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How do I get a really wide tilde?

I need to cover at least abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

The \widetilde command does not work. Nor using \stackrel with \sim.

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2  
Welcome to TeX.SX! There's no such thing: the result would be appalling. –  egreg Jul 16 '12 at 20:27
    
Couldn't resist implementing Paulo's attempt from meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/2605/… ;). @Lilia, please don't take this personally in any way! –  doncherry Jul 16 '12 at 21:02
    
@Mico Seeing that you, egreg and David (i.e. everybody who participated in this question) disliked the aesthetics of the output, and seeing that our mod Stefan actually suggested this method, which almost makes it policy, I thought it'd be applicable here. I wouldn't have applied the tag without a wink though. Feel free to revert it -- it might be worthwhile bringing up the issue on meta again, if we really want to apply this or not. If we don't want to do it when people like David Carlisle and egreg agree, I don't know when we would want to. –  doncherry Jul 16 '12 at 21:36
1  
@doncherry I did not comment on any aesthetic implied by the question, merely on the result of my proposed solution (which is depressingly flat in the middle) (there is some parallel discussion in the chat session). –  David Carlisle Jul 16 '12 at 22:34
3  
wouldn't it be better to present this as (...)^{\sim} ? –  barbara beeton Jul 19 '12 at 21:05
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3 Answers

Given the year since this solution was posted, I have learned quite a bit, and so I REEDIT this answer to correct deficiencies like "wrong vertical axis", "does not scale with mathstyle", "extra dead-zone width", etc. This new result uses the 10 MAR 2014 version of scalerel, so you may have to update.

At the end of the MWE, I show how I determined the .2mu and .5467 parameters used in the new macro. A user doesn't need to pay attention to it, but if one wanted to adapt this to a different top decoration, a similar procedure would come in handy. In a nutshell, I kerned away the space on the sides of \sim and determined the kern trim mismatch of .2mu. This was added into the macro, so that the tilde would not be offset left or right relative to the argument. I also calculated the aspect ratio of the trimmed \sim as .5467. In the macro, this is multiplied by \wd0, the argument width, to indicate how tall a scaled \sim would have to be to horizontally stretch over the width of the argument. I then squash it down to vertically to the desired height.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{scalerel}[2014/03/10]
\usepackage{stackengine}

\newcommand\reallywidetilde[1]{\ThisStyle{%
  \setbox0=\hbox{$\SavedStyle#1$}%
  \stackengine{-.1\LMpt}{$\SavedStyle#1$}{%
    \stretchto{\scaleto{\SavedStyle\mkern.2mu\sim}{.5467\wd0}}{.7\ht0}%
%    .2mu is the kern imbalance when clipping white space
%    .5467++++ is \ht/[kerned \wd] aspect ratio for \sim glyph
  }{O}{c}{F}{T}{S}%
}}

\def\test#1{$%
  \reallywidetilde{#1}\,
  \scriptstyle\reallywidetilde{#1}\,
  \scriptscriptstyle\reallywidetilde{#1}
$\par}

\parskip 1ex
\begin{document}

\test{abcdefghijklm}
\test{abcdefghijk}
\test{abcdefghi}
\test{abcdefg}
\test{abcde}
\test{abc}
\test{ab}

How .55 multiplier in scaleto was determined:
\fboxsep=0pt\fboxrule=.1pt
\setbox0=\hbox{$\mkern-.86mu\sim\mkern-1.06mu$}

kerned width: \the\wd0, height: \the\ht0, 

kerned sim glyph: \fbox{\box0}

Net kern imbalance: $-0.86\mu - (-1.06\mu) = 0.20\mu$

aspect ratio: height/width = 0.5467

\end{document}

enter image description here

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This is the most elegant solution out of the several above that I tried. Incidentally, I had vertical alignment problems (the tilde in tension with the text below it) until I edited as #1\\ <CR> \rule{-1ex}{0ex} before \end{array} as in tex.stackexchange.com/questions/100574/really-wide-hat-symbol/… –  MarkWayne Mar 19 at 20:43
    
@MarkWayne Thanks so much. Glad to help. You are right on the vertical alignment. With what I've learned this last year, I'll work on an improvement. –  Steven B. Segletes Mar 19 at 23:18
    
@MarkWayne Please see improved revision. –  Steven B. Segletes Mar 20 at 1:09
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You could load the mtpro2 (Mathtime Pro 2) to generate superwide tildes. An MWE (minimum working example) that shows how to do this is given below. First, though, some comments about this package: In addition to letting you do lots of really cool and useful things, this package also allows you create a summation symbol that's a full two inches (5 centimeters) [!!] tall. The font's creator issues the following warning regarding the use of such a symbol:

... thereby assuring yourself (as well as the designer of the MathTime fonts) the lasting enmity of journal editors everywhere. [Direct quote from p. 14 of the package's user guide]

This warning applies not only to using super-tall summation symbols; it certainly applies to super-wide tilde and hat symbols as well. Put differently: Just because the mtpro package lets you create certain questionable things (such as super-tall summation symbols and super-wide tildes) doesn't mean that you have to do them.

Here, then, is an MWE that uses the mtpro2 package to place a ridiculously wide tilde over both abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz and abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (ooooh!).

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[lite]{mtpro2}
\begin{document}
$\widetilde{\mathit{abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz}}$

$\widetilde{\mathit{abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz}}$
\end{document}

enter image description here

Addendum: The full mtpro2 package is not free. However, its so-called lite subset -- which is all that's required to produce the rather dubious effects shown above, is free. This package is not on the CTAN, but it may be downloaded from this site.

Second addendum (March 2013): The mtpro2 package can also be used to produce super-wide "hat" symbols, by using its \widehat command.

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7  
I stand corrected: there is such a thing. But the result is appalling, so I wasn't completely wrong. –  egreg Jul 16 '12 at 20:47
    
@egreg - I fully agree with you that the effect is appalling. I suspect that the availability of these super-wide accents in the mtpro2 package is merely a by-product of having some truly useful capabilities such as "real" tall curly braces (both vertical as well as horizontal -- the latter for overbrace and underbrace constructions, I suppose). I would certainly hope that any author who actually submitted a paper containing such appalling wide-accented constructs to a journal would indeed earn the immediate and lasting enmity of all editors. –  Mico Jul 16 '12 at 21:00
    
Mico:I will download now the mtpro2 package that you suggest. Thank you indeed for your help. –  Lilia Del Riego Jul 17 '12 at 15:41
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It's sort of horrible, but it does stretch:

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}

\makeatletter
\def\oversortoftilde#1{\mathop{\vbox{\m@th\ialign{##\crcr\noalign{\kern3\p@}%
      \sortoftildefill\crcr\noalign{\kern3\p@\nointerlineskip}%
      $\hfil\displaystyle{#1}\hfil$\crcr}}}\limits}

\def\sortoftildefill{$\m@th \setbox\z@\hbox{$\braceld$}%
  \braceld\leaders\vrule \@height\ht\z@ \@depth\z@\hfill\braceru$}

\makeatother

\begin{document}

\[ \widetilde{abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz}\]
\[ \oversortoftilde{abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz}\]

\end{document}
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Thank you, David... Indeed thank you –  Lilia Del Riego Jul 17 '12 at 15:40
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