How To Write Fractions In Notion

Notion is a great note-taking app and even has an in-built maths block. This feature differentiates Notion from other note-taking apps.

This has revolutionized how academics can use Notion. Great for writing fractions and equations in homework or technical documents. 

In this post, I’ll explain the basics of the maths block and how you can use it to write fractions.

What Is KaTeX?

Before we dive into how to write fractions, let me explain a bit about KaTeX, as you’ll likely come across the terminology.

Put simply, KaTeX allows browsers to display mathematical notation. It emphasizes being fast and easy to use for math equations. Notion has stated that it uses the KaTeX library to render math equations. This is only a large subset of the LaTeX functions.

KaTeX is based on Donald Knuth’s TeX, the gold standard for math typesetting.

For a complete list of supported math notations, check out these links. It’s also a good idea to bookmark these, as they are your cheat sheet!

KaTeX vs. LaTeX

As mentioned, KaTeX and LaTeX are tools related to the typesetting of mathematical notation, but they serve different purposes and have different strengths. Here’s a quick summary:

DescriptionA fast, web-based display engine for rendering math notation on web pagesA document preparation system for creating documents with complex math notation
SpeedFast, optimized for web displaySlower, especially for larger documents
UsageFor web applications and online displayFor creating documents (e.g., articles, books, presentations)
CompatibilitySupports common notations but may miss obscure LaTeX commandsComprehensive, handles almost any math notation
IntegrationEasily integrated into web apps and sitesStandalone or with editors (Overleaf, TeXShop, etc.)
OutputOutputs HTML and CSS, optimized for webHigh-quality PDFs or DVI files
ExtensionsExtensions and plugins for various web platformsVast ecosystem of packages for extended functionality

How To Write Fractions In Notion

With that out of the way, let’s move on to how to write a command that shows fractions!

In a new line, type /math, and you’ll be presented with two options. First, the inline equation, and second, the block equation. See further down for the difference between the two. In this example, take the Block equation.

Maths menu in Notion

With the new equation block in place, type the syntax \frac {numerator}{denominator} and hit Enter. Replace the numerator and denominator as necessary!

Frac formula

What’s The Difference Between Inline Equation And Block Equation?

As the menu describes, the inline equation function allows you to insert a maths equation mixed in with the text. The block equation is a standalone block centered on a page and enlarged. 

See the example below.

Inline equation

There are 4 different ways to add a fraction or equation to a sentence.

  • Use the CTRL/CMD + SHIFT + E shortcut
  • Type in /math to call up the menu
  • Type $$ to tell Notion that you are writing an inline maths equation, write it out in KaTeX format, and end the equation with $$
  • Highlight text and select the square root symbol to activate the maths function.
Add fraction to text
Most cumbersome method IMO!

Common Issues & Solutions

Here are a few common issues that you might face and how to resolve them:

  • Syntax Error: It’s possible there was a typo in your KaTeX syntax. Always double-check to ensure you’ve used the correct format: \frac{numerator}{denominator}.
  • Missing Libraries: Some complex equations require additional LaTeX libraries. If your equation isn’t rendering as expected, ensure you only use the commands KaTeX supports in Notion.
  • Spacing Issues: If your fractions appear squished or improperly spaced, ensure you haven’t added unnecessary spaces within the syntax. KaTeX is particular about formatting!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I adjust the size of fractions in Notion for better visibility?

Within Notion’s inline equation editor, you can’t directly adjust font size.

However, as a workaround, you can increase the text size of surrounding content or use header styles to emphasize the fraction indirectly.

Can I write mixed numbers using the fraction feature in Notion?

Yes, you can. In the inline equation mode, for a mixed number like 1 1/2, use KaTeX syntax: 1\frac{1}{2}.

This will display the whole number followed by the fraction.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the math function has been very well thought out in Notion. I’ve only scratched the surface by showing you how to write a fraction.

Notion can render quite a substantial list of math equations. It’s one of the best digital math notebooks I’ve seen around! 

Hope you found this helpful and that it saves you some time!

Check out the Notion Foundation series if you need more help with Notion blocks, or take a look at the latest Notion tips and tricks.

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