I'm constructing a function that gives me subindices in output.
The function is HAt.

For example:

HAt[u == u0, t -> 0]

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The function is constructed following:

HAt/:MakeBoxes[HAt[eq_, x_-> n_], StandardForm]:=
      RowBox[{"", ToBoxes[eq[[1]]], ")"}], 
      RowBox[{ToBoxes[x], "=", ToBoxes[n]}]], 
      RowBox[{"(", ToBoxes[eq[[2]]], ")"}], 

So, the problema is when the right-hand (or left-hand) of my equation is a number. For example, if I put:

HAt[u == 0, t -> 0]

enter image description here

But I want some like this:

enter image description here

I think the ideia is put some condition at eq[[2]] when this term is a numerical term, some like that:

HAt/:MakeBoxes[HAt[eq_, x_ -> n_] /; eq[[2]]_Numeric, StandardForm] := 
       RowBox[{ToBoxes[x], "=", ToBoxes[n]}]], 

But the above doesn't work. How do I write the condition I want to enforce correctly?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why not do this with PatternTest? Also Numeric isn't a thing... NumericQ is though. $\endgroup$
    – b3m2a1
    Jan 29, 2019 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Solved, thank you @b3m2a1 $\endgroup$
    – Mateus
    Jan 29, 2019 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


When playing with typesetting the most important thing is to keep your input unevaluated. In cases like Hold @ HAt[...] MakeBoxes won't know that Hold is there.

There are several things that can cause evaluation leaks:

  • ToBoxes[x] will evaluate x, use MakeBoxes

  • eq[[1]] will evaluate eq, use lhs_ == rhs_ to match your equations

  • ?NumericQ will evaluate as well as opposed to e.g. _Real but the latter is not general enough. Fortunately there is System`Dump`HeldNumericQ :)

Here is how I'd do this:

HAt // ClearAll;
HAt /: MakeBoxes[HAt[lhs_ == rhs_, x_ -> n_], fmt : StandardForm] := With[
  { subscript = SubscriptBox[RowBox[{"(", #, ")"}], RowBox[{MakeBoxes[x, fmt], "=", MakeBoxes[n, fmt]}]] &
, RowBox[{
    subscript @ MakeBoxes[lhs, fmt]
  , "\[Equal]"
  , If[System`Dump`HeldNumericQ[rhs], Identity, subscript] @ MakeBoxes[rhs, fmt]

enter image description here

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