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I was using $ characters to mean, well, "dollars" in a question on Economics SE and it caused the rendered text to go all screwy. I briefly reviewed the help text but could not zero in on the meaning of that character as markdown. Finally just "escaped" the character with backslash and got on with things.

But what does $ mean in Markdown? Does it have a special function on all SE sites, or only some? (I've been on Stack Overflow and EL&U for a long time and never run across this problem.)

marked as duplicate by Ward, random, Jason C, ale, Community Apr 7 '17 at 19:16

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    Why not ask on Economics Meta? – ale Apr 7 '17 at 0:46
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    Not sure who voted to close as "pertains to a specific site". This currently pertains to something like 59 sites (31 mains + some metas), and any other future sites that may have MathJax enabled. – Jason C Apr 7 '17 at 1:36
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The $ used to delineate MathJax, a LaTeX renderer used to present mathematical equations. Not every site has it enabled but Economics does.

For more information check out the Economics version of the editing help, it describes $ and $$. For MathJax itself, if you're interested in how it works, it's easiest just to check out their site or Google for things like "MathJax cheat sheet", etc. There's also this reference on the Mathematics site.

If you want to type an actual dollar sign on sites with MathJax enabled, precede it with a backslash, as in \$. It may take some getting used to but that backslash is actually a general thing that you can use to escape any special Markdown characters, e.g. I can type: [not a link](http://example.com) by putting a backslash before, say, the left parenthesis.

Example:

enter image description here

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    PS I do actually need $20... :/ – Jason C Apr 7 '17 at 1:34
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    sorry, all I've got is a %20 – William Price Apr 7 '17 at 3:27
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    Outer %%%%%200000000!! – Jason C Apr 7 '17 at 3:34

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