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Re: General--Making the DisplayFormula style in ArticleModern look like Traditional

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg64930] Re: General--Making the DisplayFormula style in ArticleModern look like Traditional
  • From: Paul Abbott <paul at>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 00:59:41 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: The University of Western Australia
  • References: <dujsgg$97j$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

In article <dujsgg$97j$1 at>,
 Bill Rowe <readnewsciv at> wrote:

> Assume for the moment, Mathematica is entirely bug free with respect to 
> converting StandardForm to TraditionalForm. The net effect of this conversion 
> is to create (in many cases) nicer looking output at the cost of obscuring 
> the needed input.

This assumes that people will be typing in electronic code from an 
electronic document by hand! Surely you would agree that the need to do 
this archaic practice is rapidly diminishing? And, indeed, it is part of 
the whole rationale behind the use of Notebooks.
> For many widely used functions, the traditional form is seems to be a more 
> compact notation, more easily understood and easily mentally translated to 
> StandardForm. But Mathematica handles a wide variety of functions. And some 
> of those functions typeset in traditional form are not widely used and are 
> unfamiliar to someone outside a particular field where it is commonly used. 
> For such functions, given there is no simple direct way to input the function 
> in TraditionalForm, 

When you say direct, you mean via the keyboard. Of course, you can use 
palettes -- but you can also use aliases (which I assume you count as 
indirect). For example, try


> there isn't any simple way to use Mathematica's help browser to look up details of the function.

Of course, if you have the Notebook you can always convert the 
TraditionalForm -> StandardForm and then select the function to look up.

Actually, this point deserves more discussion. Let me give an example. 
Type in 

  LegendreP[n, x]

Now, if you select LegendreP and do "Find Selected Function..." it will 
be found in the Help Browser. However, if you select "LegendreP[n, x]" 
it will not. Moreover, if you convert this input expression to 
TraditionalForm, select the entire expression, and do "Find Selected 
Function..." it will not work either. 

However, what would be smart in such cases is for "Find Selected 
Function..." to go to the Head of the function (in the StandardForm 
case) or the TagBox (in the TraditionalForm case), both of which would 
take you to the entry for LegendreP.

Of course, not all TraditionalForm expressions use TagBoxes (BesselJ, 
for example) -- which is a mistake, in my opinion.

> >>But not all readers will have access to, let alone use, the
> >>electronic form. 
> >I thought that all readers of TMJ had access to the Notebooks. Is
> >that not correct?
> No, that assumption is not correct. If all readers of TMJ did have access to 
> the Notebooks or were reading the electronic version within Mathematica, 
> there wouldn't be much issue.

Well, all Premier Service subscribers can read TMJ for free. See e.g.,

Universities with site-licenses may also have Premier Service (mine has).

> For myself, I've come to prefer StandardForm as the default input form and 
> TraditionalForm as the default output form. Occasionally, when I need to 
> share something with a colleague who doesn't use Mathematica, I convert input 
> cells to TradiationalForm. But I really see no benefit to having the default 
> input set to TraditionalForm nor taking time to convert StandardForm to 
> TradiationalForm in notebooks I create for myself.

It is, of course, a matter of taste and preference. I regularly switch 
between formats.


Paul Abbott                                      Phone:  61 8 6488 2734
School of Physics, M013                            Fax: +61 8 6488 1014
The University of Western Australia         (CRICOS Provider No 00126G)    

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