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Re: Usage Messages in Mathematica

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  • Subject: [mg129291] Re: Usage Messages in Mathematica
  • From: Bob Hanlon <hanlonr357 at>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2012 15:12:06 -0500 (EST)
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  • References: <>

Using both Format and usage messages seems to work.

Format[f[n_, x_]]:=
    Subscript[f, n][x];
f::usage="f[n, x] gives " <>
    ToString[f[n, x], StandardForm]<>".";


f[n, x]

f[n, x]//TraditionalForm

Format[g[n_, a_, x_]]:=
    Power[Subscript[g, n], a][x];
g::usage="g[n, a, x] gives " <>
    ToString[g[n, a, x], StandardForm]<>".";


g[n, a, x]

g[n, a, x]//TraditionalForm

Bob Hanlon

On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 5:36 AM, Murray Eisenberg <murray at> wrote:
> And yet usage messages for built-in objects seem to handle in-line
> expressions and subscripts with aplomb. See, for example:
>   Subscript::usage
> On Dec 27, 2012, at 5:04 AM, djmpark <djmpark at> wrote:
>> An extremely weak features of Mathematica is the design of Usage messages,
>> which seems to be stuck at Version 1, although the technology has moved far
>> beyond that.
>> The present design is not up to the task and full of gotchas. For example,
>> how does one include a box structure, for example a subscripted symbol,
>> within a usage message? If one just enters a subscript then the first time
>> the message is displayed there are quotes around it and the second time the
>> quotes go away. If one starts an InlineCell within the string and enters the
>> expression then that problem goes away. If one then moves the usage
>> definition to a package and Runs the package it works OK. But if one saves
>> and closes the package, quits the kernel and then reinitializes, loading the
>> package, the usage message is defective giving the InputForm of the box
>> expression. Mathematica parses and changes the usage messages when the file
>> is read.
>> The String form is just not adequate for usage messages. Nor is it adequate
>> to contain information on overloading functions. Usage definitions should be
>> expressions. Something like the following:
>> Usage[FunctionName] = {{template, usageExpression}..}
>> (The usageExpression might be a Row containing Strings and mathematical
>> expressions.)...
> ---
> Murray Eisenberg                                    murray at
> Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
> Lederle Graduate Research Tower            phone 413 549-1020 (H)
> University of Massachusetts                               413 545-2838 (W)
> 710 North Pleasant Street                         fax   413 545-1801
> Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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