# Separate integer fractions from variables?

Whenever I write a rational number times a variable, i.e.:

(2/3)a


the result Mathematica displays looks very cringeworthy:

$$\frac{2a}{3}$$

I would prefer the output to look like

$$\frac{2}{3}a$$

Even a substitution rule like

/.(x_Integer q_)/y_Integer -> (x/y) q


does not correct the issue. Is it possible to make the output look proper?

• You have a strange idea of what's proper. I'd take the first form any time... – V.E. Oct 29 '15 at 5:50
• @V.E. for me it depends; with long-ish polynomials, I do like having the fractional coefficient and the monomial being separated by a thin space. – J. M.'s ennui Oct 29 '15 at 6:25

## 2 Answers

I believe this is what $PrePrint is for, since you only want to affect how the expression looks, and I'm guessing you want it to happen automatically for every input. Using $PrePrint thus allows you to use Out[n] without worrying about the held expressions.

This seems to work (but I would like to find a better way to take care of the signs between terms in a sum):

$PrePrint = # /. r_Rational x_Symbol :> Sign[r] HoldForm[Evaluate[Abs[r]]] HoldForm[x] &  You can add more replacement rules if you like of course, to treat e.g. polynomials: $PrePrint = # /. {r_Rational x_Symbol :>
Sign[r] HoldForm[Evaluate[Abs[r]]] HoldForm[x],
r_Rational x_Symbol^i_Integer :>
Sign[r] HoldForm[Evaluate[Abs[r]]] HoldForm[x^i]
} &


I would do this by using a custom MakeBoxes rule:

MakeBoxes[Times[a__, r_Rational], StandardForm] := MakeBoxes[Times[Defer[r], a]]


Some examples:

Graphics[Circle[]]/2+Graphics[Rectangle[]]/3
Series[Sin[x], {x, 0, 10}]
Expand[(x-y)^4/24]


One nice thing about this approach is that the output is copy/pastable.

The other answer doesn't work right for any of these inputs, and the outputs generated are not copy/pastable.