# Thread: Howto: simple means of entering math expressions without Latex

1. ## Howto: simple means of entering math expressions without Latex

I feel Latex would be too ambitious for me, who wants to spend most of my time learning trig identities and honing my algebra skills, rather than go on another learning curve to integrate a formal computer language like Latex (even the framing of that last clause will indicate how totally unused I am to text -editing, code, or anything IT really, beyond the Windoze user range of click and stare)

So, I want to put my questions to you and I want to be able to drop a radical over a number without resorting to /3 for the square root of 3, but don't necessarily think i'm suited (just yet) to the complexities of Latex

Any suggestions?

Godfree

2. ## Re: Howto: simple means of entering math expressions without Latex

Writing documents/papers in LaTeX is an entirely different story (I barely know how to write one, even though I'm familiar with math typeset). But for you, you'll probably also be writing only math expressions for now.

Basically, to wrap expressions in LaTeX, use the [TEX] tags, which can be done by going to "Go Advanced" and then clicking on the $\Sigma$. Or you could just type them in.

Formatting is a little tricky but typesetting math is fairly easy. Usually you use a \ in front of a command (e.g. \sqrt, \mod, \epsilon, \frac, etc.). Use curly braces to separate "arguments" of a function, for example, if you want the square root of 3, you would type \sqrt{3}. A fraction, such as $\frac{x}{y}$, is denoted \frac{x}{y}.

If you have a subscript or superscript (such as $a_n$ or $a^n$), you would write a_n or a^n. However, for subscripts or superscripts longer than one character, you must use curly braces. For example, a_10 shows $a_10$ while a_{10} shows $a_{10}$. Sums, products, and integrals are also tricky, but with a little practice you can input expressions such as $\zeta (s) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{s^n}$ or $\int_{0}^{1} \int_{0}^{1} \int_{0}^{1}\,dx \, dy \,dz$.

A (nearly) complete list of LaTeX symbols and commands can be found here: LaTeX:Symbols - AoPSWiki

3. ## Re: Howto: simple means of entering math expressions without Latex

Richard, this is so helpful. thx kindly. You were of course correct in your assumption about my maths error.
Now, about LaTex; i'm running Ubuntu Linux and I can't ascertain if LaTex is part of the install or not. Could you direct me to a far lighter option (i've read LaTex can be up to 3 gig!!!!) both in terms of size *and* complexity: i don't want something that will force me onto a learning curve so great and demanding that my maths progress will stall.