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Is latex used so that your math is more readable?

  1. Aug 9, 2015 #1
    Is Latex so that your math problems look readable, so they look like they are written in an actual textbook?
    If this is what latex is for, how do I start learning latex? thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2015 #2

    Bandersnatch

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    Yes. Latex allows you to change e.g. x^2=1/2y into ##x^2=\frac{1}{2}y##

    You can start learning it here:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/help/latexhelp/

    If there's something you can find there, just type it in google together with 'latex' and you should be able to find the command, or in fact a whole set of guides.

    Also, if you see a post with some equation that you'd like to know how to type in Latex, just quote the post and look at the quoted text to find the formatting used.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2015 #3

    micromass

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    I tend to skip most posts which aren't written with LaTeX. Using LaTeX is a huge help to the people answering your thread.
     
  5. Aug 9, 2015 #4

    Mark44

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    Like micromass I sometimes skip posts that don't use LaTeX, especially ones that have complicated expressions involving radicals, fractions, or integrals.
    Students are used to seeing fractions that are written in textbooks like this:
    $$\frac{x^2 - 4}{x - 2}$$
    and they think that they can write them as x^2 - 4 / x - 2

    The problem is that, according to the precedence rules in mathematics, the above is the same as ##x^2 - \frac 4 x - 2##.

    At the very least, they should have written (x^2 - 4) / (x - 2).
     
  6. Aug 9, 2015 #5

    micromass

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    God, I absolutely hate it when they do that. It's one of the most annoying things you can do in a thread.
     
  7. Aug 9, 2015 #6

    Mark44

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    I agree!
     
  8. Aug 9, 2015 #7

    micromass

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    Other things that annoy me:
    - I want to derive the function ##x^2 + 1##.
    - The equation ##x^2 + 1## clearly has...
    - My answer is written in the following image (usually followed by an image that is upside-down and with an unreadable handwriting; having to open the image is already extremely annoying)
     
  9. Aug 9, 2015 #8

    symbolipoint

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    I also agree.

    In fact, sometimes, in the way of giving help, I will solve a problem exactly according to how the student has written it (or miswritten it). Other times, I will rewrite the expression or equation for the student and explain why.
     
  10. Aug 9, 2015 #9

    symbolipoint

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    Outside of LaTeX or other typesetting assistance, putting expressions into properly arranged pure text, with grouping symbols arranged correctly to stop ambguity, is very helpful.
     
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