How to type math clearly

Rules for posting and helping, along with guides for formatting and explanations of what to expect. Post "test" messages here.
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:29 pm
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How to type math clearly

A common problem with typing math is that single-line type doesn't always mean the same thing as the nice formatting in your textbook. For instance, "1/3x" could mean either of the following:

. . . . .$\frac{1}{3x}$

. . . . .$\frac{1}{3}\,x$

If you would like to learn how to format using the LaTeX plug-in, as shown above, there are any number of good articles on the topic. This forum uses the "mimetex" package, which provides its own tutorial.

A quicker way to start, however, might be to learn the generally-accepted rules of web-safe math formatting. Note that the largest cause of confusion is the omission of grouping symbols. For instance, the two displays above can be typed very simply, respectively, as:

. . . . .1/(3x)

. . . . .(1/3)x

If you are working with something such as complex fractions, synthetic division, or matrices, where its nearly impossible to avoid the multi-line formatting, use "Code" tags (there's a button above the message-entry box) to "force" the characters to line up. For instance, long polynomial division might look like this:

Code: Select all

 x^3 + 2x^2 - x - 5 ----------------------------------- x^2 - 2 )x^5 + 2x^4 - 3x^3 - 9x^2 + 2x + 10 x^5 + 2x^4 - x^3 - 5x^2 ----------------------------------- - 2x^3 - 4x^2 + 2x + 10 - 2x^3 - 4x^2 + 2x + 10 ----------------------------------- 0
Try always to remember to "Preview" your message first, to make sure you're posting what you meant to say. Thank you!

maggiemagnet
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:32 am
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Re: How to type math clearly

And maybe no "Caps Lock"? Because SHOUTING seems rude, ya know?