I'm starting to learn Mathematica, and in the book that I'm reading the author presented the commands Simplify and Expand. Now, the example in the book was the following:

Simplify[(x^3 - y^3)/(x - y)]

In the above form , evaluation works and outputs

x^2 + x y + y^2

The problem is, when I use the typesetting notation, the function doesn't work:

Simplify[$\frac{x^3 - y^3}{x-y}$]

The above command outputs $\frac{x^3 - y^3}{x-y}$, instead of the simplified form. The same happens for the command "Expand".

Is there a way around this? As asked in the comment, here is the output of

Simplify[$\frac{x^3 - y^3}{x-y}$]\FullForm

RowBox[{"Times", "[", 
RowBox[{"Power", "[", 
RowBox[{"Plus", "[", 
RowBox[{"x", ",", 
RowBox[{"Times", "[", 
RowBox[{"-", "1"}], ",", "y"}], "]"}]}], "]"}], ",", 
RowBox[{"-", "1"}]}], "]"}], ",", 
RowBox[{"Plus", "[", 
RowBox[{"x\\.b3", ",", 
RowBox[{"Times", "[", 
RowBox[{"-", "1"}], ",", "y\\.b3"}], "]"}]}], "]"}]}], "]"}],
  • $\begingroup$ Can you add //FullForm (i.e., Simplify[..] //FullForm)? This should make clear what is going wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Carl Woll
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ Will try. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ I updated the question with the output of the FullForm, but I'm new to Mathematica, I have not been able to identify the issue. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How would you enter x^3 using "typesetting notation"? It seems that your x^3 is actually x followed by the unicode character $\unicode{179}$. That is not how you typeset x^3 in Mathematica. Instead use Ctrl-^ to create a superscript. $\endgroup$
    – Carl Woll
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ I think it might be a configuration in my Ubuntu then. You are right, by using crtl-^ it worked. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


I think you must have made a mistake when entering the expression in typeset form. When I pasted the LaTeX form

$\frac{x^3 - y^3}{x-y}$

After entering


and pasting the LaTeX form, I got a dialog pane asking me if wanted the front-end to translate from LaTeX to Mathematica typesetting. I said yes, and then adding the closing bracket and evaluating got the following result


In box form the Simplify expression looks like this:


which not at all what you have. I also entered the typeset expression directly into my notebook with the Basic Math Assistant palette and got the same result.


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