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Currently, stats, math, cstheory and physics have MathJax support which turns LaTeX code into equation.

At least on math, occasionally there are users that do not know this feature or don't know it's possible to use LaTeX (MathJax), resulting a badly formatted post.

I suggest that there should be a common "LaTeX/MathJax typesetting help" page for those sites that enabled MathJax support, like the "Markdown editing help" that is present on all sites. Preferably, there should also be a line

  • LaTeX equations $\sin^2 \theta$

in the "How to Format" on the right hand side.

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Wait. Geeks aren't born knowing LaTeX? – dmckee Oct 23 '10 at 15:36
You mean a MathJaX help. MathJaX =/= LaTeX. – Loop Space Oct 23 '10 at 15:41
@AndrewStacey: well, MathJax ≈ LaTeX-surrounded-by-dollar-signs – Kip Nov 17 '10 at 14:16
@Kip: *shakes head sadly at the ignorance of youth*. I \emph{guess} it depends on what \textbf{you} mean by \LaTeX\ really. – Loop Space Nov 17 '10 at 14:24
@Kip: Even in LaTeX editors, $-signs work, just not if there are too many things in math mode. . – Dimensio1n0 Jul 18 '13 at 4:41
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is basically completed, but I can't find a good help / demos page to link to for MathJaX.

There is this:

but oddly it requires users to "view source" before showing them the markup required, which is ... annoying.

Per suggestion, I am now changing it to

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Maybe you can pop a question on and ask the good people there to write one? Not sure how much work it would take though. – Yi Jiang Nov 19 '10 at 6:50
@YiJiang:…. (I'm putting it here instead of meta.math.SE as this is not just a math.SE feature.) – kennytm Nov 19 '10 at 19:26
I found the Wikipedia formula-writing page very helpful: – Kip Nov 20 '10 at 3:17
Jeff, this was added as a comment to the meta.math post, but I'll repeat it here so you're more likely to see it- the help box is almost perfect, but MathJax will render the $\sin^2 \theta$ in it, so what the user actually sees is "MathJax equation sin² θ", which isn't correct. It has to be wrapped between <code/> tags or <span class="tex2jax_ignore"/> tags to avoid MathJax parsing it. – Kip Nov 20 '10 at 3:19
I just spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to do a simple subscript. Sending me off to frankly wasted my time as I vainly clicked around looking for help. Please don't provide that link any more as there's no obvious way to get any syntax help! I wrote the MathJax people directly and they suggested Would you please consider changing your link on the question-asking page to point there instead? It will save your users much wasted time and frustration. – ErikE Jan 21 '11 at 20:19
@emt sure I can change it to that, checking that change in now. – Jeff Atwood Jan 22 '11 at 0:51
Thanks a lot. There may be better resources out there (in fact, the MathJax folks asked me to keep them posted if a better one is found) but for now that one is at least adequate and did have syntax help like I was expecting. – ErikE Jan 22 '11 at 2:22

Let's write our own help page for our use of MathJax. Here is a start. It is based on Stack Overflow's own Markdown editing help, the FAQ for typing math on math.SE and Math Overflow, and "Using LaTeX" on ask NRICH.

Characters in bold italics indicate highlighting.

MathJax turns LaTeX markup into beautiful formulae

This site supports typesetting mathematical formula with AMS-LaTeX markup, powered by the MathJax rendering engine.

Entering math mode

Surround the TeX code with dollar signs to insert an inline equation

The integers $x,y,z$ form a Pythagorean triplet when $x^2 + y^2 = z^2$.

and use double dollar signs to insert an equation in its own line

The Bessel functions $J_n(x)$ and $Y_n(x)$ are
solutions to the Bessel equation
$$ x^2 y'' + x y' + (x^2 - n^2) y = 0 $$
where $n$ is a constant.

Basic LaTeX markup

  • Superscript and subscript — x^2, a_n, a_{n+1}, H_n^{(2)}

  • Spacing — a\ b (text space). Other kinds of spacing.

  • Square root and radicals — \sqrt{x}, \sqrt[3]{x}

  • Fraction — \frac{a}{b}

  • Sum and integral — \sum_{k=0}^n k^2, \int_0^1 x^3 dx

  • Greek letters — \alpha (α) to \omega (ω); \Gamma (Γ) to \Omega (Ω)

  • Symbols — \ne (≠), \ge (≥), \le (≤), \sim (∼), \pm (±), \to (→), \infty (∞), etc.

  • Function names — \sin, \cos, \log, \lim, etc.

Visit Detexify2 to lookup command for a symbol.

Check the MathJax documentation for the complete list of commands supported.

Show source

Right-clicking on any equations should reveal a context menu. Clicking "Show source" will open up a new window showing the LaTeX markup that generates it.

Need More Detail?

The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e is a good beginner's guide on the LaTeX system.

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Let's get this up! Right now the link provided is not helping anybody. – ErikE Jan 21 '11 at 20:20

I brought this up on meta.math and was directed to this question. I thought I'd share the mockup here too, showing what I'd like:

alt text

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A much much more detailed MathJax tutorial/reference has been created on Math.SE: MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference

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