(1) I want to insert into a Text cell conventional in-line mathematical notation like $\lim_{x\to a} f(x)$.

I know I can do it by typing the StandardForm Limit[f[x], x -> a] in an Input cell, convert to Traditional Form via a Cell menu item, then paste the result into the Text cell. Or, per comment by @Bob Hanlon, type it into the text cell, select it, and use Evaluation menu item "Evaluate in place".

Is there some quicker way to do that, by means of a keyboard sequence or palette?

[I looked at the Classroom Assistant palette, but there seems to be no button to enter a limit expression other than in StandardForm (which is a bit strange, given the buttons in that palette for entering traditional forms for sums, products, derivatives, and integrals).]

(2) What about the conventional display mathematical notation like $$\lim_{x\to a} f(x)$$ where the $x \to a$ is below the $\lim$ part?

Is there some reasonably easy way to get that?

  • $\begingroup$ You can at least do Limit[f[x], x -> a] // TraditionalForm, but as for pasting into a Text cell, I don't know. $\endgroup$
    – march
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ After entering the expression Limit[f[x], x -> a] // TraditionalForm in the text cell, select the expression and from the Evaluation menu select Evaluate in Place $\endgroup$
    – Bob Hanlon
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ Using TraditionalForm like that works OK -- but only for an "in-line" limit layout, that is, with the $x\to a$ in subscript position to the right of $\lim$. How can I get $x\to a$ to appear *below" $\lim$, as in a proper display-math layout -- the way I showed in my original question? $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ I usually do it the "shortcut" way: in a Text Cell, press Ctrl + 9, enter lim, press Ctrl + 4, enter a->0, press , enter sin(a). $\endgroup$
    – Silvia
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Entering a -> 0 or such as a subscript, with shortcut key Ctrl+4, only allows the "in-line" layout for limits, but not the proper "display" layout for limits in a display. $\endgroup$
    – murray
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 0:33

2 Answers 2


My approach is to use the Option Inspector (menu command Format > OptionInspector) to set the option for the relevant cells

UnderscriptBoxOptions -> {LimitsPositioning -> False}

If I'm doing this a lot, I might create a new style that inherits from "Text", or change "Text" itself (e.g., via a private stylesheet).

Or one can create a template of sorts, for copy-pasting, with the following:


       RowBox[{"\[Placeholder]", "\[Rule]", "\[Placeholder]"}]], 
      " ",
    UnderscriptBoxOptions -> {LimitsPositioning -> False}], 

 " "}], "Text"]

Mathematica graphics

One could also create one's own palette with a button to paste one's own commonly used text constructions.


You could change the "InlineCell" style definition. For example:

    StyleDefinitions -> Notebook[
        Cell[StyleData["InlineCell"], ScriptLevel->0, FontFamily->"Times"]

Now, when creating an inline cell in a text cell, the above "InlineCell" options will be used. In the "InlineCell", you can either:

  1. Enter the FullForm of an expression and then use the Cell | Convert To | TraditionalForm menu item, or the equivalent keyboard shortcut (Shift + Cmd + T in OSX) to transform the cell into TraditionalForm

  2. Enter the desired output using the usual keyboard short cuts.

Here is an animation showing both approaches:

enter image description here


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