# How to stop Mathematica from deriving index? [duplicate]

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If I have two variables $$k, k_x$$ with $$k_x\neq f(k)$$, it is obvious that $$\frac{\partial k_x}{\partial k}=0$$ In Mathematica, I need the Subscript[] function to implement is derivative in an aesthetic way: This leads to the issue seen above. How to get rid of Mathematica's interpretation of the Subscript[] function - considering it to be a mathematical function that has to be derived too but as a "stylistic device"?

PS: The desired solution should be $$=0$$.

## marked as duplicate by Daniel Lichtblau, Szabolcs, MarcoB, m_goldberg, Community♦May 29 at 6:01

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

• TIP: never use Subscripts. – AccidentalFourierTransform May 27 at 15:01
• Haha, thanks. But I want to use TeXForm for LaTeX output and therefore, It would be very comfortable to have it already in the right style/form. Subscripts are well translated into LaTeX subscripts. However, can you help me with that? – Kutsubato May 27 at 15:08
• – kglr May 27 at 15:10
• @Kutsubato Do all your calculations without subscripts, and substitute them back only at the very end, when exporting them to latex. – AccidentalFourierTransform May 27 at 15:16
• I wouldn't say never use Subscript ... but if you do use Subscript[a,b] then do not use a and b separately. This will eventually lead to problems. – Szabolcs May 27 at 19:02

## 2 Answers

This can be solved by applying custom formatting to kx rather than using Subscript:

kx /: MakeBoxes[kx, TraditionalForm | StandardForm] := SubscriptBox["k", "x"];


Then kx will be output as $$k_x$$, and the derivative will be correct:

D[kx, k]


0

Would highly recommend looking at TagSet (/:) and MakeBoxes in the documentation for further information.

Due to the TraditionalForm used in the MakeBoxes pattern, this will also work with TeXForm:

TeXForm[kx]


k_x

@Roman also suggested Format as an alternative, so to provide some clarification there:

Format[kx] := Subscript[k, x];


By assigning Format[_], the output format of _ can be changed. It's a bit less excessively low-level, as Roman comments. In my own personal experience with Mathematica, it's almost a bit less intuitive, but your mileage will vary. This also works properly with TeXForm.

Regarding OverDot, that is also possible in these cases. For example, with v:

Format[v] := OverDot[v];


Or:

v /: MakeBoxes[v, TraditionalForm | StandardForm] := OverscriptBox["v", "."];

• Thank you. That should work for pretty much all cases! – Kutsubato May 27 at 15:21
• Is there an equivalent for the OverDot function? – Kutsubato May 27 at 15:30
• I find assigning values to Format a bit less low-level than tag-setting MakeBoxes. – Roman May 27 at 15:36
• @Roman TRUE! I looked it up and it works for me as well. Furthermore, it covers solutions for my problem with other operators like OverDot. Thanks to all of you. – Kutsubato May 27 at 15:55
• @Roman Fair. I'm just personally more familiar with the super low-level way of doing things, so thanks for the note. @Kutsubato I included an implementation for OverDot with MakeBoxes as well. MakeBoxes is quite powerful, but definitely somewhat trickier to use. Format should handle 99% of normal formatting needs, for sure. – eyorble May 27 at 16:42

Thanks to all contributions. According to @Roman, the use of Format is possible as well. I did it like this and it worked:

Format[cv] := Subscript[c, v];
Format[lv] := Subscript[l, v];
Format[Jz] := Subscript[J, z];
Format[beta] := \[Beta];
Format[psidot] := OverDot[\[Psi]];


This is my preamble - so it comes right before all other code. In the end, after I have applied calculations to the variables inside the Format function, I can use TeXForm to turn them into LaTeX code and in this code, my format options are already applied.