TeX was designed for ease of typesetting books that contained mathematics. As ConTeXt is built on top of TeX, it inherits all those features. In addition to these, ConTeXt adds lot of macros to make the typesetting of mathematics easier.
There are two kind of math modes --- inline math and display math. Mathematical expressions that are written with the running text are called inline math; while mathematical expressions that break the flow of the text (such as formulas or equations) are called display math. TeX takes care of proper spacing around expressions and provides macros to typeset most mathematical constructs. Complicated expressions can be built by working in steps---break down the expression into sub-expressions, build the sub-expressions and then combine them to get the complicated expression.
The basics of typesetting math in ConTeXt is explained here.
Note to Plain TeX Users
ConTeXt is plain TeX compatible. So, if you have any old document written in plain TeX, it will work with ConTeXt. This does not mean that you will get pixel by pixel identical output with ConTeXt. For inline math, everything that you learnt for plain TeX is also true for ConTeXt. However, display math is significantly different. Do not use
$$ .... $$ to write display math formulas in ConTeXt, since you will not get the correct spacing around the formulas. Instead use
\startformula ... \stopformula
See Math/Display for more details on how to use display math in ConTeXt.
Note to AMSTeX/LaTeX Users
ConTeXt offers almost all the features that are present in AMSTeX and LaTeX. However, ConTeXt syntax is different. LaTeX_Math_in_ConTeXt gives some brief ideas on how to get the LaTeX syntax to run in ConTeXt.
- How to input math (binary relations, greek letters, subscripts and superscripts)
- underbrace, overbrace
- Fractions, Binomials, genfrac, continued fractions.
- Delimiters (big, bigg, left, middle, right)
- Integrals and Sums
- (Log like) functions
- cases, matrices, bordermatrix
- Arrows (see Math Arrows)
- Bold Math
- Euler in ConTeXt (using Euler math font) by Adam Lindsay
- Rsfs Using Ralph Smith's Formal Script
- Doublestroke Using Double Stroke Font
- Product integral symbol
- There are two different math modules on CTAN, nath and amsl. And there's a new math module in the distribution.
- Context now has inbuilt support for Multiline equations
- It is also possible to use most LaTeX equations in ConTeXt with a relatively small set of supporting definitions.
- The "native" ConTeXt way of math is MathML, an application of XML - rather verbose but mighty.
- Esp. for physics there’s the units module.
- Additions to MathML are PhysML and ChemML.
- There's a module for chemical structure formulae: PPCHTeX (works also with LaTeX).