[OS X TeX] Equation full of Brackets

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Tue Jul 3 23:47:32 CEST 2007

On Jul 3, 2007, at 23:14, Richard J Benish wrote:

> What's the best way to get a complicated equation, full of  
> fractions, square roots and such right the first time?
> I have a 1988 HP calculator with about 1k of memory into which I  
> can enter this kind of equation and if I miss a bracket it takes me  
> right to the spot. Piece of cake. Not so Tex.

TeX itself has no facilities for editing, it merely detects something  

> What I do is take a screen shot, print it, get out about 7  
> different color highlighters, make myself a cup of tea and study  
> the thing. This still usually fails the first attempt.
> Surely being a Tex user doesn't mean that I'm supposed to get USED  
> to this? Does it? Are there any plans to make the program  
> friendlier for this task? Should I have to use real (hard and wet)  
> highlighters when they could be built into the program?

Experience makes this easier over time. An Editor can help, the  
BBEdit/TextWrangler "Balance" command is a godsend in that respect. I  
start from an item that I know should an innermost level, and grow  
the balanced braces, until I end with a building block at the top  
level of the equation. Another thing I do is not to use the automagic  
braces for ^, _ etc, as I'm used to typing those myself when needed,  
and I usually forget to move out of them, leading to brace errors.  
The Alpha method of using bullets and tabs in templates to move  
around might be helpful here. YMMV.

But concentration, indenting, line breaks are key to getting it right.


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