This is more of a long-term feature request, particularly in the light of the current disabled status of MathJax in the app, but I'd still like to ask for it now so that it (hopefully) gets considered soon.

Using the 'technical', TeX-heavy sites on anything that doesn't have a full-blown keyboard has always been a sub-par experience. Viewing, commenting, reviewing, voting, and even some minor editing tend to work well, if you're prepared to go a long way to reach those [s and ]s, but writing a TeX-heavy question or answer on a mobile keyboard is out of the question for any reasonable person.

However, the introduction of the Android app sets the scene for a change in that situation. There are already a few existing stylus-to-LaTeX systems on the androidsphere such as S Note on certain Samsung devices (though I'm unsure how many such systems are open enough to implement within another app).

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(Image source)

If it becomes possible to handwrite a TeX-heavy question or answer directly within the StackExchange app, then this changes the game and it brings the technical sites into a full mobile life. More than that, this can even provide an even more natural way to write math-heavy questions and answers than the keyboard itself.

I know, on the other hand, that this is a long way off. In the meantime, what systems are there that could be built upon to do this? Would it be possible to make this available to any generic stylus on any phone or tablet? Would it be possible to incorporate specific systems like the S pen? Is there a way to break the feature down into smaller stepping-stones that are more easily achievable?

  • I actually have a script that makes writing latex easy provided you have a basic symbolic keyboard. I'm currently improving (currently very much a work in progress) and integrating it with a Windows app, may try to make a portable version to be used in android apps later. – Manishearth Jan 29 '14 at 21:14

As far as my (limited) experience goes, such tools are too limited to be truly useful.

As an alternative, enable to draw actual little formula pictures that are automatically uploaded to Imgur and included in the post.

Myself, I'd appreciate a notification "TeXify this here post!" so I remember to do so when I next sit at proper PC, but that may not be for everyone.


IIRC, Samsung's Note devices use technology from VisionObjects which is also available to app developers.

Their handwriting recognition can actually produce TeX code --see http://webdemo.visionobjects.com. There are also a few iOS apps using it now.

An alternative might be a dedicated keyboard for TeX input.

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