Help:Displaying a formula

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This is an archived version of this page, as edited by Card~metawiki (talk | contribs) at 12:29, 13 December 2003. It may differ significantly from the current version.
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<-MediaWiki User's Guide

MediaWiki uses TeX markup for mathematical formulas. It generates either PNG images or simple HTML markup, depending on user prefs and the complexity of the expression. In the future, as more browsers are smarter, it will be able to generate enhanced HTML or even MathML in many cases.

Math markup goes inside <math> ... </math>. Line breaks within these tags are fine, and aren't rendered. They're a good idea to keep the raw markup clear (for instance, a line break after each term or row of a matrix).

Discussion, bug reports and feature requests should go to the Wikitech-l mailing list.

Please avoid using this feature as part of a line of regular text, as the formulas don't align properly and the font is too large.

Regarding color, notice that this page is a special page and has therefore a gray background. Normal MediaWiki pages are white, just like the formulas, so don't worry.

Special characters

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
std. functions (good) \sin x + \ln y +\operatorname{sgn} z
std. functions (wrong) sin x + ln y + sgn z
Derivatives \nabla \partial dx
Sets \forall x\not\in\empty\subseteq A\cap B\cup \exists \{x,y\} \times C
Logic p\wedge \bar{q} \rightarrow p\vee \bar{q} \Rightarrow \Leftrightarrow
Root \sqrt{2}\approx 1.4
Relations \sim \simeq \cong \le \ge \equiv \approx \ne
Geometric \angle \perp \|
Special \oplus \otimes \pm \mp \hbar \dagger \ddagger \star \circ \cdot \bullet \infty

Subscripts, superscripts

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
Superscript a^2
Subscript a_2
Grouping a^{2+2}
Combining sub & super x_2^3
Derivative (good) x'
Derivative (wrong in HTML) x^\prime
Derivative (wrong in PNG) x\prime
Sum \sum_{k=1}^N k^2
Product \prod_{i=1}^N x_i
Limit \lim_{n \to \infty}x_n
Integral \int_{-N}^{N} e^x\, dx
Line Integral \oint_{C} x^3\, dx + 4y^2\, dy

Fractions, matrices, multilines

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
Fractions \frac{2}{4} or {2 \over 4}
Binomial coefficients {n \choose k}
Matrices \begin{pmatrix} x & y \\ z & v \end{pmatrix}
\begin{bmatrix} 0 & \cdots & 0 \\ \vdots &

\ddots & \vdots \\ 0 & \cdots &

\begin{Bmatrix} x & y \\ z & v \end{Bmatrix}
\begin{vmatrix} x & y \\ z & v \end{vmatrix}
\begin{Vmatrix} x & y \\ z & v \end{Vmatrix}
\begin{matrix} x & y \\ z & v \end{matrix}
Case distinctions f(n)=\left\{\begin{matrix} n/2, & \mbox{if }n\mbox{ is

even} \\ 3n+1, & \mbox{if }n\mbox{ is odd}

Multiline equations \begin{matrix}f(n+1)&=& (n+1)^2 \\ \ & =& n^2 + 2n + 1\end{matrix}


Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
Greek letters \alpha \beta \gamma \Gamma \phi \Phi \Psi\ \tau \Omega
Blackboard bold x\in\mathbb{R}\sub\mathbb{C}
boldface (vectors) \mathbf{x}\cdot\mathbf{y} = 0
boldface (greek) \boldsymbol{\alpha}+\boldsymbol{\beta}+\boldsymbol{\gamma}
Fraktur typeface \mathfrak{a} \mathfrak{B}
Script \mathcal{ABC}
Hebrew \aleph \beth \gimel \daleth
non-italicised characters \mbox{abc}

Parenthesizing big expressions

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
Not good ( \frac{1}{2} )
Better \left( \frac{1}{2} \right)

You can use various delimiters with \left and \right:

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
Parentheses \left( A \right)
Brackets \left[ A \right]
Braces \left\{ A \right\}
Angle brackets \left\langle A \right\rangle
Bars \left| A \right|
Use \left. and \right. if you don't want a delimiter to appear: \left. {A \over B} \right\} \to X


Note that TeX handles most spacing automatically, but you may sometimes want manual control.

Feature Syntax How it looks rendered
double quad space a \qquad b
quad space a \quad b
text space a\ b
large space a\;b
medium space a\>b [not supported]
small space a\,b
no space ab
negative space a\!b

See also:

External Links