Is it feasible to convert math in a picture, say written by hand, into LaTeX?

For example, I'd deem it faster to write down (de novo) a 10 x 10 matrix with long, complex entries, rather than typing it in LaTeX or MathType. If I then take a picture or scan my writing, how can it be rendered or transformed into LaTeX?


Check out the new Mathpix desktop app. It let's you take a screenshot of any math, physics, etc. on your desktop and converts it into LaTex, already copied to your clipboard so all you have to do is paste into your LaTex/markdown editor. Only available for MacOS but Window and Linux versions coming soon.. Hope this helps!

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    Your other answer implied that you are associated with the product. We do prefer that you disclose that with this post as well. – Teepeemm Apr 3 '18 at 20:11
  • Is there a similar version for Ubuntu also ? I know we can use wine but I don't just like Windows or Mac – Trect Jul 11 '18 at 13:34

The Inlage editor integrates Math Input Panel seemlessly and is capable of producing LaTeX code directly. Actually it has two more - Sketch Input Panel and Text Input Panel.

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The window that opens when you press Math Input Panel:

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Here you can write, edit, correct etc. You will be better of with a tab with a stylus though. I used mouse. When you press Insert button, the LaTeX code is inserted at your cursor in Inlage:

enter image description here

Math Input Panel is accurate depending on your drawing skills though.

  • Quick edit: change latex to LaTeX. :-) – azetina Jan 21 '14 at 16:03
  • @azetina Come on! you know where the edit button is ;-) Feel free always :) – user11232 Jan 21 '14 at 16:06
  • Didn't want to be too intrusive in your answer. Some of us are veterans here though we sometimes forget typo conventions :-) – azetina Jan 21 '14 at 16:08
  • @azetina Feel free with mine. I am a bad typist :) Even if some thing goes off, I will re-edit. No problemo :) – user11232 Jan 21 '14 at 16:10
  • @azetina Nice comment -_- – Trect Jul 11 '18 at 13:32

There are systems, but at the current state of the technology they are unlikely to be as fast or accurate as simply typing in the matrix. there is hardly any additional markup required, just a & separator between the cells.

Here for example is a hand (well mouse) drawn matrix in the Math Input panel which is standard in Windows 7. The lower bit is hand drawn, the upper part shows the recognised and rendered version. That produces MathML but it is easy to get from there to LaTeX (but easier to type the LaTeX by hand:-) As you see my mouse-handwriting isn't completely accurately recognised (you can fix that in the menu on each letter, but again that takes time).

enter image description here

  • Is there a similar version for Ubuntu also ? I know we can use wiine but I don't just like Windows :( – Trect Jul 11 '18 at 13:34
  • @41041729 that particular version is closed source, part of the windows OS distribution. Several people have worked on mathematical handwriting systems but I do not know the current state of freely available apps on linux. – David Carlisle Jul 11 '18 at 14:09

For an online version try Detexify.

Note: Detexify works best for individual symbols

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