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 TEX tutorial

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Ani
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PostSubject: TEX tutorial   Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:17 am

So a new feature has been implemented, called TeX. A new formatting button has also been added for it. So, some of you may ask, what is TeX, and how to use it? Okay, I’ll try and explain. Suggestions, comments and corrections welcome.

(i) What is TeX?
TeX is a neat way of formatting mathematical equations and other expressions in posts by means of GIF or PNG images (in this forum it’s PNG). These images are compact and can be inserted in lines of text. Although it is mostly used in mathematics, it can also be used in other areas – for example, in chemistry:


(ii) How do I use TeX?
Simply wrap your TeX expression in [tex] … [/tex] tags. Notice that there is a new TeX formatting button available for this. For example, if you wrap
y=ax^2+bx+c
in TeX tags, you get this:


Neat, huh? Notice a couple of things:

(1) The TeX formatter ignores spacing and single line breaks. It automatically parses your equation and inserts relevant spaces – so you don’t have to do it yourself. In the example above, there is a space before and after the = and before and after each +.

(2) TeX follows typographical convention by formatting all variables in .

(iii) What expressions can I type using TeX?
In our example above, the caret symbol ^ is used to format superscript. Similarly the underscore _ is used to format subscript:
x^2 gives

x_0 gives
Note that only the character immediately following the ^ or _ is formatted. If you wish to format more than one character in super-/subscript, you must enclose the characters in braces { }. For example, if you type
x^12
you would get

If you mean x to the power of 12 instead, you must type x^{12}:
x^{12} gives

The backslash \ generally precedes TeX commands. Here are a few examples of commonly typed expressions in TeX:
\frac{1}{2} gives

\sqrt{2} gives

\sqrt[3]{2} gives (NB: square brackets [ ] around the 3, braces { } around the 2)

\alpha, \beta, \gamma, \delta etc give , , , etc

\mathbb{Z}, \mathbb{Q}, \mathbb{R}, \mathbb{C} give

It is important to note that all TeX commands are case-sensitive.
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