# Suggestion Why is the math output hard to read sometimes?

1. ### squidsoft

54
May I suggest improving the format of the math output in the forum.

Consider the following code:

$$\mathop\textnormal{Res}\limits_{z=-n}\left\{\frac{\pi}{x^s\sin(\pi s)}\right\}=(-x)^n,\quad n=0,-1,-2,\cdots$$

The equal sign is not well displayed under the Res symbol and the "s" in sine is broken up. I've noticed other problems like this in general. I think PF would look more polished if the math output was nicer looking.

2. ### phreak

149
If I recall correctly, it used to be better. I'm not sure when or why the change occurred.

3. ### DrGreg

1,969
I suspect the problem might be that the LaTeX renderer (which generates the equation images) may work on the assumption that the equations will be displayed on a white background. On a grey background, some of the pixels are too faint. Is it possible to tweak the LaTeX renderer to take account of the grey background?

4. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
Hey all,

A year ago or so, something changed in the fonts included in the normal LaTeX distributions that come with most Linux distributions. Along with it were a number of other changes that broke PF's latex system. I rewrote some of it, but never really figured out the problem with the fonts.

I will look into it more. I don't actually think it has anything to do with anti-aliasing. The images are currently anti-aliased to white, and then white is dropped out as transparent. If the strokes look correct when anti-aliased to white, it seems that changing the surrounding white pixels to transparent would not affect them. It's worth a shot, though.

- Warren

5. ### DrGreg

1,969
For what it's worth, I took the PNG image in post #1, on its default white background, and decreased the brightness until its background matched this thread's grey background. I think the result (attached) is therefore what you'd get if anti-aliased to grey. Slightly more legible, I think, but still not great, and I guess that's down to a poor choice of font. Or something.

File size:
977 bytes
Views:
68
6. ### Moonbear

12,265
Staff Emeritus
Can the font be made bold, either in a default setting or when typed by the user (I never use LaTex, so don't know the ins and outs of this)? It just looks like the font is a bit thin and loses something, so if there's a way to make it bold, that might be enough to improve readability.

7. ### DrGreg

1,969
That wouldn't be a solution as such, because some equations use both bold and plain font, e.g.

$$\mathbf{z} = a\mathbf{x} + b\mathbf{y}$$​

although personally I prefer

$$\textbf{z} = a\textbf{x} + b\textbf{y}$$​

However, if you have a greater choice of font weights than just "plain" and "bold", then some slightly heavier fonts might help.

8. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
Okay, guys... I changed some of the antialiasing behavior in Ghostscript (I turned it down!), and I think the output looks a little better now. If you could, post some troublesome LaTeX here and see if it renders better now.

- Warren

9. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
$$\mathop\textnormal{Res}\limits_{z=-n}\left\{\frac{\pi}{x^s\sin(\pi s)}\right\}=(-x)^n,\quad n=0,-1,-2,\cdots$$

10. ### CRGreathouse

3,682
$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$ has a very strong summation symbol.

File size:
354 bytes
Views:
140
11. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
This is how it looked with the old antialiasing options:

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

- Warren

12. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
And now the new:

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

It's really strange that antialiasing options could even cause this in the first place.....

- Warren

13. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
And with no anti-aliasing at all:

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

- Warren

14. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
Fooling around some more:

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

15. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
Hmmm...

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

16. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
Try try again:

$$\sum_{n=a}^bf(n)$$

17. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
$$\mathop\textnormal{Res}\limits_{z=-n}\left\{\frac{\pi}{x^s\sin(\pi s)}\right\}=(-x)^n,\quad n=0,-1,-2,\cdots$$

18. ### chroot

10,426
Staff Emeritus
I'm not really sure I've found a solution. I'll have to keep hunting.

$$\mathop\textnormal{Res}\limits_{z=-n}\left\{\frac{\pi}{x^s\sin(\pi s)}\right\}=(-x)^n,\quad n=0,-1,-2,\cdots$$

- Warren

19. ### Moonbear

12,265
Staff Emeritus
Some of those versions looked better...not perfect, but certainly better.

20. ### Fredrik

10,527
Staff Emeritus
$$\begin{pmatrix}1 & 0 & 0\\ 0 & \frac{u_x}{u} & \frac{u_y}{u}\\ 0 & -\frac{u_y}{u} & \frac{u_x}{u} \end{pmatrix}$$

Hm, both the parentheses and the zeroes look better than they did here. They used to look like the pixel size was bigger in the LaTeX font. I'm not a big fan of the new $$\sum$$ though, and x and y are still just barely legible. Have you tried a slightly bigger font size?

It would also be nice if the \dot code would make a slightly bigger dot: $$\dot{\vec r}$$ (but I realize of course that you can't do anything that changes only that symbol).