I am new to latex. I am trying to compile someone else's document. I have all the correct packages installed, but I get the following error:

*Overfull \hbox <37.8394pt too wide> in paragraph at lines 26-37  
! Missing $ inserted  
<inserted text>  
1.39 Lines 14, 15 in vc_  
                          value are bottleneck  

Here are the lines that are referenced in the error message. I understand that one of the lines is too long, but I'm not sure about how to fix it. Thanks a lot for your help.

 Name & Description & Potential
 \\ \hline  \texttt{c\_w.m} &  gives relationship between $W$ and $C$
 \\  \texttt{compute\_pi\_min} &  Compute $\pi_{min}$ & gradient
 \\  \textbf{\texttt{criterion.m}} &  Compute RSS; steps 1-10(?)
 \\  \texttt{irr\_equation.m} & no idea\dots & none
 \\  \texttt{pi\_min\_equation.m} &  uses \texttt{vc\_value.m} & none
 \\  \texttt{pi\_min\_equation\_solo.m} &  computes optimal value of solo project &          quadrature
 \\  \texttt{solo\_value.m} &  computes optimal value of solo project & quadrature
 \\  \texttt{vc\_value.m} &  computes optimal value of a project to VC & quadrature \\
 Lines 19, 44, 45 are bottlenecks in criterion.m -- criterion.m takes 75 percent of   time\\
 Lines 14, 15 in vc_value are bottlenecks
  • 2
    By the way, if you would like to have the table at the exact position (indicated by [h]), you don’t need to use a table-environment. You can also get captions for non-floating objects with the caption package. – domwass Feb 18 '11 at 16:25
  • Welcome to TeX-SE! Help yourself for some questions and answers, and enjoy your stay! For future reference, sometimes it's best to construct minimum working examples. If you're unsure what is this, please see this discussion: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/228/… – Martin Tapankov Feb 18 '11 at 16:29
  • Hi bob, welcome to tex.sx. Please format error messages using code blocks (i.e. indented with four spaces or with the '101010' button on top of the edit window). Please also make sure to write meaningful titles. You might use MikTeX and WinEdt but they don't have nothing to do with this now. I took the liberty to fix both for you here. – Martin Scharrer Feb 18 '11 at 16:30

On the last line:

Lines 14, 15 in vc_value are bottlenecks

you use the underscore without escaping it. This is what causes the error.

The underscore is used to specify subscript in mathmode, so an error occurs when you try to use it like this. Just escape it as:

Lines 14, 15 in vc\_value are bottlenecks

and you're good to go.

You might find some extra information on this page as well, if you plan to use underscores a lot in your document:


Also, see this related question on how to escape reserved TeX symbols.


For completeness' sake: the following characters are special to LaTeX and might not do what you expect:

$ % ^ & _ { } ~ \ #

(Thusly taken from lshort)


The overfull \hbox message is only a warning (TeX complains that a line is too long). The error results from using the _ (underscore) character -- see this minimal example:



Lines 14, 15 in vc_value are bottlenecks


Reason: You can't use _ in normal text -- TeX uses the underscore in math mode to produce subscripts:




  • Wow, thanks a lot for everything. This is great! – user3684 Feb 18 '11 at 16:28

Check for items like compute\_pi\_min, where you missed the $ $ signs. You can also change the last "l" directive in tabular to "p", as follows:


to get better typesetting.

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