Community Participant

## Equation Editor

What happened to this? It became absolutely unusable. Previously when I typed the latex I saw it and could check the correctness of it, and to modify if it was necessary.

Labels (1)
• ### Canvas

Tags (3)
1 Solution
Community Champion

So ... the new equation editor that they just released has some serious issues. A couple are listed here in New Math Equation Editor and I mentioned some more in Add \overline to Math to Basic Math Equation Editor while it was still in beta.

In the thread that Ron ( @Ron_Bowman ) mentioned, the old way of typing the LaTeX directly, then selecting it before you hit the equation editor button doesn't work anymore. I just type LaTeX directly, enclosing it in $$and$$ as in $$\alpha$$, but that doesn't render in the mobile apps (which most student's shouldn't be using when math is involved).

As to the specific question of α that @sszabo and @ezaurova are mentioning, here's what my testing showed. All of this is in Firefox 99, my Chrome was busy running a script.

When the direct entry of LaTeX is disabled, you can do direct entry of LaTeX and Canvas will autosuggest for you. If I start to type \alpha, it suggests \alpha as soon as I type \al. I can then hit tab to finish it. The problem is that it doesn't change \alpha to α right away. I am able to reliably get it to convert once the focus leaves the textbook (fancy way of saying click outside the box).

This is good to know because, unlike the old editor, it always defaults to non-direct entry of LaTeX instead of advanced mode.

Now, what about direct entry mode?

When direct entry of LaTeX is enabled, there is a delay before it displays the code. Probably longer than you want to wait, but it cuts down on the number of renders. Without looking at the code, it looks like they are using some kind of debounce function that waits until the user has stopped typing for predetermined time before rendering. If I type \alpha123456 at a slow pace but less than about 1 s between characters, it doesn't render until I'm done with 6.

Rendering is now done in the browser using MathJax. It used to be sent over the web to be rendered (I haven't checked that behavior recently, but I know at one time that Canvas was using the mathman microservice.

The $$and$$ wrapped around the input is MathJax's way of saying it doesn't understand the input. It doesn't recognize it as valid LaTeX. Mostly. It may be that you might have some valid LaTeX, but then there is an issue.

If I type \alph then I get a red \alph.

If I type \alpha\bet, then I get α followed by a red \bet: α\bet.

If I start to type a LaTeX macro with the backslash \ but don't put anything after it I get a different result. For example, if I type \alpha\, then it doesn't know what the next part is going to be and this where it shows the  enclosure: $$\alpha\$$

If I click Done on the last one, it inserts an equation image with an α, but the title and LaTeX are \alpha\.

The same issue happens if I type just a \ at the beginning, it renders as $$\$$, which is the \ inside the $$and$$ enclosure.

If I type \alpha followed by a space, it renders properly, not the $$\alpha$$ that Elena is seeing.

That said, there are definitely some weirdness in editing. When I was not in direct mode, I had trouble getting it to delete the α that I got after the text field lost focus and then regained it. It may be that there was some problem with \ that hadn't cleared out. It's hard to say for sure as I'm unable to duplicate it.

As with any new feature, I would make sure the browser cache is cleared and potentially that cookies are cleared (I used to think that didn't matter, until the one time that it actually solved my problem). You can also open the developer tools on the page (F12 in Chrome) and switch to the console to see if there are any error messages being thrown. Those messages may not be as forthcoming as they once were -- Canvas has started using Sentry, which grabs error messages and routes them to Canvas rather than the console.

I did notice that there were some SameSite messages "Some cookies are misusing the SameSite attribute." It then says Cookie “rce.htmleditor” will be soon rejected because it has the “SameSite” attribute set to “None” or an invalid value, without the “secure” attribute. To know more about the “SameSite“ attribute, read https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Web/HTTP/Headers/Set-Cookie/SameSite

20 Replies
Community Coach

I may not completely understand your question, but in my equation editor, there is a button labeled Directly Edit LaTex.  it starts in the off position.  in that position you do not see the LaTex rendering.  with it turned on, the LaTex rendering shows up below the button.  I have a feeling I am missing something in your question.

Community Participant

After turning on the button 'Directly Edit Latex', I type  \alpha  in the textbox,

and $$\alpha$$ appears below the button. Nothing else. Not  the greek alpha.

I tried in Chrome, Firefox, Edge browsers.

Community Coach

I get the rendering when I do it. However, it is sneaky in when it displays.

If I type \alpha I get the greek symbol

However if I type \alpha\ I get the LaTex code

Not sure if that helps you any.

Community Participant

@Ron_Bowman I don't know how you're getting that rendering.  I have the same experience as @sszabo.  When I type "\alpha", I don't see the symbol

However, if I untoggle the Directly Edit LaTeX, then I'll see it.

But like @sszabo, I would like to have your experience and see what I'm getting as I type it out in LaTeX.

Community Coach

Well that is interesting.  I have noticed that there is a slight one or two second delay in the rendering sometimes.  And of course as you type in the latex (for me) it comes and goes in the rendering.  Did you try putting a space after it?  - "\alpha " to see if that renders it with the direct edit LaTex turned on?

it is definitely acting strange and maybe someone else with more experience with the editor and LaTex will chime in.

I found the following forum page with some information that may help - I have not looked at the video, but if James liked it, it must be good.

Using LaTex in Canvas

Community Participant

@Ron_Bowman Funny, I thought you might say that and I debated on taking another screenshot with the space, but I figured you'd understand that I of course put a space (as well as tried a few dozen other things to replicate what you're seeing).  But here it is, same issue, with a space

Community Participant

Yes, I have the same practice. If there is no better method then I use this little bit strange behavior.

Tags (3)
Community Member

in the old equation editor once you enabled "advanced" you stayed in the latex mode throughout the editing session.

in the new version, every time you create an equation or edit an existing equation you have to click again the latex button.   is it not possible to have latex bbe the default?

also, i agree with the person who complained that you didn't see the latex typeset version as you create the equation.

Community Member

question is:  is it possible to have the "directly edit latex" always in the "on" position, rather than re-enabling it each time?

Community Champion

So ... the new equation editor that they just released has some serious issues. A couple are listed here in New Math Equation Editor and I mentioned some more in Add \overline to Math to Basic Math Equation Editor while it was still in beta.

In the thread that Ron ( @Ron_Bowman ) mentioned, the old way of typing the LaTeX directly, then selecting it before you hit the equation editor button doesn't work anymore. I just type LaTeX directly, enclosing it in $$and$$ as in $$\alpha$$, but that doesn't render in the mobile apps (which most student's shouldn't be using when math is involved).

As to the specific question of α that @sszabo and @ezaurova are mentioning, here's what my testing showed. All of this is in Firefox 99, my Chrome was busy running a script.

When the direct entry of LaTeX is disabled, you can do direct entry of LaTeX and Canvas will autosuggest for you. If I start to type \alpha, it suggests \alpha as soon as I type \al. I can then hit tab to finish it. The problem is that it doesn't change \alpha to α right away. I am able to reliably get it to convert once the focus leaves the textbook (fancy way of saying click outside the box).

This is good to know because, unlike the old editor, it always defaults to non-direct entry of LaTeX instead of advanced mode.

Now, what about direct entry mode?

When direct entry of LaTeX is enabled, there is a delay before it displays the code. Probably longer than you want to wait, but it cuts down on the number of renders. Without looking at the code, it looks like they are using some kind of debounce function that waits until the user has stopped typing for predetermined time before rendering. If I type \alpha123456 at a slow pace but less than about 1 s between characters, it doesn't render until I'm done with 6.

Rendering is now done in the browser using MathJax. It used to be sent over the web to be rendered (I haven't checked that behavior recently, but I know at one time that Canvas was using the mathman microservice.

The $$and$$ wrapped around the input is MathJax's way of saying it doesn't understand the input. It doesn't recognize it as valid LaTeX. Mostly. It may be that you might have some valid LaTeX, but then there is an issue.

If I type \alph then I get a red \alph.

If I type \alpha\bet, then I get α followed by a red \bet: α\bet.

If I start to type a LaTeX macro with the backslash \ but don't put anything after it I get a different result. For example, if I type \alpha\, then it doesn't know what the next part is going to be and this where it shows the  enclosure: $$\alpha\$$

If I click Done on the last one, it inserts an equation image with an α, but the title and LaTeX are \alpha\.

The same issue happens if I type just a \ at the beginning, it renders as $$\$$, which is the \ inside the $$and$$ enclosure.

If I type \alpha followed by a space, it renders properly, not the $$\alpha$$ that Elena is seeing.

That said, there are definitely some weirdness in editing. When I was not in direct mode, I had trouble getting it to delete the α that I got after the text field lost focus and then regained it. It may be that there was some problem with \ that hadn't cleared out. It's hard to say for sure as I'm unable to duplicate it.

As with any new feature, I would make sure the browser cache is cleared and potentially that cookies are cleared (I used to think that didn't matter, until the one time that it actually solved my problem). You can also open the developer tools on the page (F12 in Chrome) and switch to the console to see if there are any error messages being thrown. Those messages may not be as forthcoming as they once were -- Canvas has started using Sentry, which grabs error messages and routes them to Canvas rather than the console.

I did notice that there were some SameSite messages "Some cookies are misusing the SameSite attribute." It then says Cookie “rce.htmleditor” will be soon rejected because it has the “SameSite” attribute set to “None” or an invalid value, without the “secure” attribute. To know more about the “SameSite“ attribute, read https://developer.mozilla.org/docs/Web/HTTP/Headers/Set-Cookie/SameSite

Community Participant

James, that bug/feature, whatever you want to call it, of being able to type in LaTeX without enabling direct entry of LaTeX and having that typeset if you click inside the editor window but outside of the input box can be a decent workaround for now, so thanks for sharing that observation.

But while you experience a 6 second or so delay, others, like myself and the two other commenters, are not getting it to render at all, even after waiting minutes.  I see the $$\alpha$$ below forever :(.

Community Champion

Elena ( @ezaurova )

If your institution has a support package with Canvas, be sure to submit a help ticket. I'm not sure that a bunch of us complaining in the Community makes it to the people that need to fix it. For those without institutional support packages, the Community is the place to get help, but I saw @KristinL  telling someone to break it into multiple complaints rather than one complaint with three (they missed some) issues.

Community Novice

I'm having problems with some of the changes as well.

The chief complaint from my students is that they can no longer move the editor window so that if they are creating a post, they can see the previous portions of their post while using the editor.

But there also seems to be a problem with the basic integral symbol.  I haven't found a way to produce an indefinite integral without going into "Directly Edit LaTeX" mode.  If you produce an integral symbol in basic mode, the editor seems to assume that you will be filling in limits of integration.  If you leave them blank (or try to erase them or put in white space) the editor can produce something like:

\int_{\placeholder{⬚}}^{\placeholder{⬚}}xdx

or like

\int_^

neither of which will actually produce a symbolic result.

Since this update I've also had two students create posts which disappeared once they hit "Post Reply".  I'm not sure if it is a related problem, but I have never had it happen prior to the recent update.

Community Participant

@James For sure.  I submitted the ticket yesterday when I realized from @Ron_Bowman's screenshots that what I was seeing wasn't the intended behavior.

Community Participant

By the way, this hasn't been "solved".  The issue is that the rendering seems to work fine when working with the equation editor in an Assignment, but doesn't work when using it in a Quiz.  This might be the reason some of us are seeing it render fine and others are not.  I've submitted the bug report already and they're investigating the issue.  But rather than marking this as "solved", it would be great if others who are experiencing this bug also reported it.

Community Coach

Good catch on it not operating the same in different areas.  I cannot remember what I tested it in - probably an assignment.  I imagine that wherever the RCE can be used should be tested by Instructure to ensure that it is working properly

Community Champion

While I agree that the issue isn't resolved, solved doesn't mean the same that it did in the old community software. Solved now seems to mean that it answered someone's question, not necessarily that the original question was answered or that the person marking the answer as a solution is the same as the person who originally posted the question. They have made it so that anyone can mark a question as solved.

From the Community FAQ: When community members answer one of your questions, you can choose the answer or answers you think are the most useful, helpful, or accurate and mark them as a solution. If you have two answers that give part of the solution, you can accept both.

In other words, I could mark your response about it not being solved as a solution.

Community Participant

Thanks @James.  Fortunately, it seems they did just fix the issue.  I got an email a couple of hours ago letting me know they deployed a fix.  I just checked, and it's now rendering as expected in the editor in a Quiz.  @sszabo You should check that it's also working as expected on your end.

Community Participant

@ezaurova  Yes, it works well. I like this community, because if there is a problem they solve it (or at least try to find some solution). ❤️

Community Participant
Well, it might be a fix for some issue - but the whole new equation editor in itself is flawed. Honestly nobody can tell me that it is useful when trying to enter an equation using the buttons, and it definitely is worse when it comes to the direct entering of LaTeX-code.