Is there a way to combine derivatives that are a result from the product rule back together using Collect.

For example, I'd like to collect

x Dt[y,b] + y Dt[x,b]

back to

Dt[x y,b]

I can do this with a rule:

Rule = {x Dt[y,b] + y Dt[x,b] -> Dt[xy,b]};
x Dt[y,b] + y Dt[x,b]/.Rule

But this forces me to use a new variable: xy instead of the actual product of x and y. Moreover, I have many different rules to follow so typing all those out would be taxing. Has anyone else tried doing this and succeeded?

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    – user9660
    Mar 9, 2016 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Note that Rule is a built-in Protected symbol. You shouldn't/can't use it as a variable. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Mar 9, 2016 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comment. I don't actually call it "Rule" in my code but I know that Mathematica warns about protected names. $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2016 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


Dt, by its nature, will apply the derivative rules until it can't. You could make it Inactive.

rule = {x Dt[y, b] + y Dt[x, b] -> Inactive[Dt][x y, b]};
x Dt[y, b] + y Dt[x, b] /. rule
(*  Inactive[Dt][x y, b]  *)

Mathematica graphics

Some generic transformations:

With[{dt = Inactive[Dt]},
 byparts = # /. Plus[f_ dt[g_, v_], rest___] :> Simplify[dt[f g, v] + rest - g dt[f, v]] &;
 sum = # /. Plus[dt[f_, v_], dt[g_, v_], rest___] :> dt[f + g, v] + rest &;
pauseDt = Inactivate[#, Dt] &;


 Dt[x, b] + y Dt[x, b] + x Dt[y, b] // pauseDt,
 TransformationFunctions -> {byparts, sum, Automatic}]
(*  Inactive[Dt][x (1 + y), b]  *)


(*  Dt[x, b] + y Dt[x, b] + x Dt[y, b]  *)
  • $\begingroup$ This is really useful. Do you know if there is a way to also combine Dt[x,a] and Dt[y,a] into Dt[x+y,a] so that I might do x+y->z, for example. $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2016 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @LuisNegrete Can you not do it in the same way? You may find Inactivate[expr, Dt] and Activate[] helpful if you're dealing with complicated expressions. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Mar 9, 2016 at 17:45

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