# String Representation of Boxes

The Wolfram Language provides a compact way of representing boxes in terms of strings. This is particularly convenient when you want to import or export specifications of boxes as ordinary text.

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It is important to distinguish between forms that represent just raw boxes, and forms that represent the *meaning* of the boxes.

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Distinguishing raw boxes from the expressions they represent.

If you copy the contents of a StandardForm cell into another program, such as a text editor, the Wolfram System will generate a form where necessary. This is done so that if you subsequently paste the form back into the Wolfram System, the original contents of the StandardForm cell will automatically be re-created. Without the , only the raw boxes corresponding to these contents would be obtained.

With default settings for options, forms pasted into Wolfram System notebooks are automatically displayed in two‐dimensional form.

Embedding two‐dimensional box structures in strings.

The Wolfram Language will usually treat a form that appears within a string just like any other sequence of characters. But by inserting a you can tell the Wolfram Language instead to treat this form like the boxes it represents. In this way you can therefore embed box structures within ordinary character strings.

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∖(box_{1},box_{2},…∖) | RowBox[box_{1},box_{2},…] |

box_{1}∖^box_{2} | SuperscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

box_{1}∖_box_{2} | SubscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

box_{1}∖_box_{2}∖%box_{3} | SubsuperscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2},box_{3}] |

box_{1}∖&box_{2} | OverscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

box_{1}∖+box_{2} | UnderscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

box_{1}∖+box_{2}∖%box_{3} | UnderoverscriptBox[box_{1},box_{2},box_{3}] |

box_{1}∖/box_{2} | FractionBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

∖@box | SqrtBox[box] |

\@box_{1}\%box_{2} | RadicalBox[box_{1},box_{2}] |

form∖` box | FormBox[box,form] |

\*input | construct boxes from input |

String representations of boxes.

The Wolfram Language requires that any input forms you give for boxes be enclosed within and . But within these outermost and you can use additional and to specify grouping.

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When you type as input to the Wolfram System, the first thing that happens is that , , and are recognized as being separate "tokens". The same separation into tokens is done when boxes are constructed from input enclosed in . However, inside the boxes each token is given as a string, rather than in its raw form.

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Within sequences, you can set up certain kinds of boxes by using backslash notations such as and . But for other kinds of boxes, you need to give ordinary Wolfram System input, prefaced by .

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in effect acts like an escape: it allows you to enter ordinary Wolfram Language syntax even within a sequence. Note that the input you give after a can itself in turn contain sequences.

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∖!∖(input∖) | interpret input in the current form |

∖!∖(form∖`input∖) | interpret input using the specified form |

Controlling the way input is interpreted.

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When you copy the contents of a cell from a notebook into a program such as a text editor, no explicit backslash backquote sequence is usually included. But if you expect to paste what you get back into a cell of a different type from the one it came from, then you will typically need to include a backslash backquote sequence in order to ensure that everything is interpreted correctly.