I understand that the feature to render TeX in between Markdown/HTML using the \$ as delimiters was disabled, or the powers that be decided not to adopt it because of the meta aspect of it, that people would want the actual code to be shown, if not more, then at least as often as how it would render. But does that mean using your own solution to generate an image and uploading it is the only way to include a rendering on the TeX SE? I would have thought an alternative way to denote notation that is meant to be rendered vs displayed as is in a code block would be here, out of all places, but so far it doesn't seem to be the case? Or is there?

And if it's not, I imagine I'm not the first person to bring this up, so does that mean there is a deeper issue that prevents some feature like e.g. a toggle/spoiler type "render tex" option being implemented on a single SE only? Obviously it can be turned off for one. Or am I part of an extremely small group who had such expectations?

  • Also: tex.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2781/…
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 22, 2020 at 15:52
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    It's not disabled to force you to show source code, but to force you to show tex output (via an image) not javascript output (mathjax) if a way was provided to show tex rendering it would not be an issue, Apr 22, 2020 at 20:12
  • @AlanMunn Thanks, I had seen the first question, and that's where I learned about the rationale that it would be more common for people to show the relevant code/notation when asking questions about the language itself, but I thought it was forgoing a useful feature for a reason that could be worked around. I think I am in the minority to think that it is a useful feature, I originally had a question about LaTeX usage on stack exchange itself. Apr 23, 2020 at 3:35
  • @DavidCarlisle wouldn't it be time to lobby for something like that with SE then? After all C++/C programmers can "godbolt the code" and share a link to state exactly what's wrong ... could Overleaf (or similar sites) be an option? This isn't a one-size-fits all approach, I get that (version differences of packages or LaTeX engines may be relevant), but I have to admit I also found it a bit tedious to create my output, open it and take a screenshot or use something like this when it's fully possible these days to improve this workflow?! Apr 23, 2020 at 16:18
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    I don't see why it's tedious (and I guess I have posted more answers than anyone other than egreg) for questions or answers you have hopefully tried it locally first and thse days in most operating systems you can select a region from your viewer and past it into the post without explicitly taking a screenshot or dealing with image files. and it would be a big ask for stackexchange to maintain an onlive tex installation generating images on demand. Apr 23, 2020 at 16:21
  • the link you give is very old there is no need to take a full screen screenshot or upload an explicitly generated png file these days Apr 23, 2020 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


This issue has been raised several times, and the central concern remains the same. When people need to show what they are seeing from TeX, we all need to see exactly what they see. Using some installed TeX system would run the risk of different package versions, etc., which might impact on the situation.

More broadly, it's only in a minority of cases that TeX output needs to be shown to ask questions. So there is a question of 'message': lots of typeset snippets wouldn't really add to the overall site quality.

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    Minority opinion here. While it is absolutely counterproductive to use MathJax to render math as done on other StackExchange sites, and problematic input must be seen exactly as an OP sees it, in many cases it is helpful to see the (erroneous) output that results in order to decide whether to try to answer a question. And for the answers to such questions it is more helpful to someone looking for an answer later to see the proposed corrected output when trying to decide whether the answer is relevant to a new problem. Apr 22, 2020 at 12:51
  • Ah okay, I think I understand. So in the edge case that I want to ask about LaTeX usage specifically on stack exchange websites, would such a question be appropriate on the tex se, or this meta? (I feel it would be somewhat out of place on both) And I suppose I could take a screenshot of the draft preview as a rendering if I needed it? Apr 23, 2020 at 3:28
  • @user3052786 No, "LaTeX on stackexchange websites" is not LaTeX, but MathJax, which uses a LaTeX-like syntax, but is not actually TeX. So these questions are off topic on the site, generally.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 23, 2020 at 4:48

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