Mathematics uses a lot of intricate notation such as subscripts, nested subscripts, and many other elaborate notations. This requires a certain degree of good, accurate handwriting. This creates difficulty if one's handwriting is declining.

In this case, is the only answer to switch to LaTeX? What about presentations on white and chalk boards? Slides?

I imagine this is a common problem for quite a few mathematicians. Is there any wisdom for this dilemma?

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    $\begingroup$ I believe this is on topic because without the ability to communicate mathematics, one can't do mathematics. Therefore this is as valid as any other soft question, and just as vital to answer. $\endgroup$
    – Rex Butler
    Dec 29 '18 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ It is necessary to be able to write to present Mathematics as it is necessary to be able to speak well. That doesn't make this about Mathematics. You tell me. What color tie should I wear to my next lecture? $\endgroup$
    – John Douma
    Dec 29 '18 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it's a stretch, but given the other soft questions that get asked I thought I'd give it a shot. $\endgroup$
    – Rex Butler
    Dec 29 '18 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ Just my two cents: Try to pick fonts which are unambiguous. I found that my former method of handwriting the number two (which had a loop at the bottom and looked similar to $\mathscr{Q}$) was too easily confusable with $\partial$ and other letters, so I swapped to using a font closer to what is used here: $2$. Similarly, I have since included a dash through the middle of my sevens, something like $7\!\!\!\text{-}$ in order to further distinguish them from ones as well as a dash in my $z$'s. $\endgroup$
    – JMoravitz
    Dec 29 '18 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ If you Google "Greek penmanship" you get foundalis.com/lan/hw/grkhandw.htm Now you just have to break out a sheet of paper and practice. You can probably repeat the same experiment with "Hebrew penmanship" to get alephs. $\endgroup$
    – John Douma
    Dec 29 '18 at 18:39

Handwriting mathematics, and handwriting in general, I find are two different things. It's especially obvious for me because writing actual words hurts my hand relatively quickly and writing math, even pages upon pages of it, doesn't.

To get better at writing math, I practiced specific symbols, changing some letters from my 'standard' handwritten form, to make them much easier to distinguish: I changed my a and y to be two-story, my x to be made of curved parts, my t to have a tail, my v to be very sharp and my u to have its tail quite long. This of course has its own history even in "official" mathematical symbols: see for instance $\ell$ as opposed to $l$.

Most of the time nobody cares about the sizes of things. If you find a particular size too small to comfortably or readably write (and this of course can depend on things like the writing utensil and medium), write bigger! It doesn't matter where it is. The fourth superscript can safely be the same size as the thing you're putting the tower of superscripts on and as long as the position is sensible it will be understandable. (this doesn't apply to "large operators" - $\int$ and $\sum$ et al do benefit from large size).


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