Entering Input in Notebooks

Mathematica's notebook interface is a very powerful typesetting system that allows you to enter formulas as they are written in mathematical literature, using two-dimensional notation such as superscripts, subscripts, and so on.

Mathematical symbols and two-dimensional notation can be entered from the keyboard as well as through palettes.

Formulas entered in two-dimensional form can be used for input in Mathematica.

powerx Ctrl+^ 3x3
fractionx Ctrl+/ 3
square rootCtrl+2 x
subscriptx Ctrl+_ 3x3
move cursor out of formula by one levelCtrl+Space

You can use Ctrl+6 as an alternative to Ctrl+^; on some non-U.S. keyboards, you may have to use Ctrl+6.

Note that on some operating systems, if the main Ctrl key is remapped, the keyboard commands discussed here will not work.

You can use formulas entered in two-dimensional form for input in Mathematica.

Powers and Fractions

Type , then press Ctrl+^ to create the placeholder for the power.


Type the power , then press Ctrl+Space to move the cursor out.


Similarly, type , then the numerator of the fraction, , then Ctrl+/ to create the placeholder for the denominator.


Type the denominator and then press Ctrl+Space to complete the task.

You can select and edit any part of a two-dimensional formula.

Tables and Matrices

Tables and matrices can be entered using the command Insert ► Table/Matrix. In the dialog box, specify the number of rows and columns. Press Tab to fill in successive entries.


Tables can also be entered directly from the keyboard.

add a columnCtrl+,
add a rowCtrl+Enter
move out of tableCtrl+Space

Editing in a table or matrix.

Type parentheses around a table to display it as a matrix.

You can use Grid to preserve or create a matrix structure in evaluations.

Special Characters

Every special character in Mathematica has a full name, such as \[Alpha]. Common characters also have short aliases using the Esc key.

full name
(differential operator)\[DifferentialD]EscddEsc

Special characters.

You can enter the character using the full name, \[Alpha]. Once the closing square bracket is typed, the character is substituted for the full name.


You can also enter a character using its Esc alias. EscbEsc is the alias for .


Esc appears on the screen as and disappears when the substitution occurs.

Certain special characters are replaced automatically without pressing the Esc key. For example, is converted to .

You can also use TeX names as aliases for special characters, such as Esc\inftyEsc.

You can get a list of all special characters by choosing Palettes ► Special Characters. The name of each character is displayed in a tooltip when the cursor is over the character.

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