Fixed a semantically significant typo and corrected some grammar to reach a 6 character edit
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The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and *, there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has ahave quite a large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability. However, however the other haveothers are. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern-\medmuskip
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern-\thickmuskip
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and * there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has a quite large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability, however the other have. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern-\medmuskip
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern-\thickmuskip
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and , there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma have quite a large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability. However, the others are. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern-\medmuskip
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern-\thickmuskip
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

Simplified definitions for \negmed and \negthick.
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Heiko Oberdiek
  • 258k
  • 21
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  • 1027

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and * there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has a quite large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability, however the other have. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\medmuskip\space\relax\mkern-\medmuskip
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\thickmuskip\space\relax\mkern-\thickmuskip
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and * there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has a quite large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability, however the other have. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\medmuskip\space\relax
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\thickmuskip\space\relax
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and * there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has a quite large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability, however the other have. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern-\medmuskip
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern-\thickmuskip
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.

Source Link
Heiko Oberdiek
  • 258k
  • 21
  • 663
  • 1027

The next example only adds some boxes to make the spacing more visible:

\documentclass{article}
\setlength{\fboxsep}{0pt}
\setlength{\fboxrule}{.1pt}
\begin{document}
$\fbox{$\fbox{$u$}^{\fbox{$\scriptstyle*$}}$}\mathpunct{\fbox{$,$}}\fbox{$x$}$
\end{document}

Boxes

The spacing between the superscript * and the comma , has three causes:

  • TeX adds \scriptspace after super- and subscripts. Default is 0.5pt in LaTeX and plain TeX. It is the space between the box around * and the surrounding box.
  • Inside the boxes for * and * there is some horizontal padding, called side bearings. It is a font property and not accessible in TeX.
  • The superscript and the comma has a quite large vertical distance, thus there is no need to have much horizontal space to avoid the glyphs to get too close. It looks indeed better, if the comma is moved leftwards.

However, caution is needed for the negative spacing, LaTeX defines (pseudo code):

\! = \mskip-\thinmuskip
\thinmuskip = 3mu
\medmuskip = 4mu plus 2mu minus 4mu
\thickmuskip = 5mu plus 5mu

and package amsmath adds (pseudo code):

\negmedspace = -\medmuskip
\negthickspace = -\thickmuskip

\thinmuskip and therefore \! are not using stretchability, however the other have. Then the spacing can become quite ugly, if stretching/shrinking is applied. The negative sign causes the opposite effect making the spacing worse:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
  \hbox{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread -5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
  \hbox spread 5pt{$u^*\negmedspace,x+y$}
\end{document}

Streching/shrinking

For this, \! can be used. However, \negthickspace and \negmedspace should be avoided, they cancel the effect of \thickmuskip and \thinmuskip. \negthickspace and \negmedspace

The following macros \negmed and \negthick add a negative space in math mode using the values from \medmuskip and \thickmuskip without the stretch and shrink components:

\def\negstrip#1 #2\relax{-#1}
\newcommand*{\negmed}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\medmuskip\space\relax
}
\newcommand*{\negthick}{%
  \mkern\expandafter\negstrip\the\expandafter\thickmuskip\space\relax
}

The question, how much negative spacing could be used is also partly a matter of taste. I tend to something inbetween \! and \negmed, perhaps \mkern-3.5mu\relax.