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3.10.5 Structural Elements and Keyboard Characters

Invisible characters.

  • In the input there is an invisible comma between the 1 and 2.
  • In[1]:=


  • Here there is an invisible space between the x and y, interpreted as multiplication.
  • In[2]:= FullForm[xy]


  • \[Null] does not display, but can take modifications such as superscripts.
  • In[3]:= \!\(f[x, \[Null]\^a]\)


  • The \[AlignmentMarker] does not display, but shows how to line up the elements of the column.
  • In[4]:= GridBox[{{"b \[AlignmentMarker]+ c + d"},
    {"a + b \[AlignmentMarker]+ c"}},
    ColumnAlignments->"\[AlignmentMarker]"] // DisplayForm


    Spacing and newline characters.

    Characters used in buttons.

    In the buttons in a palette, you often want to set up a template with placeholders to indicate where expressions should be inserted. \[SelectionPlaceholder] marks the position where an expression that is currently selected should be inserted when the contents of the button are pasted. \[Placeholder] marks other positions where subsequent expressions can be inserted. The Tab key will take you from one such position to the next.

    Representations of keys on a keyboard.

    In describing how to enter input into Mathematica, it is sometimes useful to give explicit representations for keys you should press. You can do this using characters like ↵ and . Note that and are actually treated as spacing characters by Mathematica.

  • This string shows how to type

  • In[5]:= "\[EscapeKey]a\[EscapeKey]


    Characters generated in Mathematica output.

  • Mathematica uses a \[Continuation] character to indicate that the number continues onto the next line.
  • In[6]:= 60!


    Raw keyboard characters.

    The fonts that are distributed with Mathematica contain their own renderings of many ordinary keyboard characters. The reason for this is that standard system fonts often do not contain appropriate renderings. For example, ^ and ~ are often drawn small and above the centerline, while for clarity in Mathematica they must be drawn larger and centered on the centerline.