Mathematica Steps to LaTeX [WiP]

A common problem when using Mathematica to derive expressions is similar to a big problem plaguing machine learning algorithms today: It is difficult or impossible to explain the result due to the internal complexity of the black-box which generates it.

Mathematica’s internal algorithms for performing various symbolic computation are built for speed, not simplicity, and in many cases the method Mathematica uses is nothing like the manual way humans would find the solution.

For simple cases, a workaround is passing your problem to the WolframAlpha[] command in Mathematica as a string, and then choosing to see the steps laid out, in the way Wolfram Alpha presupposes a human would do it. This has its own problems, namely in the limited complexity of problems WolframAlpha can handle as compared to Mathematica. However, it is enough to get the job done in some cases.

However, although Mathematica then displays the steps, it’s internal interface for converting those step-expressions to LaTeX is hit-and-miss, which results in trouble when trying to create documentation. However, it does allow generation of steps in plaintext format.

Enter this web-page, which converts Mathematica plaintext steps into well-formatted LaTeX. The following command will generate the plaintext steps for a given simple problem.

ShowSteps[exp_] :=
  ToString@HoldForm@InputForm@exp, {{"Input", 2}, "Plaintext"},
  PodStates -> {"Input__Step-by-step solution"}]

This app is still in beta, and the parsing is not 100% complete. So, you will have to manually fix some things until I get time to write a proper parser. I’ve noticed any instances of integral or bracketing bar still require adjustment.


  1. Use the ShowSteps[] command to get the derivation steps in plaintext.
  2. Copy the plaintext into the input box on this page.
  3. Copy the output LaTeX into your LaTeX editor of choice.

Plaintext Input

LaTeX Output