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questions about make boxes

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  • Subject: [mg13716] questions about make boxes
  • From: Tom <toad at>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 01:38:09 -0400
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I have been trying to figure out the examples that have been given
recently responding to the question about box formatting.  I can sort
of understand the idea, but my knowledge doesn't allow me to modify the
examples to fit my needs.

I wonder if someone could help with this question.  It seems that
MakeBoxes would apply here, but I am not sure.

Here is a very simple example of what I would like Mathematica to do

Suppose we have coefficients, a,b ,c and d.  They can take on integer
values from -10 to 10.

I would like to have the correct box form for the expression a x + b x +
c x + d x.

This means that if a = 1, and b = 0, and c = -1 and d = 12, the output
would be something like...

RowBox[{"x", "-", "x", "+", 
        RowBox[{"12", "x"}]}]

If I could see how this was done, then it could be applied to more
complicated expressions.  Basically I am after a way to correctly
format a "string" of expressions of the kind  "coefficient  expression 
+ coefficient expression + ......"    so that I can pick the
coefficients at random and have the output look the way it should.  The
expression might be a simple variable, or the root of something (eg.  
2 root 18 + root 8 - 12 root 2   )

This is related to work I am doing for my math classes, using
Mathematica to generate random math problems for my students.  

Thanks for your patience and any help you might offer.


Tom De Vries

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