Introducing the Computable Document Format (CDF)

            Today’s online documents are like yesterday’s paper—flat, lifeless, inactive. Instead, CDF puts easy-to-author interactivity at its core, empowering readers to drive content and generate results live.

Launched by the Wolfram Group, the CDF standard is a computation-powered knowledge      container—as everyday as a document, but as interactive as an app.

Adopting CDF gives ideas a broad communication pipeline—accelerating research, education, technical development, and progress.


Why Use the Computable Document Format (CDF)?

CDF offers content creators easy-to-author interactivity and convenient deployment options—empowering their readers to drive content and generate results live.


Key Advantages of CDF:

 Broader communication pipeline: Create content as everyday as a document, but as interactive as an app.

Built-in computation: Let the reader drive new discovery—live.

Easy-to-author interactivity: Use automated functions and plain English input instead of specialist programming skills for a wide range of applications.

Deployment flexibility: Create once—deploy as slide shows, reports, books, applications, and web objects.

Integrated knowledge: Access specialized algorithms, data, and visualizations for hundreds of subjects


Features of CDF Documents

From bloggers, students, and teachers to business consultants, scientists, engineers, or publishers, CDF delivers features that far surpass those of traditional document formats.

Live Interactive Content


Any element in CDF can be transformed into interactive content easily—true interactivity, not pre-generated or scripted. With the computing power ofMathematica technology, dynamic content in CDF can be driven by real-time computation or prompt live computation for new results, which deeply immerses readers in the content.

All-in-One Format


All elements of a project—calculations, visualizations, data, code, documentation, and even interactive applications—stay together in a uniquely flexible format. That means working on a problem with CDF automatically creates a document that can deliver knowledge to readers and let them drive content live.

Dynamic Math Typesetting


CDF makes mathematical typesetting semantic-faithful, unlike traditional typography. In addition to publication-quality typesetting, a formula can be input in a fully typeset form and then immediately evaluated to produce typeset output that can be edited and re-evaluated. It is no wonder that Wolfram was the major force behind the MathML standard.

Integrated Computational Knowledge


Powered by Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha technology, CDF brings trillions of pieces of expert-level data and the world’s largest collection of algorithms together in a single platform. Authors in a wide range of fields can instantly create subject-specific content without requiring additional tools.


The Power behind CDF

CDF is built on the same technologies that are behind Mathematica—the world’s leading computation platform—and Wolfram|Alpha—the world’s first computational knowledge engine. Every CDF comes with the technology innovations that Wolfram has brought to the world for decades.

Automation by Design


Automation is the key to productive creation. CDF technology applies intelligent automation in every part of the system, from algorithm selection to plot layouts to user interface design. You get reliable, high-quality results without needing expertise—and even if you’re an expert, you get results faster.

Free-Form Linguistic Input


At the core of CDF technology lies the Mathematica language, a powerful and versatile language for content creation. With free-form linguistic input, programming in theMathematica language can be as easy as entering plain English. Type in your idea and let the system transform it—whether it is a simple plot or a complex image processing operation.

Built-in Knowledge: Algorithms


CDF technology builds in specialized algorithms for many scientific and technical areas, from financial engineering to computational biology, making CDFs on almost any topic easy to create. Specialist functionality is tightly integrated with the core of CDF, providing a smooth workflow for authors and delivering unprecedented computational power to readers.

Built-in Knowledge:Computable Data


With CDF, you have full access to a vast collection of computable data across hundreds of fields, from economy to life science to geography. Real-time access to frequently updated and meticulously maintained computable data makes CDF documents as live and as accurate as possible.

Integrated Graphics & Visualization


CDF and its underlyingMathematica platform provide the world’s most sophisticated graphics and visualization functionality by any measure. Interactive 3D graphics, complex scientific plots, expansive business charts, and automatic graph visualization—everything is fully built-in and ready to use.

Symbolic Documents


With CDF technology, everything is an expression, even whole documents. That allows them to be operated on programmatically. The symbolic basis of CDFs underlies many features, from cascading stylesheets to immediate deployment of CDFs as presentations, for print or the web, and as applications.

Platform Support for CDF

For Windows and Mac OS X, Wolfram CDF Player offers desktop and web plugin functionality. On Linux systems, CDF Player currently supports desktop functionality only.


The web plugin has been tested with the following browsers:

Windows 7/Vista/XP: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari

Mac OS X 10.5+: Safari, Firefox, Chrome(4.0+), Opera(10.5+)

Linux 2.4+: Desktop functionality only

System requirements:
Processor: Intel Pentium III 650 MHz or equivalent
System Memory (RAM): 512 MB required; 1 GB+ recommended


CDF on Mobile Devices

We are actively pursuing solutions for mobile devices, including cloud-based services, to make CDF available to anyone, anywhere.
           The iPad is an important part of our CDF strategy for accessing educational apps, business reports, and other interactive computational material.