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I want to put some short words in certain subscripts when I am in math mode, for example:

\[W_{total} = \sum{W_i}\]

but I think LaTeX understands this as the product of t, o, t, a and l.

Is in any case this way the right way, or is there any other one?

By the way, I have tried


but it is not fine for me. (A bit ugly) Forget that.

share|improve this question
Could you elaborate why you find it ugly. – Caramdir Jan 23 '11 at 16:59
@Caramdir bah, I made a mistake. Forget that – astrojuanlu Jan 23 '11 at 21:31
up vote 6 down vote accepted

What you have tried is the right way. You can simplify it slightly and play with other fonts:

$$ W_\textrm{total} = \sum_i W_i $$

To make it prettier I'd suggest to think about the use of variables and indices in your work. For example, you could reserve W (without index) for the total which is the sum of w_i (lowercase w). This way you can avoid long subscripts.

share|improve this answer
As this is a LaTeX question, stick with \[ ... \] rather than $$ ... $$. Also, I'd recommend W_{\textrm{total}} with braces around the subscript text. – Joseph Wright Jan 23 '11 at 18:01
Thank you for your answer; your suggestion about subscripts was useful too :) By the way, is there any difference between \textrm and \text? – astrojuanlu Jan 23 '11 at 21:34
@Juan Yes, \textrm make the text whatever is defined as the serifed text font. \text respects the local text environment. So \sffamily $W_\text{total}$ will give you a sans serifed subscript, while \sffamily $W_\textrm{total}$ will still give you a serifed subscript. – Alan Munn Jan 23 '11 at 21:44
@Alan All right, thank you again – astrojuanlu Jan 28 '11 at 23:01

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