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Can I do something like this:

$$\partial_t = D[f, t]$$

i.e. create a symbol instead of a function so that each time I call it, it executes the operation as defined?

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Yes. Look up the Notations package in the docs. – Mike Honeychurch Feb 13 '14 at 22:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

With the notation package something like this is easy. I would never use this by myself, because IMO such sugar can easily introduce bugs and undesired behavior if one is not cautious. I will paste a screenshot so that you see how I used the Notation` package, but first of all you have to load it:

<< Notation`

then you can use

Mathematica graphics

Testing it

Mathematica graphics


Mathematica graphics

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When I read this question, it seems to be asking for set-delayed. For example, say we want to calculate D[f[t],t] over and over but want to give it a name like q. Then

q := D[f[t], t]

does this. If you don't have f defined then


If f is defined, say

f[t_] := t^2
2 t
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Actually $\partial _t f[t]$ in Mathematica is interpreted as D[f[t],t] by default. You don't need to redefine it.

Considering $\partial _t = D[f,t]$ given by the OP is only an example of what the OP wants to do, I regard this question as a way to redefine the basic rules for the input of the expression. You can define the low-level input rules by using MakeExpression.

In this case, I try to define $\mathbb{D}_t f[t]$ as D[f[t],t] for better understanding.

MakeExpression[RowBox[{SubscriptBox["\[DoubleStruckCapitalD]", t_], f_}], StandardForm] :=
  MakeExpression[RowBox[{"D", "[", f, ",", t, "]"}], StandardForm]



You can use FullForm to check it:



For more details about Low-Level Input and Output Rules, pls read here.

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