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How can I incorporate good-looking mathematical exposition into my question/answer?

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codegolf.SE does not use MathJax, because its load time is too high (see discussion). But although there is not built-in support for LaTeX, you can visualize mathematical formulae in various ways

Images

You can include mathematical formulae as images. There a basically three ways how to get such an image:

  • Use the preview of math.SE to create your formula, make a screenshot and crop it to the right size.
  • Create a LaTeX document on your computer, make a screenshot and crop it to the right size.
  • Use command line tools (see this question)
  • Use MathURL to create an image of the equation (fastest option for images)

Symbols

Many math symbols are also available as plain text. You can create your formula by using copy-and-paste:

The most basic symbols that you might need are:

  • Arrows: ← ↓ → ↑ ↔ ↵ ⇐ ⇓ ⇒ ⇑ ⇔
  • Sets: ∈ ∉ ∅ ⊆ ⊂ ⊄ ∪ ∩
  • Relations: ≠ ≤ ≥ ≈
  • Logic: ¬ ∧ ∨ ∃ ∀
  • More: ∫ ∞ ε Δ ⋅

Note that most platforms offer some kind of extended character input palette which makes this input method easier. (e.g. Character Viewer in OSX, Character Map in Windows)

Pure ASCII

While this is the least elegant-looking option, it produces results intelligible to anyone who understands the corresponding mathematical symbols. Handy if you want to put equations in your source code comments.

  • asciiTeX - Binary for Windows only, but it is available on Homebrew for OSX and should build for Linux.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome! I've added a few details, will put in more later when I have more time. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 20 '14 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you copy the symbols idea from me? Yay. I would like to suggest the Window's Snipping tool for making screenshots. It works just like a program I made, but it's better because it is easier to snip an image. I was overjoyed when a professor showed this program to us for use in our Labs. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Mar 31 '14 at 3:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as posting images go, I think a simpler option than screenshots is MathURL \$\endgroup\$ – Ephraim Jun 7 '14 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ As MathURL doesn't support https, I highly recommend (And with heavy bias) using a-ta.co \$\endgroup\$ – ATaco May 16 '17 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ATaco Is this link outdated, or this page just down at the moment? \$\endgroup\$ – musicman523 Jul 13 '17 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @musicman523 Just down for a quick maintenance, should be back up shortly. \$\endgroup\$ – ATaco Jul 13 '17 at 4:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since MathJax is now enabled, this answer is no longer accurate in this regard. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Frech Aug 30 '18 at 10:16

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