MATHEMATICA TUTORIAL

Named Characters

Mathematica provides systemwide support for a large number of special characters. Each character has a name and a number of shortcut aliases. They are fully supported by the standard Mathematica fonts.

Interpretation of Characters

The interpretations given here are those used in StandardForm and InputForm. Most of the interpretations also work in TraditionalForm.

You can override the interpretations by giving your own rules for MakeExpression.

Letters and letter-like formsused in symbol names
Infix operatorse.g.
Prefix operatorse.g.
Postfix operatorse.g.
Matchfix operatorse.g.
Compound operatorse.g.
Raw operatorsoperator characters that can be typed on an ordinary keyboard
Spacing charactersinterpreted in the same way as an ordinary space
Structural elementscharacters used to specify structure; usually ignored in interpretation
Uninterpretable elementscharacters indicating missing information

Types of characters.

The precedences of operators are given in "Operator Input Forms".

Infix operators for which no grouping is specified in the listing are interpreted so that for example becomes CirclePlus[x, y, z].

Naming Conventions

Characters that correspond to built-in Mathematica functions typically have names corresponding to those functions. Other characters typically have names that are as generic as possible.

Characters with different names almost always look at least slightly different.

\[Capital...]uppercase form of a letter
\[Left...] and \[Right...]pieces of a matchfix operator (also arrows)
\[Raw...]a printable ASCII character
\[...Indicator]a visual representation of a keyboard character

Some special classes of characters.

style, , etc.
variation, Gray, etc.
case, etc.
modifiersNot, , , etc.
directionLeft, , , etc.
base, , Plus, etc.
diacritical mark, , etc.

Typical ordering of elements in character names.

Aliases

Mathematica supports both its own system of aliases, as well as aliases based on character names in TeX and SGML or HTML. Except where they conflict, character names corresponding to plain TeX, LaTeX and AMSTeX are all supported. Note that TeX and SGML or HTML aliases are not given explicitly in the list of characters below.

EscxxxEscordinary Mathematica alias
Esc\xxxEscTeX alias
Esc&xxxEscSGML or HTML alias

Types of aliases.

The following general conventions are used for all aliases:

  • Characters that are alternatives to standard keyboard operators use these operators as their aliases (e.g. Esc->Esc for , Esc&&Esc for ).
  • Most single-letter aliases stand for Greek letters.
  • Capital-letter characters have aliases beginning with capital letters.
  • When there is ambiguity in the assignment of aliases, a space is inserted at the beginning of the alias for the less common character (e.g. Esc->Esc for \[Rule] and Esc->Esc for \[RightArrow]).
  • is inserted at the beginning of the alias for a Not character.
  • TeX aliases begin with a backslash \.
  • SGML aliases begin with an ampersand .
  • User-defined aliases conventionally begin with a dot or comma.
  • Font Matching

    The special fonts provided with Mathematica include all the characters given in this listing. Some of these characters also appear in certain ordinary text fonts.

    When rendering text in a particular font, the Mathematica notebook front end will use all the characters available in that font. It will use the special Mathematica fonts only for other characters.

    A choice is made between Times-like, Helvetica-like (sans serif) and Courier-like (monospaced) variants to achieve the best matching with the ordinary text font in use.

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