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Re: Default font in Mathematica 9

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  • Subject: [mg129000] Re: Default font in Mathematica 9
  • From: "djmpark" <djmpark at>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 01:42:13 -0500 (EST)
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  • References: <k9hptr$1ie$> <> <> <9169391.2908.1354788167189.JavaMail.root@m06>

Maybe because in beta testing WRI is less interested in design suggestions
and more interested in whether Mathematica crashes or performs incorrectly
in some manner.

The style sheet changes were gratuitous and unnecessary - although I do
rather like the Arial Text font. Users who design their own style sheets
usually start with the Default style so when WRI changes that they are
affecting a lot of users` custom work.

The problem with style sheets is that everyone has their own taste, which
may be conditioned by what they are used to. 

Nevertheless, I would like to suggest a few principles for good style

1) There should not be too great a variation in font size between a Title
cell and a Text cell, else the text becomes too small or the title looks
like a billboard. Differences in font style could compensate for smaller
changes in font size. (WRI has a tendency to deemphasize text, either
putting it in a small font or lightening the color.)

2) All fonts should be black. Color coding does not have an intrinsic
meaning to readers. It can serve mainly to differentiate but is not needed
on what is already differentiated. (Tufte's "minimum effective difference".)

3) All Section, Subsection, etc., headers should have group openers. Very
intelligent readers may still not know about double clicking the cell
brackets, which are not even normally visible. The group openers are more
standard and intuitive. They are also an additional indication of a section
in a notebook. But there should not be group openers on Titles, Subtitles
and Subsubtitles or on Input/Output groups. (And I would prefer it if the
Close All Groups menu command operated only on the various Section levels.)

4) Text cells should have the same font size as Output cells. This is the
style in most printed technical material. Output cells should be unadorned
and look like Text cells. Then, if the Input cells are closed, the document
will read like a normal paper.

5) Text cell should allow a line-return without creating a new cell. Then it
is possible to write extended semi-formatted textual discussion. Textual
discussion is often an important element of notebooks, on a par with
Input/Output. Default style behaves correctly here but some styles such as
Journal Article don't.

David Park
djmpark at 

From: Fred Simons [mailto:f.h.simons at] 

The new stylesheet default.nb turned up in the last beta release. I was
heavily shocked observing this. All my course material, using the old
default style, now looks terrible. I wrote an angry reaction to wri,
suggesting that at least users should have the choice using  the old or the
new default.nb, but never got a response.


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