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Is there a way to enter LaTeX (or similar) formulas into an E-Mail and get them rendered as typeset formulas on the receiving side, perhaps with cooperation of the receiving party? My preferred mail client is Thunderbird, but solutions for other applications might be of interest as well, and portable solutions obviously would work best.

Things I'm hoping for but couldn't find so far:

  • A way to reference the MathJax JavaScript files from within a HTML E-Mail, together with a configuration on the client side which allows execution of this particular JavaScript without opening too much of a security hole.
  • Some add-on which enables MathJax on the receiving side, without any particular reference to it in the E-Mail. This might work even for plain text messages, which is a good thing.
  • Some add-on which alloes the user to enter LaTeX code somewhere, and which embeds the corresponding MathML into a HTML-formatted message.
  • Some add-on which allows me to mark part of my message before clicking a button. The marked text should then be interpreted as LaTeX and be replaced by the corresponding MathML. Obviously this will only work for HTML-formatted messages, too.

I'm interested in any known procedures along the lines above. In cases where not immediately obvious, information as to which applications on the sending as well as on the receiving side support this approach would be welcome. For example, I have heard that both Thunderbird and Apple Mail will support MathML for received mails, but Outlook will not. At least the part about Thunderbird rendering the formula I can confirm.

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There are plugins for Miranda and Kopete, both chat applications, which are sort of doing, what you are looking for. –  ernestopheles Jan 15 '13 at 15:10
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Is it important for the equation to survive as editable text on the recipient's end? I mean, there are plug-ins like LaTeX It! that let you send LaTeX as images. –  Dane Jan 15 '13 at 17:38
    
@Dane, maintaining editability isn't crucial. So LaTeX It! would be an option, although the font of the image tends to fit in rather poorly with the remainder of the email. –  MvG Jan 15 '13 at 22:45
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As far as I know, there's currently nothing that quite does what you want.

Putting javascript in an email would be a really bad idea in general but the MathJax bookmarklet might help with webclients. You could use it on your webclient before sending off an email but I wouldn't suggest this -- MathJax rendering depends on the browser so this will often break on the recipient's side; it will also make it hard to re-use the mathematical content.

I think MathML will become the exchange format of choice in the future (hopefully with embedded source data like LaTeX to be able to continue authoring with it). Many equation editors produce MathML, but those with LaTeX-input and MathML-output are rare.

Frederic Wang's recent blog post is probably the best (only?) source for now when it comes to MathML support in email clients -- in particular comment 5. Fred is a contributor to Firefox's MathML implementation and is part of the MathJax team (disclaimer: as am I).

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