Help:LaTeX Symbol Tables for Wikieducator

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Vista Community Help.png [math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \text{ Symbol Tables for WikiEducator}\,[/math]
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About this Help Page

This help page aims to provide a comprehensive reference guide of [math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] markup available in WikiEducator platform. These codes are necessary for developing nice and well-formed Wiki-Resources in the field of Mathematics, Science and Technology
Do you recognise this one?


well, all you need to do for rendering the quadratic formula in WikiEducator is enclosing some LaTeX markup into <math>...</math> wiki markup tags.

How do I get the <math>...</math> Wiki markup tags?

1. Switch to edit mode:
2. Make your choice:

  • Simply write the math wiki tags directly in the text you are editing, then add inside tags the LaTeX markup, or
  • Click on the button (Fig.1) located in the WE edit tool bar, and this text will be automatically added to your edition: <math>Insert formula here</math>
Then substitute text Insert formula here by LaTeX markup corresponding to the expression you want to render.

3. Show Preview of your edition or directly Save page.

Fig. 1 Inserting math Wiki-markup.


Typing in edit mode:


Renders in published mode, renders:


[math]\mathrm{T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] is a typesetting markup/macro language oriented to creation of scientific documents. TeX was designed with two main goals in mind:

  • to allow anybody to produce high-quality books using a reasonable amount of effort, and
  • to provide a system that would give the exact same results on all computers, now and in the future.

TeX is considered by many to be the best way to typeset complex mathematical formulae. TeX is popular in academia, especially in the mathematics, natural, computational and physical science communities; also used in the commercial world, and also for some work in linguistics.

[math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] is a document preparation system. LaTeX essentially comprises a collection of TeX macros and a program to process LaTeX documents. Because the TeX formatting commands are very low-level, it is usually much simpler for end-users to use LaTeX.

In other words, LaTeX is a layer that translates structural markup into basic TeX commands.

The current version is [math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] [math] 2_{\displaystyle \varepsilon}[/math].

TeX and LaTeX have many variants, for this help page purposes we will use the term [math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] to refer not only to TeX and LaTeX proper, but also to all of these many variants applicable to WikiEducator (Mediawiki platform).

Rendering a LaTeX symbol is the process of generating a PNG image of a math/special symbol, by means of WikiEducator involved software. The PNG images are black (by default) on white background (not transparent).

Wiki markup, HTML markup and LaTeX markup

WikiEducator's platform (like all Mediawiki platforms) uses a blended set of markup software. For mathematical formuale and special symbols uses a subset of TeX markup, including some extensions from LaTeX and AMS-LaTeX. It generates either PNG images or simple HTML markup, depending on user preferences (Fig. 2) and the complexity of the expression. More precisely, the Mediawiki platform filters the markup through Texvc, which in turn passes the commands to TeX for the actual rendering. Thus, only a limited part of the full TeX language is supported.

Fig. 2 User preferences determine how LaTeX is rendered by default.


There are several forms for displaying special characters or mathematical expressions:

Code Displayed
a³+a²b a³+a²b
<math>a^3+a^2b</math> a3 + a2b
<math>a^3+a^2b\,</math> [math]a^3+a^2b\,[/math]

Before trying [math]\mathrm{T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math] markup for producing special characters, it should be noted that, as this comparison table shows, sometimes similar results can be achieved in HTML.

For a comprehensive list of HTML special characters, see Displaying Special Characters

TeX Syntax (forcing PNG) TeX Rendering HTML Syntax HTML Rendering
<math>\alpha\,\!</math> [math]\alpha\,\![/math] {{mathem|<VAR>α</VAR>}} α
<math>\sqrt{2}</math> [math]\sqrt{2}[/math] {{mathem|{{radical|2}}}} 2
<math>\sqrt{1-e^2}</math> [math]\sqrt{1-e^2}\![/math] {{mathem|{{radical|1 − ''e''²}}}} 1 − e²

The use of HTML instead of TeX is still under discussion. The arguments either way can be summarised as follows.

Pros of HTML

  1. In-line HTML formulae always align properly with the rest of the HTML text.
  2. The formula’s background and font size match the rest of HTML contents and the appearance respects CSS and browser settings while the typeface is conveniently altered to help you identify formulae.
  3. Pages using HTML code for formulae will load faster and they will create less clutter on your hard disk.
  4. Formulae typeset with HTML code will be accessible to client-side script links (a.k.a. scriptlets).
  5. The display of a formula entered using mathematical templates can be conveniently altered by modifying the templates involved; this modification will affect all relevant formulae without any manual intervention.
  6. The HTML code, if entered diligently, will contain all semantic information to transform the equation back to TeX or any other code as needed. It can even contain differences TeX does not normally catch, e.g. {{mathem|''i''}} for the imaginary unit and {{mathem|<VAR>i</VAR>}} for an arbitrary index variable.

Pros of TeX

  1. TeX is semantically superior to HTML. In TeX, "<math>x</math>" means "mathematical variable x", whereas in HTML "x" could mean anything. Information has been irrevocably lost.
  2. On the other hand, if you encode the same formula as "{{mathem|<VAR>x</VAR>}}", you get the same visual result x and no information is lost. This requires diligence and more typing that could make the formula harder to understand as you type it. However, since there are far more readers than editors, this effort is worth considering.
  3. TeX has been specifically designed for typesetting formulae, so input is easier and more natural if you are accustomed to it, and output is more aesthetically pleasing if you focus on a single formula rather than on the whole containing page.
  4. One consequence of point 1 is that TeX code can be transformed into HTML, but not vice-versa. This means that on the server side we can always transform a formula, based on its complexity and location within the text, user preferences, type of browser, etc. Therefore, where possible, all the benefits of HTML can be retained, together with the benefits of TeX. It is true that the current situation is not ideal, but that is not a good reason to drop information/contents. It is more a reason to help improve the situation.
  5. Another consequence of point 1 is that TeX can be converted to MathML for browsers which support it, thus keeping its semantics and allowing the rendering to be better suited for the reader’s graphic device.
  6. When writing in TeX, editors need not worry about whether this or that version of this or that browser supports this or that HTML entity. The burden of these decisions is put on the software. This does not hold for HTML formulae, which can easily end up being rendered wrongly or differently from the editor’s intentions on a different browser.
  7. More importantly, the serif font used for rendering formulae is browser-dependent and it may be missing some important glyphs. While the browser generally capable to substitute a matching glyph from a different font family, it need not be the case for combined glyphs (compare ‘ IPA: /a̅/ ’ and ‘  ’).
  8. TeX is the preferred text formatting language of most professional mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. It is easier to persuade them to contribute if they can write in TeX.

Help Categories

Most common LaTeX Packages required to render symbols

Package Package Package Package Package Package Package Package Package Package
textcomp latexsym amssymb stmaryrd euscript wasysym pifont manfnt bbding undertilde
ifsym tipa tipx wsuipa metre txfonts mathabx skak ascii dingbat
skull eurosym yfonts mathdots trsym universa upgreek chemarr mathtools phaistos
arcs t4phonet semtrans dictsym extarrows protosem harmony hieroglf cclicenses arev
MnSymbol extpfeil keystroke fge turnstile epsdice feyn universal accents nicefrac
bm calligra

Web References

This help page is mostly based in:

  • The Comprehensive[math]\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle A}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; T\!_{\displaystyle E} \! X} \,[/math]Symbol List. Copyright © 2008, Scott Pakin. This work may be distributed and/or modified under the conditions of the LaTeX Project Public License, either version 1.3c of this license or (at your option) any later version. The latest version of this license is in LaTeX Project and version 1.3c or later is part of all distributions of LaTeX version 2006/05/20 or later.Download the The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List (pdf 4.17Mb).
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