I have some higher-order ordinary differential equations.

Firstly, I want to collect the terms with common factors together. Besides, I want to re-sort the ODE with the highest order term first.

How can we write general code/module? I think it would be also useful for other Mathematica users.

For example, let's have a sixth-order ODE as follows:

    (\[Omega] - Subscript[a, 6])*U[\[Eta]]- Subscript[a, 2]*U[\[Eta]] + 5*k^2*Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[2][U][\[Eta]] + Subscript[b, 1]*U[\[Eta]]^3 + Subscript[b, 2]*U[\[Eta]]^3 + Subscript[b, 2]*U[\[Eta]]^5 + Subscript[b, 3]*U[\[Eta]]^7 + Subscript[a, 2]*Derivative[2][U][\[Eta]] + 6*k^2*Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[2][U][\[Eta]] + 
   30*k^3*Subscript[a, 5]*Derivative[2][U][\[Eta]] + Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[4][U][\[Eta]] + 2*k^2*Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[4][U][\[Eta]] + Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[6][U][\[Eta]] + Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[6][U][\[Eta]]==0

So, I want to get the following: enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can collect terms with Collect[eq, {U[_], Derivative[_][U][_]}] where eq is your equation. Sorting the terms is a bit tricky, because Plus is inherently Orderless. Do you want to have the sorted output just for the displaying purposes? $\endgroup$
    – Domen
    Mar 24, 2022 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your interest. I see. If what I said is not possible, yes we can sort it for displaying purposes as the last possibility. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2022 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


eqn = (ω - Subscript[a, 6])*U[η] - Subscript[a, 2]*U[η] + 
    5*k^2*Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[2][U][η] + 
    Subscript[b, 1]*U[η]^3 + Subscript[b, 2]*U[η]^3 + 
    Subscript[b, 2]*U[η]^5 + Subscript[b, 3]*U[η]^7 + 
    Subscript[a, 2]*Derivative[2][U][η] + 
    6*k^2*Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[2][U][η] + 
    30*k^3*Subscript[a, 5]*Derivative[2][U][η] + 
    Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[4][U][η] + 
    2*k^2*Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[4][U][η] + 
    Subscript[a, 6]*Derivative[6][U][η] + 
    Subscript[a, 4]*Derivative[6][U][η] == 0;

format = Inactive[Plus] @@ 
    Reverse[List @@ (Collect[#, {U[η], Derivative[_][U][η]}])] &;

Displayed in the requested order

format@eqn[[1]] == 0

enter image description here

In canonical order

% // Activate

enter image description here


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