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Revision as of 20:21, 31 July 2013 by Gareth.k.c.jones (talk | contribs) (Change <cmd> to {{cmd|)

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If you consider using ConTeXt for a paper with a proper formula numbering please wait until it is implemented in mkiv. At the moment only a very limited formula numbering is possilbe:

  • number formula(s) with a plain number
  • number formula(s) with a subnumber

Not possible is at the moment:

  • Table of formulas
  • Named subformulas
  • Mixure of formulas and subformulas in one block
  • Reference on a (sub-)formula without having it listed in the Table of formulas

For more details and actual state see mailing list and Summary of formula numbering problem.

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 kinds 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.

Display math mode


\startformula ... \stopformula

to get display math mode.

Inline math mode

There are four equivalent commands to get inline math mode:

$ ... $              % TeX style. Deprecated.
\m{ ... }            % one brief command
\math{ ... }         % two verbose commands
\mathematics{ ... }

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. See this My Way for how to 'translate' from amsmath syntax to ConTeXt syntax. LaTeX_Math_in_ConTeXt gives some brief ideas on how to get the LaTeX syntax to run in ConTeXt.

The details

Math symbols

Display Math

Math Fonts

See Math fonts for the main article about this subject.

Other Methods

  • 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.
  • Chemistry
  • There's a module for chemical structure formulae: PPCHTeX (works also with LaTeX).

Number Formatting

There's a special command, \digits, with its own manual about formatting numbers, see Pasting digits together

Evaluating expressions in ConTeXt

(i.e. doing math)