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Add \overline to Math to Basic Math Equation Editor

Add \overline to Math to Basic Math Equation Editor

I am resubmitting part of an idea that was proposed last month by Glenn Johnson, Place x-bar and p-hat on the Equation Editor toolbar.


I teach introductory statistics and one of the most common symbols that we use is an x with a bar over it, the symbol for a sample mean.


Currently, this symbol can only be created in the advanced equation editor:


206393_Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 6.42.46 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-23 at 6.42.46 PM.png



This requires knowledge of LaTeX.  The vast majority of my students are not statistics majors so they have no experience with LaTeX and it's really extraneous to the course so I don't want to spend too much time teaching it to them.


It would be awesome if the \overline function was added to the basic equation editor which is easier for students to use.


Do you want \bar or \overline ?

\bar x will give you an x-bar, but the \bar is only for a single character and it doesn't require braces afterwards.

\overline will go over more than one character, but requires braces: \overline{AB}

For the sample mean, the proper LaTeX would be: \bar x

The spacing above the characters is also different depending on the method. Here is how \bar x \overline{x} \overline{AB} renders:


Likewise, you can go \hat p to get a p-hat. If you need a hat over two-characters, then use \widehat{AB}

Community Member

In the basic equation editor I think it would make more sense to just include \overline as this could be used for one character or multiple characters.  If it is built into the basic equation editor then there would be no need for braces. Though, in my situation the braces are unnecessary anyhow because we only ever put the bar over one character ("\overline x").  Additionally, I find the bar produced with \overline to be easier to see than the one produced with \bar; the difference is subtle, but working with adult learners I like the slightly more visable bar.

I would also like to see \widehat added. This was included in original idea posting but we were told that this is actually a separate idea. 

Community Team
Community Team

Thank you for submitting this as an independent feature idea! Learn more about the feature idea process and how to champion your idea.

Your feature idea will be open for vote from Wed. November 2, 2016 - Wed. February 1, 2017.

Learner II

Please yes​!  It may not be something Instructure can do as I think they import the equation editor but I have to train others on how to do this if they are not using LaTex and already familiar with statistics.  My vote x 10 here Smiley Happy 

- Melanie


Those definitions are contained in two files, both under Canvas' control:

EquationToolbarView.handlebars​ and mathquill.js

I would also like to point out The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List​, although not all of those are available inside Canvas.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. November 2, 2016 - Wed. February 1, 2017.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Community Member

I agree that x-bar and other statistical functions need more support in the basic Math editor. I am not sure how to add additional notation to a summation (Σ) other than direct LaTeX entry. I'm not sure all math instructors and certainly not all students know LaTeX.

Community Member


Yes, I agree! In my introductory statistics course we don't use anything beyond a simple Σx, but I can see how instructors of mathematics courses or upper level statistics courses would need something more advanced.  I would also like to see \widehat added, and I'm sure there are others that will come up along the way as well. It would be great if the equation editor in Canvas were as similar as possible to the one that my students often use in Word.

Community Member

How does the textbook represent averages in an introductory statistics class?  I am also hoping that upper and lower limits of summations are shown also in the textbook.

Community Member


This is how we present the formula in our introductory statistics course.  This particular course tries to focus on conceptual aspects as much as possible as opposed to formulas and calculations, so we try to keep the formulas as simple as possible.