Math input methods

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at
Wed Jun 4 08:00:20 CDT 2014

2014-06-04 15:32, Hans Aberg wrote under Subject: Re: Swift:

> On 4 Jun 2014, at 13:58, Leonardo Boiko <leoboiko at>
> wrote:
>> I don't think this feature saw much use, since programmers in a
>> global world can't assume that everyone will have easy access to
>> their input methods, and so tend to restrict code tokens to the
>> ASCII set to encourage participation.
> Indeed, the lack of good input methods limits the usability of the
> math characters, which other may be very useful in programming
> languages. One way is to add shortcut translations, like typing
> “real” translates into ℝ (U+211D), but they must be added by hand.

If you are interested in math input methods, take a look at my design of 
math keyboard layout for use on normal US keyboard:

Input issues can be handled at many levels, including program-specific 
translations, but doing them at keyboard level has obvious advantages 
(and some problems).

As an aside, the ISO 80000-2 standard on mathematical notations 
describes boldface letters such as boldface R as symbols for commonly 
known sets of numbers. The double-struck letters like ℝ as mentioned as 
an alternative way, whereas in the previous standard, these notations 
were presented the other way around. The change is logical in the sense 
that bold face is a more original notation and double-struck letters as 
characters imitate the imitation of boldface letters when writing by 
hand (with a pen or piece of chalk).


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