I am trying to get some symbolic expressions in Mathematica which I would like to paste into my C/MATLAB codes. This can be accomplished nicely by selecting the expression and right-clicking to select Copy as plain-text.

However there is one small issue I have.

Consider the simplest possible case for 2 symbols a and b

In[1]:= c = a*b

Out[1]= a b

How can I tell Mathematica to produce all its output as a*b and not a b Without this, I have to go through the pain of replacing manually all spaces in my C/MATLAB codes with the * espcecially for long expressions.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Re: converting to MATLAB friendly expression, see this answer $\endgroup$
    – rm -rf
    May 22, 2013 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ For MATLAB, use what rm said. For C, use CForm. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    May 22, 2013 at 1:09

3 Answers 3


The * multiplication operator is rendered in InputForm:

c = a b;

c // InputForm

For producing/exporting strings:

ExportString[c, "Text"]

ToString[c, InputForm]

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ or a b // InputForm ? $\endgroup$
    – cormullion
    May 22, 2013 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @cormullion Yes; I guess that might not be apparent to a new user from my answer alone; thanks for pointing that out. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    May 22, 2013 at 6:51

You can set the multiplication symbol in Preferences->Appearance->Numbers->Multiplication


The easiest way to do so is use the "Find and Replace" menu (Ctrl+F), select the blank space between a and b and replace it with * symbol.

It perfectly works for me.


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