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About MathML


The default document format of the DLMF is HTML5 which includes MathML. MathML (Mathematical Markup Language), is an open, international standard, to represent the mathematical content on the web and elsewhere. MathML allows us to present the mathematics independent on your screen size and resolution, enabling adjustment to enlarge or shrink formula, as well as providing opportunities for making the material accessible for those with disabilities. The DLMF uses MathML Core, a subset designed specifically for browsers.

The mathematical notations used in DLMF are complex enough that a fairly complete MathML implementation is required. ‘Native’ (i.e., built-in to the browser) support for MathML is growing, (see Browsers supporting MathML). However, the MathJax javascript library can also used to render the MathML, albeit more slowly. By default, DLMF will use Native support when available; You may choose how MathML is processed (Native or MathJax) at Customize DLMF.

In rare cases, a browser lacks both MathML support and a robust enough javascript implementation capable of running MathJax; you may wish to visit the Customize DLMF page and choose the HTML+images document format. That format displays mathematics as static images and is neither very scalable nor accessible, but serves as a workable fallback.

Of course you are encouraged to use a modern, up-to-date browser. As a general rule, using the latest available version of your chosen browser, plugins and an updated operating system is helpful.

Please note our Disclaimer regarding any products mentioned here.

Browsers supporting MathML

The Firefox browser has traditionally had the strongest support for MathML and its native MathML is used by default.

Recent enhancements to the WebKit engine now provide support for MathML Core. Most current browsers based on this engine now support MathML natively, including Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

Special fonts for MathML

Since the display of mathematics involves many special symbols not often seen in plain text, a MathML renderer generally needs special fonts. Most modern browsers support ‘Web Fonts’, fonts that are effectively included with a web site. DLMF uses the STIX web font to provide a consistent coverage.

For other browsers, you may see a ? or a box like [Uncaptioned image] indicating missing symbols, and thus insufficient fonts. A good resource for finding and installing math fonts is at Fonts for MathML.