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When I started to write my thesis I decided not to make things too complicated and to just type mathematical symbols each time they appear, like $V_{s1}$ or ${CV_{D,\, \mathrm{Si}}^{*}}$

Now, finally I regretted and defined macros for each of them to

  • avoid typing errors and typeset them always the same way
  • make typing easier (by less characters to type and by being able to use the command completion feature of the editor.

Like that:

 \newcommand{\FZ}[1]{\textcolor{blue}{\ensuremath{#1}}\xspace}
 \newcommand{\CvDSi}{\FZ{CV_{D,\, \mathrm{Si}}^{*}}}
 \newcommand{\Vs}{\FZ{V_{\mathrm{s}1}}}

(the (missing) blue color will help me to see where something is still typset "by hand" and the blue text color surely will be removed for the final version).

Questions:

Is there a more elegant way to typeset complex mathematical symbols which have to be used 100 times in a thesis?

Is there a way to automatically create a list (table) of those symbols, maybe even with a link to the equation/page where they are defined?
There was a post naming several possible solutions: List of mathematical notation / abbreviations. I never used an index in LaTeX yet - which one would be to prefer in my case?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

For the second question: I haven't checked out the alternatives, but nomencl is what I've had experience with for making a list of symbols.

\newcommand{\Vs}[1]{\FZ{V_{\mathrm{s}#1}}}
\makenomenclature

somewhere in the preamble, plus something like

In some subspace $\Vs{1}$, something happens.\nomenclature{$\Vs{1}$}{A special subspace}

in the main body.

Use an editor or other tool (latexmk, make, etc.) that will automatically run the makeindex command for you, too. On TeXnicCenter with TeX Live 2010, we made a copy of the LaTeX => PDF build profile called LaTeX => PDF (Nomenclature) that runs makeindex each time, and uses the arguments "%tm".nlo -s nomencl.ist -o "%tm".nls. We don't normally use makeindex for anything but nomenclatures, though.

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In TeXnicCenter you can use the makeindex thing like this:

  1. click on build and then on define output profiles
  2. click to add a new one
  3. only allow the makeindex to run
  4. path to the executable: C:\Program Files (x86)\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin\makeindex.exe
  5. notice that step 4 you have to find where the makeindex.exe is on your computer
  6. fill in --> "%tm".nlo -s nomencl.ist -o "%tm".nls for the command line
  7. run this new output profile twice
  8. run one time your old build profile (Latex to pdf)
  9. once you run two times the new build profile, you don't have to run it again, except if you make new entries
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