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Re: Exact Symbolic Notation

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg56291] Re: [mg56269] Exact Symbolic Notation
  • From: "David Park" <djmp at>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 05:36:10 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


I have to  weigh in on this, although I don't know if I'll be much help.

You could try the Notations package that comes with Mathematica. This can be
used to turn expressions into symbols. I find it rather difficult to use but
it does work for some people. I think the Notations package (or the
MakeExpression statement) would be necessary to underline only part of a
symbol. Maybe someone in the group will show you how to do it.

For subscripted symbols you could try the SubscriptSymbols package by Ted
Ersek on MathSource. It uses ideas of Carl Woll and also manages the use of
the Notations package to symbolize subscripted variables if you wish to go
that far.

In Mathematica p'[x] means the derivative of f with respect to the argument

p' // FullForm

I suppose one could get away with using that...

Solve[p'y == 3x, p']
{{p' -> (3*x)/y}}

but I suspect that difficulties lurk somewhere. I wouldn't use it.

There is a prime character that can be entered as \[Prime], or esc ' esc, so
you could use


but this displays with the prime sitting on the floor instead of being
raised to it's normal position. I think this is a definite deficiency in
Mathematica. Primed variables are very common in text books and in the
mathematical literature. Mathematica has a prime character. Why doesn't WRI
make it display correctly? I've complained about this a number of times but
so far you are the only other Mathematica user I've come across who seems to
want to use primed symbols!

I also think Mathematica would be greatly enhanced if the palette
characters, the Script, DoubleStruck and Gothic were better formed and
somewhat larger than their present size. These used to be better in earlier
versions of Mathematica and somewhere around Version 4 they got worse and
not as usable. It would also be nice if they had an additional larger bold
sans serif set of characters that could be used for vectors, matrices etc.

Over the years I've learned that it is almost always possible to manipulate
expressions to get them into textbook form, but the inadequate extended
character sets are still a major problem. One that could be easily fixed.

David Park
djmp at

From: Alexandre Costa [mailto:costa at]
To: mathgroup at

Dear Group,
 It is a pleasure talk to you all again.
 My plain question is:
I want to use some "exact" notation with Mathematica. For instance,
I want to use variables like " p' " instead of "pline" (or something like
Also I want to use P2 (with the 2 underlined). The last option works in some
calculations but not in all of them (Why?).
Finally I want to define f1[x] as a function with the 1 underlined(Why
is not working?).

Any enlightment on these subject are very welcome.

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