Let's say that I have a polynomial like this:

a + b + c

Is there any way that I can get Mathematica to transform it to:

a*(1 + b/a + c/a)

I found such a manipulation on polynomials very common when deducing equations by hand; however, I have been trying all day and still can not figure out how to make Mathematica do this automatically.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does tst = a + b + c; a Expand[tst/a] not do what you want? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ Oh my god it's so simple. I'm all hooked up on functions like Collect and stuff. Now I just feel stupid. Any way, thanks for this solution. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


You can try a pattern matching approach (for a bit more advanced users) e.g. :

(a + b + c) /. Plus[c___, x_, b___] :> a Expand[Plus[c, x/a, b]]
a (1 + b/a + c/a)

or simpler :

(a + b + c) /. Plus[x___] :>  a Expand[Plus[x/a]]
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this is actually a better idea. It can be used on the manipulation of complicated expressions. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 12:05

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