# Defining Output Formats

Just as *Mathematica* allows you to define how expressions should be evaluated, so also it allows you to define how expressions should be formatted for output. The basic idea is that whenever *Mathematica* is given an expression to format for output, it first calls Format[expr] to find out whether any special rules for formatting the expression have been defined. By assigning a value to Format[expr] you can therefore tell *Mathematica* that you want a particular kind of expression to be output in a special way.

This tells

*Mathematica* to format

objects in a special way.

Now

objects are output to look like binomial coefficients.

Out[2]= | |

Internally, however,

objects are still exactly the same.

Out[3]//FullForm= |

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Format[expr_{1}]:=expr_{2} | define to be formatted like |

Format[expr_{1},form]:=expr_{2} | give a definition only for a particular output form |

Defining your own rules for formatting.

By making definitions for Format, you can tell *Mathematica* to format a particular expression so as to look like another expression. You can also tell *Mathematica* to run a program to determine how a particular expression should be formatted.

This specifies that

*Mathematica* should run a simple program to determine how

objects should be formatted.

The strings are created when each

is formatted.

Out[5]= | |

Internally, however, the expression still contains

objects.

Out[6]= | |

Prefix[f[x],h] | prefix form |

Postfix[f[x],h] | postfix form |

Infix[f[x,y,...],h] | infix form |

Prefix[f[x]] | standard prefix form |

Postfix[f[x]] | standard postfix form |

Infix[f[x,y,...]] | standard infix form |

PrecedenceForm[expr,n] | an object to be parenthesized with a precedence level n |

Output forms for operators.

This prints with

represented by the "prefix operator"

.

Out[7]= | |

Here is output with the "infix operator"

.

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By default, the "infix operator"

is assumed to have "higher precedence" than

, so no parentheses are inserted.

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When you have an output form involving operators, the question arises of whether the arguments of some of them should be parenthesized. As discussed in "Special Ways to Input Expressions", this depends on the "precedence" of the operators. When you set up output forms involving operators, you can use PrecedenceForm to specify the precedence to assign to each operator. *Mathematica* uses integers from 1 to 1000 to represent "precedence levels". The higher the precedence level for an operator, the less it needs to be parenthesized.

Here

is treated as an operator with precedence

. This precedence turns out to be low enough that parentheses are inserted.

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When you make an assignment for Format[expr], you are defining the output format for expr in all standard types of *Mathematica* output. By making definitions for Format[expr, form], you can specify formats to be used in specific output forms.

This specifies the

TeXForm for the symbol

.

The output format for

that you specified is now used whenever the TeX form is needed.

Out[12]//TeXForm= |

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