I wanted to try formatting, annotating, and colorizing equations. Inspiration:

- Kalid Azad uses color for equations
^{[1]} - Chris Olah uses tables for equations
^{[2]} **Fred Hohman’s awesome list**of examples and articles^{[3]}- Matt Hall talks about color + formatting of equations
^{[4]}, and followup post^{[5]} - A example of annotation
^{[6]} - Matt Adereth blogged about color and formatting
^{[7]} - Rowan Cockett has amazing equation formatting
^{[8]} - An annotated equation from Andrew Alexander
^{[9]} - Annotated equations in TeX
^{[10]} - Andrew Head’s paper
^{[11]}on the topic - Keenan Crane’s annotated equation
^{[12]}uses background colors for equations and foreground colors for annotations. I like this a lot, and the next time I want to annotate equations I want to try this. I think using background for the equation helps with the contrast, and also gives visual markers of which elements go together. I’d probably try less saturated colors for the backgrounds. - Scratch A Pixel uses color for equations
^{[13]} - Blog post about singular value decomposition
^{[14]}uses colors for equations*and*makes them match the colors in diagrams. - Math Augmentation: How Authors Enhance the Readability of Formulas using Novel Visual Design Practices
^{[15]}is a paper about this topic; see Figure 4 for a summary of the different types of annotations. - FFL
^{[16]}is a CSS-like language for annotating equations with colors. - This diagram
^{[17]}not only uses color for the expressions but also in the diagram

Here I’m using both color and tables (using the table tag instead of css grid), with labels for the symbols:

\(\frac{dR}{dt}\) | = | \(\alpha\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(-\) | \(\beta\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(\cdot\) | \(F\) |

rate of change of rabbits | is | birth rate | times | rabbits | minus | kill rate | times | rabbits | times | foxes |

This is highly distracting. Describing the basic symbols is overkill for an audience that’s reading about differential equations! Let’s drop those:

\(\frac{dR}{dt}\) | = | \(\alpha\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(-\) | \(\beta\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(\cdot\) | \(F\) |

rate of change of rabbits | birth rate | rabbits | kill rate | rabbits | foxes |

There are still too many colors. Let’s use color only for rabbits:

\(\frac{dR}{dt}\) | = | \(\alpha\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(-\) | \(\beta\) | \(\cdot\) | \(R\) | \(\cdot\) | \(F\) |

rate of change of rabbits | birth rate | rabbits | kill rate | rabbits | foxes |

An alternative to describing the *symbols* is to describe the *expressions*. Chris Olah recommends left alignment and extra whitespace.

\( \frac{dR}{dt}\) | \(=\) | \( \alpha \cdot R\) | \(-\) | \( \beta \cdot R \cdot F\) |

rate of change | rabbits born | rabbits die |

I haven’t quite figured out the TeX to make explanations appear underneath the parts of the formula. These don’t line up:

\[ \underbrace{\frac{dR}{dt}}_\text{rate of change} = \underbrace{\alpha \cdot R}_\text{rabbits born} - \underbrace{\beta \cdot R \cdot F}_\text{rabbits die} \]

Also see Shan Carter^{[18]}’s beautiful version, which has both labels for variables and labels for expressions, and also uses color! I haven’t tried to reproduce this yet. I think it uses CSS grid with borders on an empty cell to create the bracket.

[2021] Two years later, I spent some time looking at lotka-volterra^{[19]}.