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[?] Pasting numerical expressions into Input Cells?

Posted 4 years ago
11 Replies
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I would like to create a PasteButton that will paste the following expression into an existing Input Cell and display in the Input Cell with the 6 place precision while keeping the full underlying machine precision. From my efforts I suspect that this is not possible because the only way to obtain the shortened display is to paste an entire Output Cell..

expr = N[x/3 + 2 y/3]


0.333333 x + 0.666667 y

The following is just the simplest approach, which does not work. I haven't found any other approach that works either.

PasteButton["1/3", expr]

The resulting button pastes the following where the shorter form would be preferable.

0.3333333333333333` x+0.6666666666666666` y 

Does anyone know a way to specify a PasteButton that will paste the 6 place Output display into an Input Cell?

11 Replies



PasteButton["1/3", expr // OutputForm]

This will do what you want. It still has the full resolution -- evaluate the result and you can check that all the digits are still there by doing //FullForm.



Thanks Neil. That does paste into an Input Cell with the desired print precision but unfortunately I was deficient in my example. Suppose we have an expression with 2D Boxes such as:

expr = N[x^2/3 + 2 y^2/3]

Then we lose the regular StandardForm.

(Also the real numbers would come from a longer calculation and we couldn't just revert back to the rational expression.)

I can do it with Button but not PasteButton. Maybe this will help:

Button["1/3", CellPrint@ExpressionCell[expr, "Input", NumberMarks -> False]]

Thanks Michael.

The problem with this solution is that it prints an entirely new Input Cell and won't insert into an existing Input Cell.

But it gives me a suggestion. Perhaps one can insert a dummy expression into the existing cell, copy the entire cell and Replace the dummy expression and then rewrite the Cell in place. I don't exactly know how to do this yet but will see if I can do it.


Can you initially create the Input cell into which the code is pasted with the Cell option NumberMarks -> False? Or can you set the option after the pasting?

Or maybe you can do something with ButtonBoxOptionsButtonFunction. See CurrentValue[{StyleDefinitions, "Paste"}] for a hint.


You can slightly modify Michael's solution to do what you want including adding to the expression.

 ExpressionCell[expr, "Input", NumberMarks -> False]]


oops -- I just realized that this loses the extra precision that you wanted...

forget my last comment -- It does retain the digits -- I just mistyped the fullform...

I think this does what you want

 ExpressionCell[expr, "Input", NumberMarks -> False]]

Am I correct?

Hi Neil,

This seems closer:

PasteButton["1/3", Interpretation[ExpressionCell[expr, "Input", NumberMarks -> False], expr]]

But the contents of the embedded cell still cannot be edited (in either this or your solution).

Yes! Both of those solutions worked. An ExpressionCell in a longer expression seems to be something like an InlineCell in a Text Cell. In my StyleSheet I use a slight color on Input Cells and no color on Output Cells. When Neil's Input Cell is evaluated I obtain an Output Cell but the ExpressionCell has the Input coloring. Michael's formulation solves that minor problem.

A nice collaboration between two experts! Many thanks.

You can just use a Style wrapper instead of Interpretation + ExpressionCell:

PasteButton["1/3", Style[expr, StripOnInput -> True, NumberMarks -> False]]

Thanks Carl. That has one minor drawback. It pastes the expression in literally and not as a syntactic unit. Of course, the user could always type a set of parentheses before pasting but might often forget. If it was pasted after a 'z' in an existing Input Cell, the 'z' would only be associated with the first term in the expression. So I went to a box structure as follows.

expr = N[x/3 + 2 y/3]
 RawBoxes@StyleBox[RowBox[{"(", ToBoxes[expr], ")"}], 
   NumberMarks -> False]]

When this is pasted into an Input Cell that contains an initial 'z' we now obtain:

z (0.333333 x + 0.666667 y)

This maintains full machine precision in the notebook, but not in the posting. It is now also editable.

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