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What keys need to press to type a dot (to be interpreted as multiplication)

GROUPS:

edited to add: the keys needed to type a dot are esc-.-esc, but I still haven't found the documentation to that effect. Maybe I will write a program to record my long and frustrating travels through the Wolfram documentation.

Here is how not to find the answer: Start by typing esc-d-o-t; give up on that. Now go to the front page of the Documentation Center. Search "Dot". After realizing you have made another mistake, go back to the front page of the Documentation Center. Press random links until you find yourself on "Wolfram Language Syntax". Then you see "Mathematics & Operators", in orange, and under that you see a "+' and a "*" but not dot. Another dead end, or is it, because things in orange might be hyperlink, or they might not, and you won't know unless you take a gamble and try. Click it. Nothing. Lost the gamble. 20 more minutes killed, no dot, and no math done. When I was a kid, we would just push the #2 pencil into a piece of paper, and the dot would happen.

My little latex paper I'm writing has an index on the last page of all mathematical symbols used in the paper, scan the index, see a symbol, the index tells you what page the symbol is defined on, with a hyperlink to the definition....

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

All of which is a pretty good indication that dots will not be readily used for multiplication. One can, however, give a definition to CenterDot.

CenterDot[a__]:=Times[a]

Examples:

In[1]:= CenterDot[a, 3, r, 5]

Out[1]= 15 a r

In[2]:= a\[CenterDot]3\[CenterDot]r\[CenterDot]5

Out[2]= 15 a r

In StandardForm the infix variant looks much nicer of course.

POSTED BY: Daniel Lichtblau
Answer
1 month ago

Thanks. I apologize for an accidentally misleading aspect to the title: In fact I want this only for a formula to be displayed and interpreted by the human reader, but not evaluated by Mathematica. Are there any keys I can press on my keyboard to make a center dot appear on my screen? How would a talented user find the answer in the documentation?

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

One can do <esc>.<esc> and this can be found under Details in the CenterDot ref guide page, or by squinting at the Special Characters palette after locating and mousing over the center dot button.

I would expect most users to find this more readily via the first approach (which I only thought of after going the second route).

POSTED BY: Daniel Lichtblau
Answer
1 month ago

Thank you. I was going to ask whether there's an list of all typesetting-symbols in Mathematica? CenterDot and every other thing like it, whether it has built-in meaning or not? Then I followed the link at the bottom of the CenterDot page to an "Operators without Built-in Meanings" tutorial, but it turns out that tutorial doesn't even mention CenterDot, so that would have been another unfruitful approach to the answer (not that I had a clue how to find that tutorial in the first place, without knowing first that something called 'CenterDot' was somehow involved).

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

See "guide/ListingOfNamedCharacters" in the documentation center.

POSTED BY: John Doty
Answer
1 month ago

Thank you, that page is helpful. I wonder how I was supposed to find it from the front page of the Documentation Center.

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

...list of all typesetting-symbols in Mathematica...

Another way to discover typesetting symbols is through the menu Palettes > Writing Assistant; then explore the Typesetting frame. There are five panes. The center-dot can be found by clicking the button with the multiplication x symbol (cross). Also, you could click on the button titled "All Special Symbols and Characters" and explore them.

The tutorial guide Mathematical and Other Notation gives another.

The guide Listing of Named Characters gives a list of the special characters organized alphabetically according to Mathematica's naming conventions. Not always the easiest thing to use, but good for searching when you know part of the name.

POSTED BY: Michael Rogers
Answer
1 month ago

Thank you very much. A straight list of symbols is more convenient for me than the alternatives.

I just tried to find a path to those pages from the front page of the documentation center, but I ran into a dead end when I tried "Documentations & Presentation -> Mathematical Typesetting". No keyboard-shortcut to back out of the dead end in the Mathematica documentation browser; alt-left does it in every browser in the world except this one. Even easier in unix info, just press '[' or 'l'. Mathematica wants me to use the mouse, because it knows every time I use the mouse, it can throw up a popup tooltip thing to block what I was about to click so instead I click on the unwanted tooltip and get sent to somewhere unwanted altogether.

I also see that Neil Singer had already showed me that page several days ago, in this other thread. I guess I lack the mental capacity to memorize unordered sets of page-addresses, I am reliant on ordered table of contents to make good use of Wolfram's product. I got used to tables of contents because writers for thousands of years have been putting tables of contents first thing in books, course syllabi, and the Unix info program.

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

I guess I lack the mental capacity to memorize unordered sets of page-addresses,

You don't have to, that's what we have computers for :-)

I got used to tables of contents because writers for thousands of years have been putting tables of contents first thing in books, course syllabi, and the Unix info program.

Why not use the modern equivalent of a table of contents? The Wolfram Language documentation is online, and easily searchable there. The top three results for "typeset dot mathematica" should answer all the questions in the OP:

https://www.google.com/search?q=typeset+dot+mathematica&oq=typeset+dot+mathematica

Specifically, the answer to the question in the title of this post is front and center in the first result.

POSTED BY: Jason Biggs
Answer
1 month ago

Why not use the modern equivalent of a table of contents?

Because the modernization process removed features important to my productivity: mouse-free operation and a 1.5 dimensional table of contents whose entirety I can scan visually with the page-up / page-down, over time building memory-association between points in the 1.5 dimensional image and Mathematica-concepts. Billions of years of human evolution has made my memory reliant on visualization, so I need a billion years to evolve to the point where I find orderless graphs as convenient as traditional TOC in the form of 2-dimensional image. For me, the goal isn't to be modern, it is just to be productive.

Same reason I don't use a modern editor, I use emacs, from which I sail through the docs for many programming languages without ever removing the palms of my hands from their resting position on the keyboard. It has see-also links but it also has table of contents, so it's not been modernized.

POSTED BY: Joe Donaldson
Answer
1 month ago

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