I would like to set up a system (or define a keyboard shortcut) so when you type the following


I have the following print at the current selection.

 ToBoxes[Unevaluated@Sum[Placeholder[ ], {t, 1, n}]],

This only works partially works b/c it removes focus.

x = Input[""]
  • $\begingroup$ Unless you want to do it in Mathematica for you own specific reasons (portability maybe), I would strongly recommend Autohotkey? The pain you have to go through for that simple task is not worth the effort in Mathematica. In Autohotkey, that task is a one-liner: ::sum::Sum[Placeholder[ ], `{t, 1, n`}]{Left 5} $\endgroup$
    – Hector
    Sep 3, 2014 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ What would be the easiest way to run a M Function? Or how might I Print a ToBoxes version? Autohotkey doesn't seem to $\endgroup$
    – William
    Sep 3, 2014 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


Try this:

    nb = CreateDocument[{}, 
   InputAliases -> {"sum" -> 
      "\!\(\*UnderoverscriptBox[\(\[Sum]\), \(\[Placeholder] = \
\[Placeholder]\), \(\[Placeholder]\)]\)\[Placeholder]"}];

After evaluation a new notebook opens. Type in this notebook: Esc+sum+Esc. Done. Have fun!

  • $\begingroup$ I have been reconsidering my original thought if it is really a good idea but you definitely deserve and up vote. $\endgroup$
    – William
    Sep 8, 2014 at 22:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Liam William The up-vote is no matter. The point is that there are lots of already existing hot keys. I use some of them and there are too many to memorize them all. You might want to check Menu/Help/DocumentationCenter/tutorial/EnteringTwoDimensionalInput. Otherwise if you open any panel, such as Menu/Palette/BasicMathAssistant or Menu/Palette/SpecialCharacters and hover the cursor over any button you will find the corresponding hot key below the palette. In particular, Esc+sum+Esc gives you the sum by itself without additional efforts. So it may be a good idea to check already existing keys $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2014 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ This should work pretty well if I combine it with an Autohotkey scriptw $\endgroup$
    – William
    Sep 9, 2014 at 23:09

After thinking it through some more this is the best solution I have come up with so far is to run the following in Mathematica so you can paste code into Mathematica that has formatting

  "DuplicatePreviousOutput", {Delimiter, 
   MenuItem["Raw Paste Clipboard", FrontEnd`KernelExecute[

      Catch[NotebookGet@ClipboardNotebook[] /. 
        Cell[r_, ___] :> Block[{}, Throw[r, tag] /; True];
       $Failed, tag], Placeholder]

     ], MenuKey["v", Modifiers -> {"Control", "Shift"}], 
    System`MenuEvaluator -> Automatic]}]]

Next you can create Autohotkey scripts like the following

  clipboard = 
    \*SubsuperscriptBox[\(\[Sum]\), \(i = 
    1\), \(\[Placeholder]\)]\[Placeholder]\)
  Send, ^+v

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