I recently tried Wolfram Mathematica, and I was amazed at the amount of detail I can accomplish in math notation, the thing is that Mathematica is paid, and the only thing that can read the .nb files created is Mathematica itself (leaving little to zero possibility to other people to see the files). So I really would like to have a text editor capable of writing math notation (for example \sigma -> greek letter sigma) and the ability to make certain text bold or italic (or both) with crtl+b or similar commands.

I know it is a difficult question, but I only hope to find something...

  • What operating system are you using, and can it be paid software that you can share read-only files?
    – DankyNanky
    Sep 12 '20 at 1:48
  • @DankyNanky I use both Linux (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) and Windows 10. And it doesn't matter if it's paid, the only inconvenience would be if the files are only for the program itself, so if the program generates common file extensions that is the one. Sep 13 '20 at 20:15
  • Do you want "what you see is what you get" behavior, or do you want flexible, reliable printing with many alternatives?
    – knb
    Oct 25 '20 at 22:29

I would suggest installing Python 3 if your machine doesn't already have it which is completely free and available for anything from a Rasberry Pi through Super Computing Clusters, (including Windows, Linux & OS-X machines).

Once you have installed it you can install Jupyter and NBConvert with their dependencies by typing at the command prompt:

pip install jupyter notebook nbconvert

You will then be able to run in your browser a Jupyter session, with the command jupyter notebook

This will allow you to create markdown cells with text marked as bold &/or italic plus formulas (in MathJax syntax) as needed. Editing in Jupyter This can then be rendered in the browser with the run command: Rendered

This can be shared as Jupyer notebooks or in a number of formats many of them very accessible: Export command

You can find a nice selection of examples of formula formatting in the Jupyter Manuals

Of course you will also be able to do a lot more & it is worth reading up on Jupyter {book} which lets you produce publication quality books, (including formulea, etc.), by using the power of markdown from within a simple text editor.

An example maths block:

\int_0^\infty \frac{x^3}{e^x-1}\,dx = \frac{\pi^4}{15}

Renders as: Rendered

All of the software mentioned above is:

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform
  • On Nonrestrictive Licenses

Note that there are number of editors, such as Atom & VS-Code which, via extensions also allow you to use Markdown with MathJax and give a non-browser interface.

  • 1
    Thank you so much for your response, you are kindness in it's purest state. I will definitively try Jupyter! Sep 13 '20 at 20:17

LibreOffice (and I assume OpenOffice as well) contain a formula editor Math. I have successfully used it in the past to render math formulas.

It has its own syntax, and uses .odf file format, not plaintext. Still, if you happen to already be using LibreOffice, be aware you already have a formula editor installed.

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