This feature request is with respect to this question How do I write equations on Math.SE?

To be truthful, I had no idea how those equations worked or what LaTeX is until I searched on SE sites and finally stumbled on this wikibooks link about LaTeX

I read in one of the meta questions that if I click on the Math.SE Ask Questions text box, I will see a link on the right side showing Formatting help, which I did find. The snippet didn't help me much and Harvard.edu link went over my head. I wanted something easily understandable. I didn't want to do any thesis on LaTeX, so I continued on...

Formatting help

In the FAQ section, I found this. In my case, this is similar to a person looking at HTML formatting syntax who has no idea about HTML tags. So, this didn't help me much but at least it helped me to learn a new term LaTeX.


I jumped to MathJax link provided in the faq section. I browsed through the site. Everything looked awesome but couldn't find a easy way to create the formulas. I read MathJax's faq, yes I did... I found this awesome link about LaTeX wiki book.

LaTeX WikiBook

On the wiki book, especially the link LaTeX/Advanced Mathematics helped me to find what I needed to answer OP's question.

Here are my suggestions:

#1: On the Math.SE faq page, add a link to the LaTeX wiki book (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Latex) so users can easily reference and understand how to create the formulas.


#2: On the Ask question page, when a user clicks inside the text box, How to Format section is displayed on the right side. In that section, add a link at the bottom to LaTeX wiki book (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Latex)

How to Format

#3: On the question tool bar, add a button similar to functions. I picked f(x). Clicking which should enclose the selected text within double dollar signs $$ Also, add an Equation section under Advanced Help and provide some examples so users can understand how to formulate equations. Something like this.



3 Answers 3


While it does not rise the level requested here, on physics we have added a minimal set of notes in our FAQ. Which may provide a little help as a stop-gap.

That said, I am wholly in favor of this request. We've been struggling with the "how to get people started with MathJax" thing too.


While I agree there's a need for better introduction, I don't think the LaTeX wiki is the best choice. As other LaTeX introductions, it begins with the overall structure of document (preamble, \begin{document}, etc), which has nothing to do with MathJax. Some of the normal practices in MathJax, like $$ delimiters, are deprecated in LaTeX; and conversely, much of valid LaTeX is not supported by MathJax. A MathJax-specific introduction is called for.

I suggest adopting MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference for this purpose. This is currently located on meta.Math but could be copied elsewhere with attribution (e.g., to this Meta, if MathJax is enabled here). The question body and the top four answers by votes make an excellent introduction to MathJax. (It's not mentioned by the now-deleted OP here, because this post predates the creation of MathJax tutorial on meta.Math).

By the way: the sidebar incorrectly capitalizes MathJax. The final letter x should be lowercase.


You're asking for three different things and laying out the problems you hope they'll address. We've done NONE of those three things, but I'm marking this completed anyway because I think the problems have been addressed in similar ways:

  1. There's a section in the formatting help page for MathJax formatting.
  2. New users get a link to the site's MathJax reference in the pop-up answer help.
  3. The MathJax reference linked to from the question and (new-user) answer forms can be changed per-site upon request, thus allowing the guidance to be tailored to the sorts of equations most often needed for a specific topic. For example.

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