I've found posts dealing with showing/hiding exponents for numbers, like in scientific notation. But what if I have a general expression? I have an expression like this,

p[{1,2}] p[{2,3}]^2 p[{4,5}]

and the exponent is screwing up a replacement rule I'd like to use. I'm sure I could find a workaround but if there's a way to make this appear as

p[{1,2}] p[{2,3}] p[{2,3}] p[{4,5}]

that would make my life much easier. Any ideas?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What's the replacement you want to do? Maybe you can work around the problem by modifying the replacing rule. $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Nov 13, 2015 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ The replacement is essentially just combining components that have elements in common. So my example would get replaced by p[{1,2,3}] p[{4,5}]. I actually think I've found a way around it, although not in the most elegant way. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2015 at 8:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about this?: Times @@ p /@ Union @@@ Gather[ p[{1, 2}] p[{2, 3}]^2 p[{4, 5}] /. a_^b_ :> a /. HoldPattern@Times[a__] :> Sequence @@@ {a}, Intersection[#, #2] != {} &] $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Nov 13, 2015 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ It is not clear why in your post you say you need the repeating p[{2,3}] while in your comment you show that at the end you don't take into account this repeated element ... ? $\endgroup$
    – SquareOne
    Nov 13, 2015 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ @SquareOne the idea is that the repeated element gets combined into a single element, because even though it's the same it has elements in common. Thanks for your post though. $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2015 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


As was commented, you should probably tell us also about the problematic rule you cannot use but anyway you might be interested in the following approach:

As you (should) know, everything in Mathematica is an expression, in other words it can be expressed as f[x,y,...]

Your expression:

expr = p[{1, 2}] p[{2, 3}]^2 p[{4, 5}]

is actually interpreted as:



If you are already familiar with replacement rules then you'll certainly understand the following replacement which will transform your expression in a form close to what you'd like:

Given this function:

myTimes[x_, n_Integer] := myTimes @@ ConstantArray[x, n]

see what happens here:

expr /. Power -> myTimes /. Times -> myTimes


Almost done. Let's add the Flat property to function myTimes:

SetAttributes[myTimes, Flat]

and do again the same replacement than previously:

newexpr = expr /. Power -> myTimes /. Times -> myTimes

myTimes[p[{2, 3}], p[{2, 3}], p[{1, 2}], p[{4, 5}]]

That's it. The idea is to work on this new and temporary expression with your set of replacement rules. Then, to go back in real world:

newexpr /. myTimes -> Times

p[{1,2}] p[{2,3}]^2 p[{4,5}]


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