The equivalent resistance $ R_{eq}$ of $n$ resistors in parallel can be calculated from this:
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Would it be possible to define a function to calculate the equivalent resistance of resistors with the function name ||? I would like to apply it like this: R1 || R2, R1 || R2 || R3, or any number of parameters, and it would return the equivalent resistance.
I know how to write a standard function to calculate the equivalent resistance of parallel resistors. However, what I am seeking here is the ability to use a function named || and apply it in the manner of R1 || R2, R1 || R2 || R3, as we typically write.
Here are typical functions for calculating equivalent parallel resistance.

  • $\begingroup$ Be aware that you will have to tell the operator precedence (for example should : R1+R2 || R3 be interpeted as (R1+R2) || R3 or R1+(R2 || R3) ? ), unless you use all the necessary parenthesis systematically. $\endgroup$
    – andre314
    Apr 6 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @andre314 Users should add parenthesis to make it behave as they want. Thanks for clarification. $\endgroup$
    – internet
    Apr 6 at 21:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ || already has a definition as the built-in function Or. $\endgroup$
    – Chris K
    Apr 6 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ This answer has a nice list of potential candidates $\endgroup$
    – Lukas Lang
    Apr 6 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ If you really insist on using ||, you can do this by creating an auxilliary function: eval[e_] := e /. Or -> (1/Total[1/{##}] &); R1 || R2 || R3 // eval Alternatively, you could put this into $Post if you really do not expect to use the logical Or for its regular purposes. $\endgroup$
    – Domen
    Apr 6 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


It won't work with || for reasons described in the comments. However, you can use a unicode character or U+2225 which Mathematica just so happens to call \[DoubleVerticalBar]. Then you can define some infix notation for it:

RParallel[x__] := 1/(Total[1/{x}])
AddInputAlias["4" -> ParsedBoxWrapper["∥"]];
InfixNotation[ParsedBoxWrapper["∥"], RParallel];

a ∥ b ∥ c ∥ d

(* 1/(1/a + 1/b + 1/c + 1/d) *)
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. It's a very nice solution. I just realized that using // (Postfix) is even more convenient to type, so I'm trying to make that work as well while keeping the built-in function. $\endgroup$
    – internet
    Apr 7 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ Would there be a way to shorten the typing of \[DoubleVerticalBar] as I use it a lot? $\endgroup$
    – internet
    Apr 7 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ @internet no, however, you can just type \[Dou and find it in the autocomplete from the notebook interface, or copy and paste the symbol. $\endgroup$
    – flinty
    Apr 11 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @internet, see InputAliases, e.g. CurrentValue[$FrontEndSession, {InputAliases, "xx"}] = "\[DoubleVerticalBar]" $\endgroup$
    – Domen
    Apr 11 at 20:21

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