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I know that \: in LaTeX produces a space when rendered.

Are there any alternatives, because my LaTeX renderer doesn't support \: (it renders it as text), and there is no help / FAQ that I can find.

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1 Answer

up vote 126 down vote accepted

There are a number of horizontal spacing macros for LaTeX:

  1. \, inserts a \thinspace (equivalent to .16667em) in text mode, or \thinmuskip (equivalent to 3mu) in math mode;
  2. \! inserts a negative \thinmuskip in math mode;
  3. \> inserts \medmuskip (equivalent to 4.0mu plus 2.0mu minus 4.0mu) in math mode;
  4. \; inserts \thickmuskip (equivalent to 5.0mu plus 5.0mu) in math mode;
  5. \: is equivalent to \> (see above);
  6. \enspace inserts a space of .5em in text or math mode;
  7. \quad inserts a space of 1em in text or math mode;
  8. \qquad inserts a space of 2em in text or math mode;
  9. \kern <len> inserts a skip of <len> in text or math mode (a plain TeX skip);
  10. \hskip <len> (similar to \kern);
  11. \hspace{<len>} inserts a space of length <len> in math or text mode (a LaTeX \hskip);
  12. \hphantom{<stuff>} inserts space of length equivalent to <stuff> in math or text mode. Should be \protected when used in fragile commands (like \caption and sectional headings);
  13. \  inserts what is called a "control space" (in text or math mode);
  14. ~ inserts an "unbreakable" space (similar to an HTML &nbsp;) (in text or math mode);
  15. \hfill inserts a so-called "rubber length" or stretch between elements (in text or math mode). Note that you may need to provide a type of anchor to fill from/to; see What is the difference between \hspace*{\fill} and \hfill?;

Your usage should work in math mode, so try $\:$.

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There are a number of horizontal spacing macros for LaTeX:

  \verb|a\,b| & a\,b \\
  \verb|$a\,b$| & $a\,b$ \\
  \verb|a\thinspace b| & a\thinspace b \\
  \verb|$a\thinspace b$| & $a\thinspace b$ \\
  \verb|$a\!b$| & $a\!b$ \\
  \verb|$a\mkern-\thinmuskip b$| & $a\mkern-\thinmuskip b$ \\
  \verb|$a\>b$| & $a\>b$ \\
  \verb|$a\mkern\medmuskip b$| & $a\mkern\medmuskip b$ \\
  \verb|$a\;b$| & $a\;b$ \\
  \verb|$a\mkern\thickmuskip b$| & $a\mkern\thickmuskip b$ \\
  \verb|$a\:b$| & $a\:b$ \\
  \verb|$a\mkern\medmuskip b$| & $a\mkern\medmuskip b$ \\
  \verb|a\enspace b| & a\enspace b \\
  \verb|$a\enspace b$| & $a\enspace b$ \\
  \verb|a\quad b| & a\quad b \\
  \verb|$a\quad b$| & $a\quad b$ \\
  \verb|a\qquad b| & a\qquad b \\
  \verb|$a\qquad b$| & $a\qquad b$ \\
  \verb|a\hskip 1em b| & a\hskip 1em b \\
  \verb|$a\hskip 1em b$| & $a\hskip 1em b$ \\
  \verb|a\kern 1pc b| & a\kern 1pc b \\
  \verb|$a\kern 1pc b$| & $a\kern 1pc b$ \\
  \verb|a\hspace{35pt}b| & a\hspace{35pt}b \\
  \verb|$a\hspace{35pt}b$| & $a\hspace{35pt}b$ \\
  \verb|axyzb| & axyzb \\
  \verb|a\hphantom{xyz}b| & a\hphantom{xyz}b \\
  \verb|$axyzb$| & $axyzb$ \\
  \verb|$a\hphantom{xyz}b$| & $a\hphantom{xyz}b$ \\
  \verb|a\ b| & a\ b \\
  \verb|$a\ b$| & $a\ b$ \\
  \verb|a~b| & a~b \\
  \verb|$a~b$| & $a~b$ \\
  \verb|a\hfill b| & a\hfill b \\
  \verb|$a\hfill b$| & $a\hfill b$
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thanks for the good reference. –  think123 Sep 25 '12 at 1:25
May I add \hfil and \hfill –  deshmukh Oct 10 '12 at 6:13
@deshmukh: Sure! –  Werner Oct 10 '12 at 6:14
@Werner -- \ (backslash space) inserts a space equivalent to a word space; would be usefully added. also, in tabbing, \> will "add space" as a function of skipping to the next "tab stop"; adding this information may or may not be useful. –  barbara beeton Jan 28 at 15:14
Wonderful update. Keep it up –  azetina Jan 29 at 23:08
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