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Sometimes certain posts, especially in scientific forums, use a lot of subscripted/superscripted characters which need not be rendered in TeX. In such cases it is a pain to keep typing (or even pasting) <sub> </sub> all the time. Most users are also unaware of this HTML feature and I end up spending quite some time editing their posts.

This is also an issue when excerpts that contain extensive subscripts/superscripts are pasted (At least in excerpts from scientific articles).

For an example, see this excerpt from a scientific article, that I pasted in one of my posts:

Schematic representation of a convex cone characterized by five extreme pathways. Extreme Pathways 1–5 (EP1, EP2, EP3, EP4, and EP5) circumscribe the solution space for the three fluxes indicated (vA, vB, vC). EP4 lies in the plane formed by fluxes vA and vB. Consequently, flux vC does not participate in that extreme pathway. EP3, EP4, and EP5 are all close and represent different uses of a network to achieve a similar overall result. All points within the convex cone can be described as a non-negative linear combination of the extreme pathways [1].

It could be noted that there are not just numerical subscripts but alphabetical too. Though numerical sub/superscript UTF characters can be generated by using compose keys, it is not possible for alphabetical subscripts. Moreover, UTF looks ugly.


UTF: ³A₅

HTML: 3A5


In general, sites like chemistry and biology use a lot of references to chemicals using their formulae (inline references). Usage of TeX makes the TeXxed text blatantly stand out which is not necessary when you just want to write "CO2" to say carbon dioxide.


Would it be feasible to add keyboard shortcuts or format buttons for wrapping subscript and superscript HTML tags?

  • If you are on Linux or similar, take a look at the Compose feature. It essentially intellegently combines standard characters after you press a designated compose key. E.g., <compose> + <_> + <4> yields ₄. Some similar feature may exist on other operating systems. – Wrzlprmft Jul 25 '15 at 10:17
  • @Wrzlprmft I know about compose keys but UTF does not have alphabetical sub/superscripts and also the UTF characters don't look that good. It is fine for comments and title but not for the body. – WYSIWYG Jul 25 '15 at 10:38

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