The top-level element in MathML is <math>. Every valid MathML instance must be wrapped in <math> tags. In addition you must not nest a second <math> element in another, but you can have an arbitrary number of other child elements in it.

Attributes

In addition to the following attributes, the <math> element accepts any attributes of the <mstyle> element.

class, id, style
Provided for use with stylesheets.
dir
Overall directionality of formulas. Possible values are either ltr (left to right) or rtl (right to left).
href
Used to set a hyperlink to a specified URI.
mathbackground
The background color. You can use #rgb, #rrggbb and HTML color names.
mathcolor
The text color. You can use #rgb, #rrggbb and HTML color names.
display
This enumerated attribute specifies how the enclosed MathML markup should be rendered. It can have one of the following values:
  • block, which means that this element will be displayed outside the current span of text, as a block that can be positioned anywhere without changing the meaning of the text;
  • inline, which means that this element will be displayed inside the current span of text, and cannot be moved out of it without changing the meaning of that text.

If not present, its default value is inline.

mode
Deprecated in favor of the display attribute.
Possible values are: display (which has the same effect as display="block") and inline.
overflow
Specifies how an expression behaves if it is too long to fit in the allowed width.
Possible values are: linebreak (default), scroll, elide, truncate, scale.

Examples

Theorem of Pythagoras

HTML5 notation

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>MathML in HTML5</title>
  </head>
  <body>

  <math>
    <mrow>
      <mrow>
        <msup>
          <mi>a</mi>
          <mn>2</mn>
        </msup>
        <mo>+</mo>
        <msup>
          <mi>b</mi>
          <mn>2</mn>
        </msup>
      </mrow>
      <mo>=</mo>
      <msup>
        <mi>c</mi>
        <mn>2</mn>
      </msup>
    </mrow>
  </math>

  </body>
</html> 

XHTML notation

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1 plus MathML 2.0//EN" "http://www.w3.org/Math/DTD/mathml2/xhtml-math11-f.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
 <title>MathML in XHTML</title>
</head>
<body>

  <math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
    <mrow>
      <mrow>
        <msup>
          <mi>a</mi>
          <mn>2</mn>
        </msup>
        <mo>+</mo>
        <msup>
          <mi>b</mi>
          <mn>2</mn>
        </msup>
      </mrow>
      <mo>=</mo>
      <msup>
        <mi>c</mi>
        <mn>2</mn>
      </msup>
    </mrow>
  </math>

</body>
</html>

Notes: XHTML documents with MathML must be served as application/xhtml+xml. You can achieve that easily by adding the .xhtml extension to your local files. For Apache servers you can configure your .htaccess file to map extensions to the correct Mime type. Since you notate your MathML in an XML document, also be sure you write a well-formed XML document.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
MathML 3.0
The definition of 'The Top-Level math Element' in that specification.
Recommendation Current specification
MathML 2.0
The definition of 'The Top-Level math Element' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial specification

Browser compatibility

 

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support24 — 26 No

4

11

No9.5 — 1515.1
dir No No12 No No No
display24 — 26 No1 No No5.1
href No No7 No No No2
mathbackground24 — 26 No4 No No5.1
mathcolor24 — 26 No4 No No5.1
mode24 — 26 No1 No No5.1
overflow No No No No No No
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support24 — 2624 — 26 No49.5 — 1415.1 ?
dir No No No14 No No ?
display24 — 2624 — 26 No4 No5.1 ?
href No No No7 No No2 ?
mathbackground24 — 2624 — 26 No4 No5.1 ?
mathcolor24 — 2624 — 26 No4 No5.1 ?
mode24 — 2624 — 26 No4 No5.1 ?
overflow No No No No No No ?

1. Only supported in XHTML documents.

2. See WebKit bug 85733

 

Firefox-specific notes

Firefox 7 introduced support for accepting all MathML attributes on the top-level math element (i.e. the same behavior as a <mstyle> element). However, the displaystyle attribute was not taken into account and has been added in Firefox 8.

A textual fall-back (alttext) or referring to an alternative image using the attributes altimg, altimg-width, altimg-height or altimg-valign is currently not implemented in Firefox.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: fscholz, momdo, Sheppy, fred.wang, jswisher, teoli
Last updated by: fscholz,