The `Z C` (`calc-user-define-composition`

) command lets you
define the display format for any algebraic function. You provide a
formula containing a certain number of argument variables on the stack.
Any time Calc formats a call to the specified function in the current
language mode and with that number of arguments, Calc effectively
replaces the function call with that formula with the arguments
replaced.

Calc builds the default argument list by sorting all the variable names
that appear in the formula into alphabetical order. You can edit this
argument list before pressing `RET` if you wish. Any variables in
the formula that do not appear in the argument list will be displayed
literally; any arguments that do not appear in the formula will not
affect the display at all.

You can define formats for built-in functions, for functions you have
defined with `Z F` (see Programming with Formulas), or for functions
which have no definitions but are being used as purely syntactic objects.
You can define different formats for each language mode, and for each
number of arguments, using a succession of `Z C` commands. When
Calc formats a function call, it first searches for a format defined
for the current language mode (and number of arguments); if there is
none, it uses the format defined for the Normal language mode. If
neither format exists, Calc uses its built-in standard format for that
function (usually just ‘` func(args)`’).

If you execute `Z C` with the number 0 on the stack instead of a
formula, any defined formats for the function in the current language
mode will be removed. The function will revert to its standard format.

For example, the default format for the binomial coefficient function
‘`choose(n, m)`’ in the Big language mode is

n ( ) m

You might prefer the notation,

C n m

To define this notation, first make sure you are in Big mode, then put the formula

choriz([cvert([cvspace(1), n]), C, cvert([cvspace(1), m])])

on the stack and type `Z C`. Answer the first prompt with
`choose`

. The second prompt will be the default argument list
of ‘`(C m n)`’. Edit this list to be ‘`(n m)`’ and press
`RET`. Now, try it out: For example, turn simplification
off with `m O` and enter ‘`choose(a,b) + choose(7,3)`’
as an algebraic entry.

C + C a b 7 3

As another example, let’s define the usual notation for Stirling
numbers of the first kind, ‘`stir1(n, m)`’. This is just like
the regular format for binomial coefficients but with square brackets
instead of parentheses.

choriz([string("["), cvert([n, cbase(cvspace(1)), m]), string("]")])

Now type `Z C stir1 RET`, edit the argument list to
‘

The formula provided to `Z C` usually will involve composition
functions, but it doesn’t have to. Putting the formula ‘`a + b + c`’
onto the stack and typing `Z C foo RET RET` would define
the function ‘

The special function `eval`

can be used inside a `Z C`
composition formula to cause all or part of the formula to be
evaluated at display time. For example, if the formula is
‘`a + eval(b + c)`’, then ‘`foo(1, 2, 3)`’ will be displayed
as ‘`1 + 5`’. Evaluation will use the default simplifications,
regardless of the current simplification mode. There are also
`evalsimp`

and `evalextsimp`

which simplify as if by
`a s` and `a e` (respectively). Note that these “functions”
operate only in the context of composition formulas (and also in
rewrite rules, where they serve a similar purpose; see Rewrite Rules). On the stack, a call to `eval`

will be left in
symbolic form.

It is not a good idea to use `eval`

except as a last resort.
It can cause the display of formulas to be extremely slow. For
example, while ‘`eval(a + b)`’ might seem quite fast and simple,
there are several situations where it could be slow. For example,
‘`a`’ and/or ‘`b`’ could be polar complex numbers, in which
case doing the sum requires trigonometry. Or, ‘`a`’ could be
the factorial ‘`fact(100)`’ which is unevaluated because you
have typed `m O`; `eval`

will evaluate it anyway to
produce a large, unwieldy integer.

You can save your display formats permanently using the `Z P`
command (see Creating User Keys).