I have a mathematical exercise written in LaTeX and it seems ugly to me. It is ok to ask what would be the best (and most beautiful) way to typeset it?

The exercise in question is the following:

enter image description here

\usepackage[top=0.7in, bottom=1.2in, left=0.8in, right=0.8in]{geometry}
\setmainfont[Ligatures=TeX, Extension=.otf, UprightFont=*, BoldFont=*Bold, ItalicFont=*It, BoldItalicFont=*BoldIt, Mapping=tex-text]{GFSArtemisia}



  &\frac{d H}{d p}= -(1-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+\epsilon)\log(p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p+\epsilon)-a\cdot \log(a)-\\
  &(1-p+2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)\log (1-p+2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)=\\
  &=-(1-e\cdot \epsilon-a)\log(p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p+\epsilon)-\\
  &(1-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p)\cdot\frac{1}{-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p+\epsilon}\cdot (1-2\cdot \epsilon-a)-\\
  &(-1+2\cdot \epsilon+a)\log(1-p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)-\\
  &(1-p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)\cdot \frac{1}{1-p+2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p- \epsilon-a}\cdot (-1+2\cdot \epsilon+a)=\\
  &-(1-2\cdot \epsilon -a)\log(p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p+\epsilon)-(1-2\cdot \epsilon-a)-\\
  &(-1+2\cdot \epsilon+a)\log(1-p+2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)-(-1+2\cdot \epsilon+a)=\\
  &-(1-2\cdot \epsilon-a)[\log(p-2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p-a\cdot p+\epsilon)+\log(1-p+2\cdot \epsilon\cdot p+a\cdot p-\epsilon-a)]

  • 1
    it's OK to ask, but on main not on meta. Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:53
  • @DavidCarlisle of course on main I just post the code as I wanted to explain what was about because it isn't directly a question about LaTeX. Thank you though.
    – Adam
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:55
  • 1
    It's sort of borderline as a purely design question such as "what notation for.." is off topic but this I think is near enough a question about tex markup to be on topic. Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:58
  • @DavidCarlisle my thoughts exactly! :P
    – Adam
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:59
  • 2
    Typography is off-topic here, so is the question for beauty as Werner pointed out. We have so many questions of that kind on site, many get improvements without even asking. Rephrasing the question will certainly give you better results. And of course, there is also the chat room where some real mathematicians with experience are. They can always give some advice.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 9:17
  • 5
    Non-TeX typography is off-topic. The rest is ontopic. We have a lot of 50+ voted questions on the site.
    – percusse
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 13:01
  • In terms of readability, I'd suggest defining something like $H = 1 - 2 \epsilon - a$ at the top of the exercise, and then using that throughout. It shortens it quite considerably.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


Phrasing a question to request a "best way" to typeset something is subjective, since "best" for me is different from "best" for someone else, in my opinion. This goes for the actual code or the rendered output. The same goes for something that "looks ugly" as beauty is in the eye of the be(er)holder. Therefore I typically associate such questions as being "primarily opinion-based" - one of the suggested reasons for closure:

enter image description here

I would much rather see someone show something they consider "ugly" and then also show what they've done to suggest a "more beautiful" presentation as opposed to purely making a "this looks ugly; make it look better" request. That may point solutions into a specific direction and be more focussed and perhaps factual.

  • Haha be(er)holder nice one! So your opinion is that I should phrase it differently or not asking it at all?
    – Adam
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:38
  • @Adam: Phrase it differently. If it's purely a "this looks ugly; make it look better" request, then I'd suggest visiting the chat room and discussing it there.
    – Werner Mod
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:40
  • 1
    Ok thanks! What do you think about "What would be a correct way according to the rules of typography"?
    – Adam
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:43
  • @Adam: No, since there are no rules when it comes to beauty not would a request for "correctness" be any better, as answers may suggest "more correct" ways than others. At least this goes to show that it's not always easy to ask a question, let alone a good one.
    – Werner Mod
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:59
  • This is too late, but I disagree that this question is about subjective beauty. To me, I understood this as: how to make long equations easily readable and more comprehensible.
    – jak123
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 6:22
  • @jak123: ...isn't that similarly subjective?
    – Werner Mod
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 6:37
  • @Werner To a certain degree yes, but not similarly to an extent that it warrants an opinion-based tag. IMHO at least :)
    – jak123
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 7:18

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