Math Typesetting for the Internet

Pictures with ASCII:
An Example

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Table of Contents || Guidelines for ASCII Math Notation
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ASCII pictures: What are they good for?
Communicating about math in an email message can be tricky, especially if you want to include pictures to get your point across. One option is to compose your illustrations in a graphics program and then send the file as an email attachment - but you should only do this if you are sure that the recipient of your message is able to accept attached documents (and read whatever type file you send). If you want to be certain that people will see your pictures, you should put them in your message using only ASCII characters.

An Example
ASCII drawings to illustrate geometric figures, often needed for the Geometry Problem of the Week, can be a fine art in the hands of Student Project Coordinator Annie Fetter - here's an example of her ASCII drawings:



  1.   __  __       2.  __  __  __       3.  /\          4.     __
     /\  /\  /         \  /\  /\  /\        /__\              /\  /\
    /__\/__\/           \/__\/__\/__\       \  /\            /__\/__\
        \  /\                                \/__\ __        \  /\  /
         \/__\                                \  /\  /        \/__\/
                                               \/__\/
          /\              __                                    __
  5.  __ /__\       6.  /\  /\           7.  /\  /\      8.   /\  /\
     \  /\  /\         /__\/__\ __          /__\/__\         /__\/__\
      \/__\/__\            \  /\  /         \  /\  /         \  /\  /\
       \  /                 \/__\/           \/__\/           \/  \/__\
        \/                                    \  /
                                               \/
                                  __
          /\                    /\  /          /\              /\
  9.  __ /__\ __    10.     __ /__\/    11.   /__\       12.  /__\ __
     \  /\  /\  /         /\  /\  /          /\  /\          /\  /\  /\
      \/__\/__\/         /__\/__\/          /__\/__\        /__\/__\/__\
                                               /\  /
                                              /__\/


However, ASCII drawings can also trip you up. Be careful NOT to use tabs, and NOT to use a variable-space font like Times. Courier or some other monospace font is essential for sending drawings through e-mail - carefully composed diagrams like these:
        _____
       /\    \          _____
      /  \    \        /\    \
     /    \____\      /  \____\
     \    /    /      \  /    /
      \  /    /        \/____/
       \/____/

       /-----\         /-----\
      / \   / \       / \ | / \
     /___\ /___\     /   \|/   \
     \   / \   /     \   /|\   /
      \ /   \ /       \ / | \ /
       \_____/         \__|__/
can easily arrive looking like this:
              ___
              / / /\
              /_/_/\ \
              \ \ \ \/
              \_\_\/

     or this...

               -------
         /       / \
         /_ _ _ /        \
         \       \       /
         \       \ /
         -------

     or even this!

              ----|---
              /\ | /\
              / \ | / \
              /____\|/____\
              \       /|\     /
              \ / | \ /
              \/__|__\/

For best results, compose your ASCII drawings right in your e-mail program, making sure it's set for a monospace font, and never NEVER use tabs!

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