Browser compatibility

The bane of a web author's life today is the compatibility of HTML with the browsers in use by readers. This is particularly true of pages containing mathematical formulae. When all browsers can handle the HTML 4.0 'character entity references' the pain will ease.

The table below lists the subset of these characters used at Compare the images in the left hand column with whatever you see in the adjacent column - they should be broadly similar. If instead you see nothing, or lots of question marks (?) or symbols like

or sequences like


then your browser will not show all the pages here correctly.

Character entity subset
Up arrow
Integral sign
Partial differential
& Ampersand
µ micro
Approximately equal to
± Plus or minus
× Multiplication sign (times)
½ Fraction one half
  Non-breaking space
Thin space
° Degree of temperature
² Superscript digit two
Real symbol
Square root sign
æ ae ligature
é Lower case e with acute accent
è Lower case e with grave accent
ð Lower case eth
Φ Upper case Greek letter phi
θ Lower case Greek letter theta
ε Lower case Greek letter epsilon
λ Lower case Greek letter lambda
μ Lower case Greek letter mu
π Lower case Greek letter pi
χ Lower case Greek letter chi
ψ Lower case Greek letter psi
ω Lower case Greek letter omega

Usually, more up to date browsers have better compatibility with these character entities. Usually. You may also get better results by selecting a different font or switching to the Unicode character set. Having the 'symbol' font present on your system may make a difference. There also appears to be a dependence upon the operating system (again, later versions tend to give better results).

Most browsers can now display .PNG format images like this one Test image in .PNG format. If yours cannot then newer illustrations here won't be shown.

[Up sign Electronic Services index] [Alan Wood on entity refs]

Last modified: 2004 May 12th.