TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I noticed that while \mathit{AHfi} sets the spaces and ligatures correctly (like \operatorname), the letters look narrower than the ones produced by \mathnormal{AHfi}. Is there a way to typeset a multi-letter math operator in the mathnormal font?

share|improve this question
Welcome to TeX.sx!A tip: If you indent lines by 4 spaces or enclose words in backticks `, they'll be marked as code, as can be seen in my edit. You can also highlight the code and click the "code" button (with "{}" on it). – percusse Mar 6 '13 at 14:33
up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, you should use \mathit or \mathrm (or higher level constructs like \DeclareMathOperator) for multi-letter identifiers. The math italic (\mathnormal) font is specifically designed so that characters have larger sidebearings to separate them so that abc looks like an implied product of a times b times c rather than the identifier abc. This is a property of the font itself and not something under the control of TeX.

share|improve this answer
Thank you. I'm asking this because I think I've seen multi-letter identifiers typeset in this way, e.g., on page 20 of the book "Principles of Model Checking" by Baier and Katoen (a link to a pdf of the book can be easily found by googling), in the definition of transition systems, the set "Act" is typeset in the mathnormal font. – warakawa Mar 6 '13 at 15:12
well there's nothing to stop someone using $Act$ or even $A\mkern-1mu ct$ as a single identifier if they wish, it is just that the font is not designed for that use. – David Carlisle Mar 6 '13 at 15:30
@warakawa I'm afraid that a book dealing substantially with math that doesn't use amsmath for its typesetting can't be regarded as a model for typography. The usage of eqnarray on page 25 is revealing. ;-) Also the usage of $Act$ or $\mathit{Act} is not consistent: either can be found. – egreg Mar 6 '13 at 16:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.