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I'm looking for the \ddot{a} character which doesn't require me to put it into a formula or between $ characters. Can anyone help me, please?


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Welcome to TeX.SX! You mean the dieresis/umlaut? \"{a}. –  egreg Jun 14 '12 at 13:36
Please provide some additional information, e.g., regarding the document class you use, the font(s) you use, and whether you use pdf(la)tex, xe(la)tex, or lua(la)tex. Separately, are you looking, in essence, to typeset "a with an Umlaut"? If so, you should probably be typesetting it either as \"a or input it directly (assuming that your text editor knows how to handle more than just the most basic ASCII set of characters). –  Mico Jun 14 '12 at 13:41
I'm using a custom document class and I use pdflatex to compile the document. Thanks, I tried with your suggestions and it works, but it gives me the same result of ddot: the a letter is in italic and it use another font. –  auino Jun 14 '12 at 13:44
@auino Please, add an example of what you're trying. –  egreg Jun 14 '12 at 14:24
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To typeset a letter with an Umlaut in text mode, you should never use the math-mode macro \ddot:

  • the dots will not be placed properly according to text-mode conventions
  • the argument of the \ddot command (if writing in German, likely a, o, or u) will be typeset in math-italics rather than the (probably desired) upright or "roman" text mode. (Incidentally, even if you do want the text in question to be set in italics, you should know that there are some subtle but noticeable differences when these vowels are set in text-italics or math-italics -- at least when using Computer Modern fonts. E.g., in math-italics the three vowels are slightly wider and the "lower-right tails" of the a and u are spaced a bit more widely.)

To typeset letters with an Umlaut (dieresis), you could

  • Use the "standard TeX/LaTeX" method, viz., \"a, \"o, etc.

  • If using babel, use the applicable shorthand command (e.g., with german, type "a, ...

  • If using a minimally competent editor, you can probably enter the characters directly. (Be sure to also provide a statement such as \usepackage[utf8]{fontenc}.)

Any of these methods will automatically switch between roman and italics letters depending on which font shape is in effect when the commands are processed by LaTeX.

In addition, consider using a font family (such as Latin Modern) that contains optimized glyphs for characters with umlauts, adding also \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

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