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I have been using m \times n to denote the size of a matrix. But lately I've decided that it has too much space and doesn't look quite right (to me). Presumably the largish spaces are present because LaTeX treats \times as a mathematical operator -- it thinks I'm writing $m$ multiplied by $n$.

So, I'd like to define a \by symbol, so that I can write m \by n instead of m \times n, and get reduced spacing. The obvious approach is to define \by to be \hspace{-0.1em}\times\hspace{-0.1em}, or something like that.

Does that seem like a good approach? I'm a bit worried about what will happen if I use this in superscripts.

Edit: I ended up using

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do you want the result of $m{\times}n$ or is that too tight? – David Carlisle Jan 22 at 14:12
Looks pretty good. Because the "times" glyph has some space built into it, I suppose. That was easy. Thanks again. – bubba Jan 22 at 14:23
@bubba, you edited over my edited. – Sigur Jan 22 at 14:32
@bubba, now I edited again. If you wish, please, change but be careful. – Sigur Jan 22 at 14:34
\newcommand*\by{{\times}} would be the nice approach that david suggested and then use $m \by n$. – Manuel Jan 22 at 17:46
up vote 18 down vote accepted

You could use $m{\times}n$ so that you get mathord spacing (i.e. no extra space) rather than the default mathbin spacing,

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