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Re: Re: Primed Symbols in Mathematica

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg93870] Re: [mg93786] Re: Primed Symbols in Mathematica
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 05:33:11 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

I don't see anything about the null byte discussed on the tutorial page you
point to (from either v6 or v7 documentation).  I do see a reference to it on 
this page...


where it explicitly mentions that it's \000 (not, as you say, \0).

I don't understand your last remark about Character Map.  There's no reason
that it or utilities like it on other platforms shouldn't work just fine in 

Yes, this is somewhat obscure in the documentation, and has been since it was 
originally documented in the version 3 book.  But come on!  It's an obscure

It ties into the underlying representation of Unicode characters (and let me
emphasize, this is standard Unicode and system fonts here...nothing specific to 
Mathematica).  If you had a keyboard with such a character on it (assuming such 
a keyboard exists), it would Just Work.  If you use a utility (like Character 
Map) which allows you to look at the full range of supported Unicode characters 
on your system and paste them into applications, it would Just Work.

So in addition to those far easier methods of inserting characters, Mathematica 
additionally exposes this detail of the underlying implementation as an obscure 
way to get any character you want, if you understand Unicode, if you understand 
hex, if you need a character that isn't in the Special Characters palette. It 
really shouldn't be surprising that this isn't a headline documentation item.

I apologize for not better explaining myself in my earlier email.  My email
lacked the details mentioned here because I was in a hurry and I knew that
David would understand precisely what I meant.

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

On Wed, 26 Nov 2008 14:34:00 -0600, DrMajorBob wrote:
>> ... I'm sure this is documented somewhere inside the bottom drawer of a
>> filing cabinet ...
> What an optimist you are!!
> So far I've found this mentioned in the tutorial at
> tutorial/RawCharacterEncodings.
> I can, indeed, enter the single quote as \:02b9, but the null byte "\0"
> from the same page yields a syntax error:
> \0
> Syntax::sntoct1: 3 octal digits are required after \ to construct an 8-bit
> character.
> Syntax::sntxi: Incomplete expression; more input is needed.
> The second method (Character Map) can't work well anywhere, can it, as
> these characters are visually indistinguishable from others that lack the
> desired properties?
> Bobby
> On Wed, 26 Nov 2008 12:55:13 -0600, Steve Luttrell <steve at>
> wrote:
>> You type exactly the string "\:02b9" (without the "") and just as you
>> hit the "9" Mathematica will realise what you want and replace it by a
>> single prime. I'm sure this is documented somewhere inside the bottom
>> drawer of a filing cabinet ...
>> Alternatively, in Windows at least, you can use the Character Map, and
>> scroll down to find the relevant characters. They come just after the
>> first
>> large block of alphabetic characters in the Arial font.
>> Stephen Luttrell
>> West Malvern, UK
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: DrMajorBob [mailto:btreat1 at]
>>> Sent: 26 November 2008 18:30
>>> To: Steve Luttrell; mathgroup at; jfultz at
>>> Subject: Re: [mg93786] Re: Primed Symbols in Mathematica
>>> Any clue, anyone, how we're supposed to ENTER these characters?
>>> Bobby
>>> On Wed, 26 Nov 2008 04:10:24 -0600, Steve Luttrell
>>> <steve at> wrote:
>>>> I find that both the \:02b9 (single prime) and the \:02ba (double
>>> prime)
>>>> display OK on my Vista system. The double prime looks exactly (same
>>> size
>>>> and
>>>> height) like a doubled version of the single prime.
>>> --
>>> DrMajorBob at

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