How can I get the 'real number' sign (something like \mathbb{R} with the amssymb package in LaTeX) in XeTeX?

  • 4
    Can you add the essential part of your preamble, particularly the font setting?
    – egreg
    Mar 25, 2013 at 21:24
  • well I have no preamble since I'm on XeTeX ;-) Mar 25, 2013 at 21:48
  • @ivaneesbeeck, i don't understand your answer. Mar 25, 2013 at 21:51
  • 2
    @Ivaneesbeeck Please add the username in your comment to respond properly (as I did here), otherwise the person will not be notified of your message. It would still be interesting to see your font setup. \font\1="Linux Libertine O"\1 ℝ\bye works great for me. Mar 25, 2013 at 22:36
  • 2
    I see; nothing prevents you from using the msbm10 font with XeTeX. In any case, if you don't set fonts, you're basically using the same setting as normal TeX.
    – egreg
    Mar 25, 2013 at 22:39

5 Answers 5


How about this?

Plain-\TeX{}:   & ${\rm I\!R}$\\
amssymb:        & $\mathbb{R}$

enter image description here


You should put your symbol format definitions in another TeX file; publications tend to have their own styles, and some may use bold Roman for fields like R instead of blackboard bold. You can swap nams.tex with aom.tex. I know, this is more common with LaTeX, but the principle still applies.

For example:

% paper.tex
\input nams.tex
$\realnumbers$ is connected.

% nams.tex
% more definitions for the Notices.

% aom.tex
% more definitions for the Annals.

Just change one line in paper.tex to submit to the Annals instead of the Notices.


With lualatex

\setmathfont{Latin Modern Math}

real symbol

  • 1
    That also works in XeLaTeX. So does $\mathbb{R}$.
    – Davislor
    Feb 5, 2019 at 9:06


\input amssym.tex
${\Bbb R}$

works fine

  • Did you mean \input amssymb.tex?
    – jub0bs
    Apr 21, 2013 at 16:37
  • @Jubobs Nope, amssym. On my computer this code snippet does the job Apr 26, 2013 at 12:46
  • This is using plain TeX, not LaTeX. Apr 3 at 2:54

There's a couple of ways to go about this:

  1. Using the default Computer Modern -font (which, as you've already found out, can be extended with the amssym to have access to BlackBoardBold.)
  2. Using Unicode OpenType math fonts. Now this is a bit tricky because the glyph locations need to be (re-)told to TeX. This step can further be split into two different approaches:
    1. Use just one family and change the active range by re-telling TeX the glyph positions every time the style changes (i.e. script, fraktur, etc. This is the way I've understood the unicode-math -package does it). For plain-xetex, you could do something along these lines.
    2. Fix the styles to their own \families using mapping-files created with teckit_compile from SIL. See: Changing math font to OTF in XeTeX using plaintex-format.

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