is the lowlevel function used in Wolfram System sessions to convert expressions into boxes.


is the function to convert expr to StandardForm boxes.


  • MakeBoxes does not evaluate expr.
  • form can be StandardForm, TraditionalForm, or any other format represented using boxes.
  • You can give definitions for MakeBoxes[expr,form] to specify your own rules for how expressions should be converted to boxes. »
  • MakeBoxes is not automatically called on the results it generates. This means that explicit MakeBoxes calls must typically be inserted into definitions that are given.
  • If you change the output format for an expression by giving a definition for MakeBoxes, there is no guarantee that output you get will subsequently be able to be interpreted by the Wolfram Language.
  • Definitions you give for MakeBoxes will override builtin Wolfram Language rules for generating output.


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Basic Examples  (3)

Box representation of a polynomial:

Box representation of a graphic:

A special function in StandardForm and TraditionalForm:

Scope  (6)

Basic Objects  (2)

Integer, Rational, Real, and Complex numbers:

Arbitrary-precision Real and Complex numbers:

Special constants:

Characters and strings of characters:

Control characters for strings:

Special Input Forms  (4)

Box representations for various Power expressions:

Special typeset expressions:

Different list structures:

Inputs with subscripts, superscripts, etc.:

Applications  (1)

Define the formatting for a function:

Properties & Relations  (3)

MakeBoxes does not evaluate expr, while ToBoxes does:

Use MakeExpression to obtain the original expression in a held form:

MakeBoxes uses formatting rules added via Format:

Add formatting for bin:

Introduced in 1996
Updated in 2007