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\newcommand{\nptime}{\ensuremath{\sf NP}}
\newcommand{\bnptime}{\ensuremath{\sf\bf NP}}


I'm trying to make a macro to typeset "NP" in boldface sans-serif font, but as demonstrated by my MWE, it's not working. BF seems to force a serif font.

Alternatively, I'd be happy to find an opposite to \ensuremath, but I can't seem to find one. I tried \text{} to no avail.

The following similar MWE does the same thing.


\newcommand{\nptime}{{\sf NP}}
\newcommand{\bnptime}{{\sf\bf NP}}

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You simply need \newcommand{\bnptime}{\textsf{\textbf{NP}}} that works both in text and math. Notice that \bf and \sf are deprecated commands. –  egreg Feb 14 '13 at 23:03

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There's no need of \ensuremath: just use


so that \nptime and \bnptime work both in text and math mode, even scaling when used in subscript or superscript if the amsmath package is used.

You discovered why \sf, \bf and all two letter font change commands are deprecated (and they have been since more than 10 years): the combination \sf\bf is simply equivalent to \bf, just like \sf\it would produce normal italic, not sans serif, and \it\sf would produce upright sans serif.

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It's not a good idea to use \text** for math, though. With this code, \bnptime{X} will appear as upright bold sans X if the surrounding text is upright, but as slanted bold sans X otherwise (as in a theorem). Assuming the question is about a math symbol, it would be safer to use \boldsymbol{\mathsf{X}} instead. –  Silvio Levy 16 hours ago
@SilvioLevy In case this can be a problem, a wrapping \textnormal or \textup can be used. Also \bm{\mathsf{X}} can be used, of course. –  egreg 11 hours ago

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