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I guess all computer algebra systems have command line interfaces which render formula as 2D monospace "ascii art". But the only standalone tool to render TeX to 2D I know is tex2mail (comes with PARI/GP).

Are there other standalone programs or libraries for that task, preferably making advantage of various Unicode symbols? Or maybe there is a CAS capable for that.

What I'm talking about:

FriCAS:

            ┌──┐
       x   \│%A
     ┌┐  %e
     │   ─────── d%A
    └┘       2
           %A

tex2mail:

         +-+                              
     ,- \|x   2                              
     | e    /x    dx                              
    -'                 

Maxima:

     /   sqrt(x)
     [ %e
     I --------- dx
     ]     2
     /    x

Those are meant to represent:

$$\int \frac{e^{\sqrt x}}{x^2} \, dx$$

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3  
I have to ask... why?? –  Asaf Karagila May 24 '12 at 17:45
1  
Because it's BOSS! –  Thomas Eding May 24 '12 at 18:02
    
@AsafKaragila mostly to output a formula to console. –  Yrogirg May 24 '12 at 19:09
    
I see. Thank you for the answer. If I had to choose between the above examples or a very complicated $\TeX$ code, I'd choose the $\TeX$. That's just me, though. –  Asaf Karagila May 24 '12 at 19:14
    
I think that the console version of Maple also can do such things, but I am not 100% sure. –  dtldarek May 24 '12 at 19:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've edited a bit tex2mail to use Unicode for output. Here are the results:

                                      ┌──────┐             
          ┌─┐  3                   4  │     2     6      4             
     ⌠   \│a  x         ┌─┐     3 x  \│1 - x   + x  - 3 x              
     ⎮  ───────── dx = \│a  ──────────────────────────────────         
     ⌡   ┌──────┐                          ┌──────┐         
         │     2            ⎛    2      ⎞  │     2      2         
        \│1 - x             ⎝ 3 x  - 12 ⎠ \│1 - x   - 9x  + 12         

                                 ⎡     1 ⎤n                        
                   lim           ⎢ 1 + ─ ⎥  = e                        
                       n  --> oo ⎣     n ⎦                        

                                     n       n                   
               ⌠1  x     ──┐oo   ⌠1 x (log x)                    
               ⎮  x dx = >       ⎮  ──────────   dx.                   
               ⌡0        ──┘n=0  ⌡0     n!                       


┬─┬oo ⎛   1  ⎞   ⎛ ┬─┬oo   1   ⎞-1           1            1     6 
│ │   ⎜ 1-── ⎟ = ⎜ │ │   ───── ⎟   = ───────────────── = ──── = ──  ≈ 61%
┴ ┴p  ⎜    2 ⎟   ⎜ ┴ ┴p     -2 ⎟         1    1          ζ(2)    2
      ⎝   p  ⎠   ⎝       1-p   ⎠     1 + ── + ── + ∙∙∙          π 
                                          2    2
                                         2    3 

The look depends hugely on the fonts and the browser. If you are interested in the script here is the link.

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1  
As long as you're using Unicode, why not also replace oo with , --> with , and so on? You might also consider using Unicode's sub- and superscripted characters whenever possible to save vertical space. –  Rahul Jun 9 '12 at 20:22
    
@RahulNarain Well, --> should be ⟶, not →. However the space occupied by ⟶ depends on the font and the renderer, which can ruin the formatting. Same story with many others characters, even with ⊗. For my taste is ∞ is too small compared to oo. Well, it is ubelievebly easy to make such substitutions. If one wants he may do it, however the results might not be good. –  Yrogirg Jun 9 '12 at 20:24
    
@RahulNarain As for the sub and superscripts, I just think that they are small and poorly readable. Anyway, implementing this is beyond my Perl skills. –  Yrogirg Jun 9 '12 at 20:32

If you are on *NIX platforms you can use asciitex.

There is also aamath which does a great job in traslating the equation to ascii text files.

If you don't want to install anything locally take a look at http://ascii.gallery/matheq which I believe is a web wrapper over aamath.

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