I want Mathematica to interpret subscripted variables as symbols. I found documentation suggesting the Notation package could do this, but if I do:

Symbolize[ParsedBoxWrapper[SubscriptBox["_", "_"]]]
x = 1
Subscript[x, 1]

I still get:

Subscript[1, 1]

Am I doing anything wrong?


In order to be recognised as symbols the subscripted forms need to be keyed in control-_, you cannot explicitly use Subscript:

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When you use Subscript[] the arguments are replaced by their values before being passed to the function, but if you do x Ctrl+_ 1 the Notation package can grab it before the replacement.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ok I got it. In case you know how to tell subscript not to replace it's arguments by their values, I'd be still interested. $\endgroup$ – PeMa Sep 9 '14 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ @PeMa You could SetAttributes HoldFirst or HoldAll for Subscript reference.wolfram.com/language/ref/HoldFirst.html $\endgroup$ – MaTECmatica Sep 10 '14 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ Well that's not gonna work I think. If I have e.g. phi and phi_L I don't want phi not to be evaluated, but of course not inside phi_L. $\endgroup$ – PeMa Sep 10 '14 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Just checked: SetAttributes[Subscript, HoldAll] indeed prevents the value substitution, but the result still is not recognized as a symbol that can for example be used in the function definition pattern. $\endgroup$ – george2079 Sep 10 '14 at 15:15

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