I'm trying to create a notebook where a user can enter a Mathematica expression, and its syntax is analyzed (number of tokens, compressed size, etc.).

Trying this answer,

  Row[{"This is an inline cell with automatic syntax highlighting: ", 
    ExpressionCell[Dynamic@input, "Notebook", "Input", 
     CellFrame -> True]}], "Text"]

the Dynamic doesn't update input. If I make an InputField inside the ExpressionCell the syntax highlighting doesn't apply, even if I change the BaseStyle. How can I get both dynamic behavior and syntax highlighting?


1 Answer 1


Here is what you can do:

x = ToBoxes@Defer@Plot[x, {x, 0, 1}];

InputField[Dynamic[x], Boxes, 
 BaseStyle -> {"Notebook", "Input", ShowCodeAssist -> True, ShowSyntaxStyles -> True}

Dynamic@MakeExpression[StripBoxes[x], StandardForm]

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ If I add whitespace inside that field, MakeExpression fails and generates ErrorBoxes; this is frustrating because the user cannot paste in input or add whitespace. Is there a way around that? $\endgroup$
    – lirtosiast
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 5:54
  • $\begingroup$ @lirtosiast I added StripBoxes to be less strict about the content. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 6:24

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