Below is the Example with $x^2$ as it appears in the browser correctly after considerable time. More complicated question texts often do not render at all correctly.

Example: $$ x^2 $$

The code for the Example above is:


Below is the screenshot when the problem occurs:

Image Picture of Failed Math Rendering

It can take a lot of time to render, like in the example rendered after approximately 30 seconds. In some more involved cases the math does not render at all.

Also rendering from copied separate tabs does not work for some questions.

Surprisingly enough, even after pressing "Review Your Question" this MathJax difficulty can persist. I know of workarounds to it, but they are not convenient since the question can only be previewed in the same window that is used to edit.

Surprisingly enough, answers do not usually show the same MathJax rendering difficulty.

Is there a cleaner solution to this rendering difficulty, or what can be done?

Update: from feedback in the comments, I added the below additional information about the browser:

Opera Version

  • $\begingroup$ You need to say what browser you're using, or device, which Math Renderer you are using (see the Math Settings submenu in the Mathjax popup menu), and everything else you can think of that's relevant. Just saying "it isn't working" doesn't give folks much to go on. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 8:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Phipps: I updated the browser information; thank you for your request of the additional information. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Phipps: I am having trouble finding the Math Settings submenu in the Mathjax popup menu. I do not a MathJax popup. Where is it located? When does it pop up? Could you provide more specifics please so that I might address your question. Thank you in advance. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ On a PC, if you put the mouse over some rendered Mathjax and right-click you get a popup menu with several submenus. I don't know if it's possible on a smartphone/tablet etc. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ See math.meta.stackexchange.com/a/30860/42969 for how to access tha MathJax convext menu and change the renderer on various devices. $\endgroup$
    – Martin R
    Apr 16 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Phipps: What Settings should it be? Right now $X^2$ is rendering fine (after a long time), but when I started it did not, and I did not change any settings. "HTML-CSS "and "Fast-Preview" are the current settings. What should they be? $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 12:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Things might significantly improve once the MathJax version is bumped to v4 as the currently used v2 is intrinsically defected regarding asynchronous processing. $\endgroup$ Apr 16 at 23:53

2 Answers 2


I think everyone here has had the preview fail to render MathJax from time to time, or just take a very long time.

Me, I just go ahead and submit. I've never had a posted question or answer fail to render. (I think preview and posted text rendering go by slightly different paths.) Yeah, it's a bit of a pain, and I end up having to fix more errors with edits without being able to see a preview, but I think it's considered okay to have a batch of edits on the first few minutes after posting.

Plus, I mean, the site is free, and I'd rather have less-than-100%-reliable LaTeX than none at all.

  • $\begingroup$ The problem with selecting submit is that the Question may not be complete, and it can receive negative votes because it is not complete. (Also Stack Exchange Electronics Questions have a similar problem with question drafts (they use \\$ x^2 \\$ ). Only upon submit does it render there fine. Review the question needs to work properly; if it does not, then it is hard to review the Question before submitting it and exposing it to negative vote feedback because of formatting errors. Also, for new users, this can be a surprise resulting in them sending picture screenshots of their math. $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ Just one other comment. The moderators have sent me feedback when I first started that I was pressing submit too many times for my questions leading to them being posted at the top of the list of questions, which the moderators discouraged. There are some sites that I have not updated for over a month because of this negative feedback that I had received. I want to also avoid this problem for the site administrators to avoid pauses in updates by previewing using an alternative to saving multiple times. I try now to save just once, when the question is complete. And then, again for typos. $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 7:15

I don't know if this will work for everyone but when I've had trouble rendering on main, copying and pasting into one of the answers in the sandbox on meta has rendered correctly (typos permitting) and quickly.

  • $\begingroup$ The difficulty with the sandbox seems to be that http://www.stackprinter.com needed to properly print the Question or Answer. I am not sure that the sandbox is available even there, and I expect that even if it is, that it does not work cleanly there. I think you are hinting on something as I see as a possible workaround to the issue. But I am looking for a solution better than the one that is in my head now. Because the solution in my head right now is somewhat complicated and also might be somewhat controversial. I am giving your answer the up-vote! $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Also @PeterPhipps, one thing that I usually do when this happens is I reload the "Ask Question" page a bunch of times until I see that math renders correctly, which can be done quickly with just typing $f$ or $r$. $\endgroup$
    – CrSb0001
    Apr 17 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ @CrSb0001: what do you mean about $f$ or $r$. Do you just press the f or or r keys, or do the dollar signs in your comment mean something special? $\endgroup$ Apr 18 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenElliott I just press the f or r key, there's nothing really that special about it. It's mostly because it's closer to the $ key. $\endgroup$
    – CrSb0001
    Apr 18 at 13:37

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