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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: typesetting fractions

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg45748] Re: [mg45726] Re: [mg45697] Re: [mg45644] Re: [mg45590] Re: [mg45555] typesetting fractions
  • From: Garry Helzer <gah at>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 03:15:32 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <> <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Since Selwyn has fallen down in the venting department I will offer a
few remarks.

For the last few years I have used Mathematica exclusively for
technical writing, mostly because it gives me better control over
figure placement and keeps everything in a single file. That said, it
is nonetheless an aggravating experience in many ways. The
subscript/quotient font size problem is a daily irritation. Here's my
question. TeX does an excellent job in this regard. TeX has been around
since the '60s and is open source. Why doesn't someone at WRI just look
at how TeX does it and incorporate the rules? Why reinvent the
wheel especially if the wheels you produce in house always seem to have
corners on the rim?

A personal bugaboo of mine is the spelling checker. I don't have
problems with the spelling checker in any other software, just
Mathematica. Ever since 3.0 I have been trying to teach it that
bivector is a word. No luck. It just keeps telling me to try bevatron
instead. I tell it to learn the word, it puts it in some user defined
dictionary, and then ignores it.

I keep a copy of the Summer-Fall 1999 issue of Mathematica in Education
and Research in a file  cabinet just so I can look up how to change an
unmatched bracket from pink to black whenever I want to define a
multiline function (p. 87).

Indications are that someone at WRI wants to develop Mathematica into a
first rate technical publishing tool. It should be explained to them
that this is just a waste of time and talent if the use of the tool 
is to be such a jealously guarded secret.

If Mathematica is to have more than marginal use as a technical
publication system WRI needs to produce, in house or outhouse, a
Mathematica equivalent of The Joy of TeX. Cursory documentation and
scattered hints in journals will not do it.

On Jan 22, 2004, at 3:37 AM, Selwyn Hollis wote:

> On Jan 20, 2004, at 5:08 AM, John Fultz wrote:
>> I didn't reply to this thread earlier because I figured one of the
>> usual
>> experts would pick it up and run with it, but it appears not.  By
>> reading
>> Selwyn's answer, I think he knows how to do this but decided to vent
>> about
>> the method rather than explain it.
> What, me vent? I could show you venting, but I won't.
> The real issue here is why this design flaw has persisted from version
> 3.0 to version 5.0. It is clearly an example of sheer corner-cutting.
> There is no typographical rationale whatsoever for treating numerators
> and denominators of fractions the same way as subscripts and
> superscripts.
> For example, what if I want to have ScriptSizeMultipliers->1 in a
> fraction that contains subexpressions with superscripts? Then the
> superscripts are the same size as the bases to which they are attached,
> and the whole thing looks silly -- thus I have go in and do a lot of
> meticulous tweaking.
> Again, I could be missing something and have wasted countless hours in
> trying to make many hundreds of pages worthy of publication. But maybe
> it's my own fault for dreaming that I could approach TeX-like quality
> with Mathematica.
> -----
> Selwyn Hollis
> (edit reply-to to reply)
>> In the Option Inspector is an option called ScriptSizeMultipliers.
>> This,
>> combined with the ScriptMinSize, determines sizing for fractions and
>> scripts (sorry, Selwyn).  The easiest way to do what Murray and Sabit
>> want
>> is to set the ScriptSizeMultipliers option to 1.  This could be set 
>> the
>> notebook or global level, as you feel appropriate, or wrapped
>> individually
>> around fractions if you don't want sub/superscripts to pick up the
>> option
>> value.
>> To answer Sabit's second question, select the bracket of the cell
>> you'd
>> like to change, and use the Option Inspector to set the
>> SingleLetterItalics
>> option to False at the selection scope.
>> Sincerely,
>> John Fultz
>> jfultz at
>> User Interface Group
>> Wolfram Research, Inc.
>> On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 19:58:02 -0500 (EST), Murray Eisenberg wrote:
>>> I quite agree that this is an annoyance with Mahematica's typsetting
>>> of
>>> mathematics.
>>> An underlying difficulty is that there is no separate notion of
>>> "display
>>> math" -- mathematical expressions displayed on separate lines -- as
>>> opposed to math within normal paragraphs of text.  This may be an
>>> unfortunate front-end design limitation.
>>> The problem is reminiscent of the same problem in LaTeX, where
>>> in-line,
>>> built-up fractions (and other constructs) have their components >>> small.
>>> But in LaTeX, there is an option (which one needs to apply to each
>>> instance) to make such in-line math "displaystyle", which enlarges the
>>> components to the same large size as if they were in a display.
>>> I devoutly wish there were such a capability in Mathematica --
>>> whether a
>>> per-instance option as with LaTeX, or a global option for a notebook.
>>> Selwyn Hollis wrote:
>>>> My understanding is that the size of fractions is determined by the
>>>> same option that determines the size of subscripts and superscripts,
>>>> which is highly unfortunate. I could be wrong about this; if so I'd
>>>> love to find out. I find it a major pain in the neck always to have
>>>> to
>>>> increase the size of fractions manually. Maybe this is an
>>>> improvement
>>>> we can hope for in version 6.0.
>>>> -----
>>>> Selwyn Hollis
>>>> (edit reply-to to reply)
>>>> On Jan 14, 2004, at 1:26 AM, sabit wrote:
>>>>> I am trying to do some typesetting with mathematica. I noticed that
>>>>> in
>>>>> some styles fractions are set in reduced point size. What is the
>>>>> option that would fix this? I want both denominator and the
>>>>> numerator
>>>>> set in the same size as the text.
>>>>> Also I have the single letter italic enabled for cells where I 
>>>>> the equations but in the cells where there is a lot of text I 
>>>>> want this option. Now I copy and paste a previous cell and use it

>>>>> as
>>>>> new cell but I am sure there is a better way, probably with 
>>>>> Wolfram site lists two documents about typesetting but they are 
>>>>> available to download. Does anyone know a good reference for
>>>>> tpesetting with mathematica?
Garry Helzer
Department of Mathematics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
gah at

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