not provide unicode support wxMaxima will still provide a method of showing Greek characters: Variable names like "alpha" are always displayed as the corresponding Greek symbols in wxMaxima output.

The lowercase Greek letters actually can be entered both by enter a Latin letter or the whole Latin name of the Greek letter followed and preceded by a press of the escape key:

a alpha    i iota      r rho
b beta     k kappa     s sigma
g gamma    l lambda    t tau
d delta    m mu        u upsilon
e epsilon  n nu        f phi
z zeta     x xi        c chi
h eta      om omicron  y psi
q theta    p pi        o omega

The same is true for the uppercase greek letters:

A Alpha    I Iota      R Rho
B Beta     K Kappa     S Sigma
G Gamma    L Lambda    T Tau
D Delta    M Mu        U Upsilon
E Epsilon  N Nu        P Phi
Z Zeta     X Xi        C Chi
H Eta      Om Omicron  Y Psi
T Theta    P Pi        O Omega

This mechanism also allows to enter some miscellaneous mathematical symbols:

hbar          planck's constant: a h with a vertical bar above it
Hbar          a H with a vertical bar above it

This mechanism also allows to enter some miscellaneous mathematical symbols:

2             squared
3             to the power of three
/2            1/2
partial       partial sign (the d of dx/dt)
integral      integral sign
sq            root
ii            imaginary
ee            element
hb or hbar    h barred
Hbar          H barred
in            in
impl,implies  implies
inf           infinity
empty         empty
TB            Big triangle right
tb            small triangle right
and           and
or            or
xor           xor
nand          nand
nor           nor
equiv         equivalent
not           not
union         union
inter         intersection
subseteq      subset or equal
subset        subset
notsubseteq   not subset or equal
notsubset     not subset
approx        approximately
propto        proportional to
or #          not equal to
+/- or pm     a plus/minus sign
<= or leq     equal or less than
>= or geq     equal or greater than
<< or ll      much less than
>> or gg      much greater than
equiv         equivalent to
qed           end of proof
sum           sum sign
prod          product sign
exists        "there exists" sign
nexists       "there is no" sign
parallel      a "parallel" sign
perp          a "perpendicular" sign
leadsto       a "leads to" sign
->            a right arrow
-->           a long right arrow

If a special symbol isn’t in the list it is possible to input arbitrary unicode characters by pressing <ESC>number of the character<ESC>. <ESC>61<ESC> therefore results in an a.

Be aware that a Maxima running on a lisp without Unicode support might not be able to deal with files that contain special Unicode characters.

Please note that most of these symbols (notable exceptions are the logic symbols) do not have a special meaning in Maxima and therefore will be interpreted as ordinary characters - or might provoke unexpected results in case that the Maxima is being run by a lisp that doesn’t support dealing with special Unicode characters. 

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1.2.6 Side Panes

Shortcuts to the most important Maxima commands and a history of the last issued commands can be accessed using the side panes. They can be enabled using the "Panes" entry in the "Maxima" menu. The shortcuts can be moved to where the location is most convenient, inside or outside the wxMaxima window. The same commands can be accessed via the menus. Also, a pane that contains Greek letters can be opened. This pane provides an alternative to the methods of entering these letters that the preceding section discusses.

Side panes

1.2.7 MathML output

Several word processors and similar programs either recognize MathML input and automatically insert it as an editable 2D equation - or (like LibreOffice 5.1) have an equation editor that offers an “import MathML from clipboard” feature. In order to accommodate this feature, wxMaxima offers a “copy to word processor” right-click menu entry that outputs the selected part of an equation with MathML formatting.

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1.2.8 Markdown support

A wxMaxima workbook can be exported as either an HTML file or a LaTeX file. The program uses a set of standard markdown conventions. Markdown in many cases collides with the notations that are frequently used for mathematics. wxMaxima will recognize bullet lists, though, for the HTML and TeX export when the items are marked with stars.

Ordinary text
 * One item, indentation level 1
 * Another item at indentation level 1
   * An item at a second indentation level
   * A second item at the second indentation level
 * A third item at the first indentation level
Ordinary text

wxMaxima will recognize text starting with > chars as block quotes:

Ordinary text
> quote quote quote quote
> quote quote quote quote
> quote quote quote quote
Ordinary text

wxMaxima will also recognize => and replace it by a

cogito => sum.

Other symbols the markdown parser will recognize are <= and >= for comparisons, a double-pointed double arrow (<=>), single- headed arrows (<->, -> and <-) and +/- as the respective sign. For TeX output also << and >> are recognized.

1.2.9 Hotkeys

Most hotkeys can be found in the text of the respective menus. Since they are actually taken from the menu text and thus can be customized by the translations of wxMaxima to match the needs of users of the local keyboard, we do not document them here. A few hotkeys or hotkey aliases, though, are not documented in the menus:

1.2.10 Raw TeX in the TeX export

If a text cell begins with TeX: the TeX export contains the literal text that follows the TeX: marker. Using this feature allows the entry of TeX markup within the wxMaxima workbook.

1.3 File Formats

The material that is developed in a wxMaxima session can be stored for later use in any of three ways:

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1.3.1 .mac

.mac files are ordinary text files that can be read using Maxima’s read command or wxMaxima’s File/Batch File menu entry.

One Example:

A .mac file named Quadratic.mac was created. It consists of two commands: f(x) := (x - 5)^2; and wxdraw2d( explicit(f(x),x,-5,15)). The result of entering that batch file appears below. (Some directory path information is deleted.)

Batch image
%i1 read("test.mac");

You can be use .mac files for writing own library of macros. But since they don’t contain enough structural information they cannot be read back as a wxMaxima session.

1.3.2 .wxm

.wxm files contain the input for Maxima, as well as any text cells, title cells and chapter or section cells the user has typed in. On maxima versions >5.38 they can be read using maxima's load() function just as .mac files can be. Maxima’s output is not saved along with the .wxm file, though.

1.3.3 .wxmx

This xml-based file format saves all text and images the work sheet contains. It is the preferred file format now and comes in two flavors:

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1.4 Configuration options

For some common configuration variables wxMaxima offers two ways of configuring:

wxMaxima configuration 1

1.4.1 Default animation framerate

The animation framerate that is used for new animations is kept in the variable wxanimate_framerate. The initial value this variable will contain in a new worksheet can be changed using the configuration dialogue.

1.4.2 Default plot size for new maxima sessions

After the next start plots embedded into the worksheet will be created with this size if the value of wxplot_size isn’t changed by maxima.

In order to set the plot size of a single graph only use the following notation can be used that sets a variable’s value for one command only:

wxdraw2d( explicit(x^2,x,-5,5)), wxplot_size=[480,480]$.

1.4.3 Use jsMath fonts

The style menu allows customization that pertains to the appearance of your notebook as you work.

wxMaxima configuration 2

It also contains the option to use jsMath fonts. It is a good idea to install these fonts since they were especially designed for mathematics and tend to resolve issues that can be caused by broken fonts. If they are not installed on your computer, the option to activate them will not be highlighted. The jsMath fonts can be found on this site. The site describes JsMath fonts and provides installation instructions. To top

1.4.4 Match parenthesis in text controls

This option enables two things:

1.4.5 Autosave interval

If this value is set to a value bigger than zero Maxima will work in a more mobile-device-like fashion:

For the automatic saving functionality to work wxMaxima needs to know a name to save the file with, though. This means this feature will only work if the file has already been saved to or opened from the disk.

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2 Extensions to Maxima

wxMaxima is primarily a graphical user interface for Maxima. As such, its main purpose is to pass along commands to Maxima and to report the results of executing those commands. In some cases, however, wxMaxima adds functionality to Maxima. wxMaxima’s ability to generate reports by exporting a workbook’s contents to HTML and LaTeX files has been mentioned. This section considers some ways that wxMaxima enhances the inclusion of graphics into a session. described here.

2.1 Subscripted variables

if wxsubscripts is set to true variable names of the format x_y are displayed using a subscript if

If the variable name doesn’t match these requirements it can still be declared as "to be subscripted" using the command wxdeclare_subscript(variable_name); or wxdeclare_subscript([variable_name1,variable_name2,...]); Declaring a variable as subscripted can be reverted using the following command: wxdeclare_subscript(variable_name,false);

User feedback in the statusbar

Long-runnning commands can provide user-feedback in the status bar. This user feedback is replaced by any new feedback that is placed there (allowing to use it as a progress indicator) and is deleted as soon as the current command sent to maxima is finished. It is safe to use wxstatusbar() even in libraries that might be used with plain maxima (as opposed to wxMaxima): If wxMaxima isn't present the wxstatusbar() command will just be left unevelated.

(%i2)	for i:1 thru 10 do
	        /* Tell the user how far we got */
	        wxstatusbar(concat("Pass ",i)),
	        /* A truly long-running command */

2.2 Plotting

Plotting (having fundamentally to do with graphics) is a place where a graphical user interface will have to provide some extensions to the original program.

2.2.1 Embedding a plot into the work sheet

Maxima normally instructs the external program gnuplot to open a separate window for every diagram it creates. Since many times it is convenient to embed graphs into the work sheet instead wxMaxima provides its own set of plot functions that don’t differ from the corresponding maxima functions save in their name: They are all prefixed by a “wx”. For example wxplot corresponds to plot, wxdraw corresponds to draw and wxhistogram corresponds to histogram.

2.2.2 Making embedded plots bigger or smaller

As noted above, the configure dialog provides a way to change the default size plots are created with which sets the starting value of wxplot_size. The plotting routines of wxMaxima respect this variable that specifies the size of a plot in pixels. It can always be queried or used to set the size of the following plots:

%i1 wxplot_size:[1200,800];
%o1 [1200,800];

%i2 wxdraw2d(

If the size of only one plot is to be changed Maxima provides a canonical way to change an attribute only for the current cell.

     %i1 wxplot_size:[1200,800];
     %o1 [1200,800];
     %i1 wxdraw2d(

%i1 wxdraw2d(
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2.2.3 Better quality plots

Gnuplot doesn’t seem to provide a portable way of determining whether it supports the high-quality bitmap output the cairo library provides. On systems where gnuplot is compiled to use this library the pngcairo option from the configuration menu (that can be overridden by the variable wxplot_pngcairo) enables support for antialiasing and additional line styles.

2.2.4 Embedding animations into the spreadsheet

The with_slider_draw command is a version of wxdraw2d that does prepare multiple plots and allows to switch between them by moving the slider on top of the screen. If ImageMagick is installed wxMaxima even allows to export this animation as an animated gif.

The first two arguments for with_slider_draw are the name of the variable that is stepped between the plots and a list of the values of these variable. The arguments that follow are the ordinary arguments for wxdraw2d:


The same functionality for 3d plots is accessible as with_slider_draw3d.

There is a second set of functions making use of the slider

    a, 3,
    explicit(sin(a*x), x, -4, 4),
    title=printf(false, "a=~a", a));

Normally the animations are played back or exported with the frame rate chosen in the configuration of wxMaxima. To set the speed an individual animation is played back the variable wxanimate_framerate can be used:

wxanimate(a, 10,
    sin(a*x), [x,-5,5]), wxanimate_framerate=6$

The animation functions have a pitfall that one has to be aware of when using them: The slider variable’s value are substituted into the expression that is to be plotted - which will fail, if the variable isn’t directly visible in the expression. Therefore the following example will fail:


If Maxima is forced to first evaluate the expression and then asked to substitute the slider’s value plotting works fine instead:


2.2.5 Opening multiple plots in contemporaneous windows

While not being a provided by wxMaxima this feature of Maxima (on setups that support it) sometimes comes in handily. The following example comes from a post from Mario Rodriguez to the Maxima mailing list:


/* Parabola in window #1 */

/* Parabola in window #2 */

/* Paraboloid in window #3 */
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2.3 Embedding graphics

if the .wxmx file format is being used embedding files in a wxMaxima project can be done as easily as per drag-and-drop. But sometimes (for example if an image’s contents might change later on in a session) it is better to tell the file to load the image on evaluation:


2.4 wxmaximarc

The Maxima user directory contains a text file named wxmaxima-init.mac the contents of the file is passed to Maxima automatically every time a new worksheet has been started.

To find out which directory Maxima uses as the user directory just type in the following line:


The answer from Maxima will specify the name of the directory that the startup file can be placed in.

%o1 /home/username/.maxima
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2.5 Special variableswx

2.6 Pretty-printing 2D output

The function (table_form) displays a 2D list in a form that is more readable than the output Maxima’s default output routine. The input is a list of one or more lists. Like the print command, this command displays output even when ended with a dollar sign. Ending the command with a semicolon results in the same table along with a "done" statement.


As the next example shows, the lists that are assembled by the table_form command can be created before the command is executed.

A third table example

Also, because a matrix is a list of lists, matrices can be converted to tables in a similar fashion.

Another table_form example

2.7 Bug reporting

wxMaxima provides a few functions that gather bug reporting information about the current system:

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3 Troubleshooting

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3.1 Cannot connect to Maxima

Since Maxima (the program that does the actual mathematics) and wxMaxima (providing the easy-to-use user interface) are separate programs that communicate by the means of a local network connection. Therefore the most probable cause is that this connection is somehow not working. For example a firewall could be set up in a way that it doesn’t just prevent against unauthorized connections from the internet (and perhaps to intercept some connections to the internet, too), but it also to blocks inter-process-communication inside the same computer. Note that since Maxima is being run by a lisp processor the process communication that is blocked from does not necessarily have to be named "maxima". Common names of the program that opens the network connection would be sbcl, gcl, ccl, lisp.exe or similar names.

On Un*x computers another possible reason would be that the loopback network that provides network connections between two programs in the same computer isn’t properly configured.

3.2 How to save data from a broken .wxmx file

Internally most modern xml-based formats are ordinary zip-files with one special characteristic: the first file in the archive is stored uncompressed and provides information about what type of program can open this file.

If the zip signature at the end of the file is still intact after renaming a broken .wxmx file to .zip most operating systems will provide a way to extract any portion of information that is stored inside it. The can be done when there is the need of recovering the original image files from a text processor document. If the zip signature isn’t intact that does not need to be the end of the world: If wxMaxima during saving detected that something went wrong there will be a wxmx~ file whose contents might help and even if there isn’t such a file: If the configuration option is set that .wxmx files have to be optimized for version control it is possible to rename the .wxmx file to a .txt file and to use a text editor to recover the XML portion of the file's contents.

If the text file containing this contents is saved as a file ending in .xml wxMaxima will know how to recover the text of the document from it.

3.3 wxMaxima waits forever for data from Maxima

In old versions of Maxima this might be caused by the fact that a closing brace, bracket, parenthesis or hyphenation mark is missing: In this case Maxima waits until it gets the rest of its input (which it never does).

In order to find out if this is the issue, the operating system normally provides a way to determine whether Maxima is actually really working forever trying to solve the current problem.

3.4 I want some debug info to be displayed on the screen before my command has finished

Normally wxMaxima waits for the whole 2D formula to be transferred before it begins to typeset. This saves time for making many attempts to typeset a only partially completed equation. There is a disp command, though, that will provide debug output immediately and without waiting for the current Maxima command to finish:

for i:1 thru 10 do (

3.5 wxMaxima on Windows crashes on displaying seemingly simple equations

The jsMath fonts allow for excellent 2D-display of equations. But there are broken versions of this package that crash wxMaxima. A working version can be downloaded from http://www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/jsmath/download/jsMath-fonts.html math.union.edu. To make wxMaxima actually use these fonts the according checkbox has to be enabled in the Styles tab of wxMaxima’s configuration dialogue.

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3.6 Outputting animations doesn’t work

wxMaxima relies on a third-party tool (ImageMagick) to convert animations to the animated gif format. This process works only if this package is installed and known to the system (on Windows the path to ImageMagick’s convert.exe has to be part of the PATH system variable to make the system find it).

Another possible reason of not getting an animated gif is that this image would exceed the format’s (or ImageMagick’s) capabilities:

3.7 Plotting only shows an closed empty envelope with an error message

This means that wxMaxima could not read the file Maxima that was supposed to instruct gnuplot to create.

Possible reasons for this error are:

3.8 Plotting an animation results in “error: undefined variable”

The value of the slider variable by default is only substituted into the expression that is to be plotted if it is visible there. Putting an ev() around this expression should resolve this problem.

3.9 I lost a cell contents and undo doesn’t remember

There are separate undo functions for cell operations and for changes inside of cells so chances are low that this ever happens. If it does there are several methods to recover data:

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3.10 wxMaxima starts up with the message “Maxima process Terminated.”

One possible reason is that Maxima cannot be found in the location that is set in the “Maxima” tab of wxMaxima’s configuration dialog and therefore won’t run at all. Setting the path to a working Maxima binary should fix this problem.

3.11 Maxima is forever calculating and not responding to input

It is theoretically possible that wxMaxima doesn’t realize that Maxima has finished calculating and therefore never gets informed it can send new data to Maxima. If this is the case “Trigger evaluation” might resynchronize the two programs.

3.12 File I/O from Maxima doesn’t work on Windows

On Windows, file I/O is not relative to the directory of the current file by default. If you store the Maxima file on the drive on which wxMaxima is installed, then setting wxchangedir to true will fix that for load, read_list, batch, read_matrix, save and all similar commands.

Setting this variable to true might have a drawback, though: Maxima knows which directory it is installed in and will search for any additional package that is requested by a load command in this directory, too. But it might not know which drive it is installed on. If wxchangedir is true and the current file is saved on a different drive than the one Maxima is installed on Maxima therefore might fail to load the additional packages it was bundled with.

3.13 My sbcl-based maxima runs out of memory

SBCL by default comes with a memory limit that allows it to run even on low-end computers. When compiling a big software package like lapack or dealing with extremely big lists or equations this limit might be too low. In order to extend the limits sbcl can be provided with the command line parameter --dynamic-space-size that tells sbcl how many megabytes it should reserve. A 32bit-windows-sbcl can reserve up to 999 Megabytes, 1800. A 64-bit sbcl version running on windows can be instructed to use more than the about 1280 Megabytes compiling lapack needs.

One way to provide maxima (and thus sbcl) with command line parameters is the additional parameters field of wxMaxima’s configuration dialogue.

sbcl memory

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3.14 Input sometimes is sluggish/ignoring keys on Ubuntu

Installing the package ibus-gtk should resolve this issue. See (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/wxwidgets3.0/+bug/1421558) for details.

3.15 wxMaxima halts when Maxima processes Greek characters or Umlauts

If your Maxima is based on sbcl the following lines have to be added to your .sblrc:

(setf sb-impl::*default-external-format* :utf-8)

The folder this file has to be placed in is system- and installation-specific. But any sbcl-based Maxima that already has evaluated a cell in the current session will happily tell where it can be found after getting the following command:

:lisp (sb-impl::userinit-pathname)

3.16 Plotting

3.16.1 Can I make wxMaxima output both image files and embedded plots at once?

It is easier to make it first generate the images and then import them again as the following two functions will do:


3.16.2 Can I set the aspect ratio of a plot?

Not directly using Maxima. But there are gnuplot commands for it:

         user_preamble="set size ratio 1;set tmargin 3;set bmargin 3;set lmargin 3;set rmargin 3",

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4.1 Is there a way to make more text fit on a pdfLaTeX page?

There is: Just add the following lines to the LaTeX preamble (for example by using the respective field in the config dialog):


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5 Command-line arguments

Most operating systems provide less complicated ways of starting programs than the command line so this possibility is only rarely used. wxMaxima still provides some command line switches, though.

Instead of a minus some operating systems might use a dash in front of the command-line switches.

Short Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Annotated Index

Animations: commands to embed animations into a wxMaxima workbook
Animations, failure: why creation and execution of some animations might not work
Autocompletion: using wxMaxima a command
Aspect ratio: set the aspect ratio for a plot
Autosave: set interval for saving a wxMaxima session file (workbook)

Cells: the nature and use of cells in a wxMaxima workbook
Cells, Input/Output: Cells that contain one or more commands and the results of executing the command(s)
Command autocompletion: using wxMaxima a command
Configure wxMaxima: how to configure a wxMaxima workbook
Cursors, vertical and horizontal: entering text or selecting entered material

Drag and drop: Copying and pasting material in one or more cells or eexecuting a sequence of cells

File Info: command to print name and location of currently-open wxMaxima workbook
File Formats: types of files that wxMaxima can create and open

Greek characters: Ways to enter Greek letters into a wxMaxima workbook (see Side Panels below)

HTML: export material as html
Hotkeys: shortcut key combinations, alternatives to menu options

Input/Output Cells: Cells that contain one or more commands and the results of executing the command(s)

jsMath: useful fonts set for mathematical expressions

LaTeX: export material as LaTeX
Lost content: ways to recover lost cell contents


Macro files: .mac files, batch files that can be entered into wxMaxima workbooks
MathML: export mathematical expressions with MathML markup
Matrix: Create a matrix and convert the matrix to a table
Maxima and wxMaxima: the relationship between the Maxima CAS and the wxMaxima front-end
Maxima-wxMaxima connection: possible reasons from failure of wxMaxima to communicate with Maxima

Name of file: command to print name and location of currently-open wxMaxima workbook

Plot, aspect ratio: set the aspect ratio for a plot
Plot, embedding: embed a Maxima-generated plot in a wxMaxima workbook
Plot, failure: some reasons that attempts to plot might fail
Plot file, embedding: embed a plot file in a wxMaxima workbook
Plot size: control the size of embedded plots
Plots, better quality: notes related to the quality of gnuplot plots
Plots, multiple: open multiple plots in contemporaneous windows
Progress indicators: Giving user feedback in the status bar

Recover lost content

Side Panes: collections of buttons that open dialog boxes, enter commands, and enter special characters
Startup file location: location of an initialization file that is passed to wxMaxima when it opens
Status bar: Giving user feedback in the status bar
Subscripted variables: using the command wxsubscripts to display subscripted variables

Table: show lists of text and values as a table
TeX markup: allows TeX markup to be entered into a text file

undo: ways to recover lost cell contents

with_slider_draw: command to embed animations -- alternative: wxanimate_draw
with_slider_draw3d: command to embed animations -- alternative: wxnimate_draw3d
wxanimate_draw: command to embed animations
wxanimate_draw3d: command to embed animations
wxMaxima and Maxima: the relationship between the Maxima CAS and the wxMaxima front-end
wxMaxima documentation
wxMaxima workbook structure: central features of a wxMaxima workbook
wxm and wxmx files: formats for wxMaxima workbooks
wxmx data: retrieve data from a broken wxmx file