Is there an elegant way to enter equations?

Title says it all – I have some questions I’d like to ask but not sure how to enter the equations.

Elegant? Nope.

What sort of things are you trying to enter? Subscripts/superscripts? Special symbols? Alignment issues?

If you have something really complicted like a matrix equation, format in LaTex or whatever, convert it to an image and post a link to the image (no Photobucket, please).

Bummer. Is that something worth asking about or is it just too hard to add to the board software?

You could just enter the equations in a non-elegant way.

Like, the quadratic formula would be x = [-b ± sqrt(b[sup]2[/sup] - 4ac)]/(2a)

Inelegant, sure, but most people can at least figure out what it means.

Other alternatives include what ftg suggested, or handwrite the equations and take a picture and post it somewhere. Or if you can find someplace on the internet where the equation you want to ask about already exists, you could link to it.

You can go quite a ways with judicious use of sub-/superscript, and something like wiki’s list of mathematical unicode characters:

   ∂           ⎧  ℏ[sup]2[/sup]           ⎫
iℏ -- 𝛹(𝖗,t) = ⎪− -- ∆ + V(𝖗,t)⎪ 𝛹(𝖗,t)
   ∂t          ⎩  2m           ⎭

It’ll never end up being pretty, and it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth, but you can usually get something that’s at least parsable.

There’s a LaTeX plugin for vBulletin, but it hammers the server pretty hard. As written, I believe it rerenders the equation every single time the page loads which is obviously very dumb. A smarter plugin would do that once and link it to an image host. I don’t believe such a plugin exists, given the relative rarity of people depraved enough to use LaTeX.

How do you use Unicode in vBulletin, once you’ve identified the proper character code?

Here is a famous equation due to Leonhard Euler, rendered in LaTeX.
\frac{\pi ^2}{6} = \sum _{k=1} ^\infty \frac{1}{k^2}
I went to, entered the above text, and clicked ‘Make URL.’ It gave me this:
Another website gave me this:\frac{\pi%20^2}{6}%20%3D%20\sum%20_{k%3D1}%20^\infty%20\frac{1}{k^2} &bc=White&fc=Black&im=jpg&fs=12&ff=arev&edit=0

There may be other, better, sites to do something similar. Unfortunately, none of them will do you much good at SDMB since SDMB doesn’t allow embedded images — the reader would have to click on the URL to see the equation.

There is a (free?) add-on for the (VBulletin?) software to render LaTeX equations. I doubt SDMB will be installing it any time soon — the management here refuses to fix the known and easily-fixed bugs in Sultanthemes, despite that BigT has already designed the fixes and donated them for free.

(I guess there are add-ons for Chrome and Firefox that will display LaTeX in some cases. But only Dopers with that add-on could see your equation.)

Oooops. That one doesn’t seem to work. Well, I think there are other sites to display such images. (… Unless the one I saw was just a loss-leader waiting for appreciative users before turning on its pay-per-view mode.)

ETA: Forgot my .sig again.
Since we’re in ATMB:
Is there a way to make “Show signature” the default?
I know it’s the default with Sultanbugs. Thanks but no thanks.