Spreading Mathematica Notebooks One Windows File Association at a Time
Have you ever created a Mathematica notebook (a .nb file) and sent it to a colleague who doesn’t yet have Mathematica? In the past, you’d have to explain about downloading Mathematica Player. This isn’t difficult, but it is an extra step. Wouldn’t it be better if it “just worked”?
Well now, on Windows, it does.
Thanks to our longstanding relationship with Microsoft, the .nb file format is now officially part of the automatic Windows File Association system. So, whenever any Windows computer with no Wolfram software gets a Mathematica notebook, the operating system automatically takes you to a download link for Mathematica Player. This is also the case for the published notebook files (.nbp) that have been prepared specifically for interactive use in Player.
Only the most widespread and useful formats are included in the Windows File Association system, and we’re happy that Microsoft has now extended the system to include the .nb and .nbp formats. It’s a nice reflection of the growing acceptance of these formats as the standard for interactive documents.
On the Wolfram Demonstrations Project we automatically point people to Mathematica Player if they need to download it. But if you post a notebook to a site outside of our domain or if you send a notebook in email, we can’t provide automatic, convenient access to Player for others to be able to view it. With .nb and .nbp included in the Windows File Search system, we don’t have to.
Now, anyone can use .nb and .nbp files and have confidence that anyone else will be able to read them. It’s another small step in making Mathematica notebooks—and Mathematica—more ubiquitous.