This is something that I've had in mind since long time ago, to have a MathJax tutorial for first time users.

Users that never have write using MathJax.

And instead of seeing the whole and giant page MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference, that honestly, well a first look at it it's overwhelming maybe?..

To see only a page where specifies math commands (say up to 10-15) that you commonly see in the first years like:

If you type $\int$ will display $\int$


and so on. This looks ugly, but it's just to clarify the idea:)

And after this, to tell them about the link MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I think that's a good idea, but perhaps this can be done in the MathJax basic tutorial, where we might want to order the "answers" to be presented in "most basic help for immediate use" ... to "more specific cases, special circumstances." But I agree with the emphasis on starting with the basics; some of which could vastly improve users capacity and willingness to try mathjax, and likely improve the outcome in terms of how their posts are received. Great idea! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:27
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    $\begingroup$ Often, the best thing to do around here is to just do it, and then see if it is positively received. Personally, I would like to the the "MathJax Tutorial" question turned into an actual question, with an index in the question, and links to the answers. If one of those answers were a guide for absolute beginners, coolio. Cleaning up the tutorial might be a more worthwhile project than creating something new. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ or also, kinda to split it. I don't have much time rn to point out examples but I've seen many many adavanced math symbols that you definitely don't see in the first year courses $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:30
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    $\begingroup$ There is some intro into MathJax on MO: How does one type mathematical formulas on this site? It is considerable shorter than the MathJax tutorial. If I check the comment template, it also links to basic help on mathjax notation, main meta site math tutorial and equation editing how-to. Is some of those closer to what you would like to see? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ The basics you are referring to is the question part of ` MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference` ... Although it looks overwhelming at first, it doesn't have anything "advanced" just at the beginning. Only when the user starts to scroll down, they are presented with tables/thermodynamic squares/etc. If you plan to reduce the size of the question itself, I think that wouldn't be an optimum approach. One thing that can be done is write the formatted text and ask the user to right click and check/copy the syntax. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Hi Martin. Kinda closer to your answer here meta.mathoverflow.net/a/3764 althought with less characters. For example I think one doesn't study matrices in the first math course. And 12,13 and 8 could not be included $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Now that I'm recalling, the first course is not calculus, or is it for some people? If not, then 10. neither $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ @allesia, yes a good number of freshman undergrads, though not the majority of them, begin with calculus I, II, or III, and, a few are even ready for DE or linear algebra as first year undergrads. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ The "MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference" is rather intimidating, IMHO, and slow to load. I feel a bit uncomfortable when I link it for new members (both here & on Physics), hoping that it doesn't scare them off. It would be great to have something that's more newbie-friendly. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ I like this idea very much. Most new users can benefit greatly from knowing the mathjax for just a few basic things, like integrals, vectors, limits, and infinity. $\endgroup$
    – Sigma
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Sigma Yes, that part I do agree with. Somebody should take responsibility and come up with a tutorial. I don't know where allesia(OP of this question) has gone, but I agree with her, and we have to make it work in a simpler fashion. Or, as Xander says, clean up the Mathjax Tutorial page, make it more of a tutorial than a question-and-answer type page. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ For single commands I think Detexify would fix it. Perhaps an example could help more. I did one taking the continuity definition. "Suppose you have... you want to write... then by following the pyramid... " $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Could we have a more prominent link to a tutorial from the Tour and from the Help page - maybe a help section on formatting? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet That would be helpful me thinks. Actually I find it somehow strange that a MathJax link is not mentioned in the Tour. Because essentially one uses it all the time. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ it's a great idea but nearly all who can program in almost any language like mathematica or is studying higher math already have the analytic skills to get up and going within 10 minutes even from an overwhelming tutorial like the one here. despite this i still think one is needed for the "liberal arts" majors. just kidding. o_~ $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


I think I want to highlight the point I made in a comment, hence an answer.

I think it would be a great help if there were MathJax links to useful resources in the various parts of the introduction to the site.

For example, it should be mentioned with a link in the tour - after all it is a key point for new users. And a link to MathJax resources should be included in the Help/FAQ part of the site.

  • $\begingroup$ In fact, there is a link in the help center: math.stackexchange.com/help/notation Probably it could be good to include this link in the helpful links section in the sidebar which is displayed when asking a question. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thank you - that is a great constructive comment. I am trying to think about this from a "new user" perspective - what do they most need to know? "Notation" is perhaps not the most accessible: "How to format your equations and formulae so they work on the site" or something similar might work better?? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, if you look at the help center, the title is: How can I format mathematics here? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Well I missed it. Someone has been doing a good job. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps this should be a request-post instead of an answer for the post. As Martin points out, yes, that'd be good too, to include the notation link to the sidebar. The notation link and not the complete tutorial because it's implicitly in the notation link, and looks way much more adequate for users that don't know MathJax. So in conclusion a prominent link in the Tour and in the sidebar $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Do you plan to bring this to a new post? I mean I think it's important. I could post it too. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ that's a great idea. we should not have to use google to find mathjax when youre already in steakexchage. that link should be prominently displayed on any steakexchangse community that accepts mathjax input. when i was new to mathematics community i could not find the link latex or tex which is what noobs would search for. it wasnt until i left the site to google latex that i found mathjax tutorial in math meta steakexchange. btw i didnt misspell stackexchnge. steakexahnge or steakhouse are my pet names for it. o_~ $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 21:58

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