Revised question to reflect new issues pertinent to Mma 12.3 and that are unresolved by the linked question - this is NOT a DUPLICATE and should not be reflected as such

As of Mathematica 12.3, if I type in:

2 (1-x)

... Mathematica has horribly started displaying this as:

enter image description here

Aside from being clumsy, inefficient, absurdly lacking in elegance, and contrary to standard notation convention, I also really don't want the unnecessary confusion of perfectly obvious notation being confused with 2x(1-x).

How can I switch this dreadful auto-notation mess off, and revert to the way things have always been? For both Input and Output please.


Thank you too for the reference to:


However, the latter question is a different question. That question was asked in the context of Mma 11 where this behaviour did not occur in the example given. The errant behaviour is new to Mma 12.3 (at least on a Mac). Even with the posted solution, the problem remains that if one wants the x symbol to appear for FUNCTIONS (as was the norm in Mma 11 and 12.1 and 12.2), but NOT to appear for brackets such as 2(1-x), then how to switch if off for brackets () in 12.3, but still leave it on for FUNCTIONS?

Further update

Is it possible to resolve the Times display problem/bug that appeared in Mma 12.3 when using brackets e.g. 2(1-x), WITHOUT switching off the more general display of times in FUNCTIONS?

i.e. ON for Functions, but OFF for brackets () ??

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    $\begingroup$ Go to menu Edit > Preferences > Appearance > Formatting > Multiplication. Uncheck Functions. $\endgroup$
    – Domen
    Oct 9, 2021 at 8:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Domen I think you could add this as an answer, if you want to get some points out of it :) $\endgroup$
    – Carl Lange
    Oct 9, 2021 at 8:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this different from how-do-i-remove-the-little-x-that-shows-up-in-the-frontend-when-typing ? There is also AutoMultiplicationSymbol in inspection. I do not know now if it different from the above option mentioned. $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Oct 9, 2021 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Domen Please add it as an answer even if you don't care about getting points for it. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Oct 9, 2021 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ Out of clarification, what did you have “before”? What version was it? I ask because “the way it has always been”, for me, is indeed with the multiplication symbol appearing in faded gray (so that it is hard to see, such that confusions as you mentioned become difficult to generate). $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2021 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


Go to the menu Edit > Preferences > Appearance > Formatting > Multiplication. Uncheck Functions.

Settings for multiplication symbol.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for this. It is both interesting and odd that under Mma 12.3, that Mma treats brackets, say 2(1-y), as a FUNCTION and adds the 'x' ... but under Mma 12.2 and earlier, Mma does not treat the same brackets as a function, using exactly the same preference setting. One wonders what caused the behaviour to change in 12.3 (at least on a Mac). I would not have thought of () as a FUNCTION. $\endgroup$
    – wolfies
    Oct 9, 2021 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @wolfies What's even weirder is that 2 (3 - 1) gets the 'x' but f (3 - 1) does not. It is only the latter that could be mistaken for a function. "One wonders what caused the behaviour to change in 12.3" I assumed that the Wolfram developers changed it deliberately, in an attempt to improve the system. What is an "improvement" is subjective though, and depends on the audience. Maybe this is helpful for complete beginners. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Oct 9, 2021 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ Just a wild guess: Marking the blank spot with something could be useful for pattern-searching based applications. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 12:07

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