# What is a good way to typeset dot-separated acronyms?

I am trying to find a good appearance for typesetting "C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.". When I type it as is, it appears to me that P.U.L. are bunched up together while the other letters are well apart. Perhaps this is unavoidable. I was wondering if there is a way other than the default way to produce a better result.

\documentclass[border=2pt]{standalone}

\begin{document}
C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.
\end{document}


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This is another reason why dot separated acronyms are a bad thing. :) – egreg Jul 11 '12 at 17:08
Simple answer: without the dots – Brent.Longborough Jul 27 '12 at 23:54

Consider the following plain TeX file.

\tracingonline2

\setbox0\hbox{CATAPULT}\showbox0

\setbox0\hbox{C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.}\showbox0

\bye


It produces the following log

> \box0=
\hbox(6.83331+0.0)x54.72229
.\tenrm C
.\tenrm A
.\kern-0.83334
.\tenrm T
.\kern-0.83334
.\tenrm A
.\tenrm P
.\tenrm U
.\tenrm L
.\kern-0.83334
.\tenrm T

! OK.
l.5 \setbox0\hbox{CATAPULT}\showbox0

?
> \box0=
\hbox(6.83331+0.0)x78.61127
.\tenrm C
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm A
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm T
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm A
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm P
.\kern-0.83334
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm U
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm L
.\tenrm .
.\tenrm T
.\tenrm .

! OK.
l.7 \setbox0\hbox{C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.}\showbox0


Which shows that without the dots, the font supplies some negative spacing to account for the visual mis-match in ATA However with the dots not only do you not get that, the font supplies a kern to pull the . closer to the P which in this case exaggerates the differences. I think you need to add \kern-0.01em between the letters for whatever values you judge by eye to look better,

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Thanks. This teaches me how to dig deeper into what TeX is doing! – Maesumi Jul 11 '12 at 17:51

You can use the command \textsc to let LaTeX make kerning.

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}
\noindent
\begin{table}
\begin{tabular}{rl}
\verb|\textsc{C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.}| &\textsc{C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.} \\
\verb|C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.|          &C.A.T.A.P.U.L.T.\\
\verb|\textsc{c.a.t.a.p.u.l.t.}| &\textsc{c.a.t.a.p.u.l.t.}\\
\end{tabular}
\end{table}

\end{document}

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