# How to typeset manuscript insertion marks?

In editing old manuscripts (often medieval), a convention is to mark text which the original scribe has inserted afterwards as a correction (usually above the line) with insertion marks. These look like something in-between a backtick and a backslash, and a single forward quote and a forward slash; something like

tum etiam Brita\n/niae imperium obtinuerit

I can't see anywhere in the LaTeX symbol lists the right pair of characters for this, which are supposed to match as a pair. Has anyone done it?

• If none are forthcoming, is building such a symbol by scaling the slashes acceptable, or was that mentioned merely to get us on the right track. Reference to an internet picture of these would be helpful. – Steven B. Segletes Aug 28 '13 at 16:46
• Generally the slopes won't match with the slashes. I'll post a picture if I find a good one. – KeithB Aug 28 '13 at 18:18
• Does one of the answers below solve your problem? If “yes” you could accept one by clicking the tick mark below the voting arrows an if “no” tell us what's missing so we can improve the answers ... – Tobi Aug 30 '13 at 7:15
• These are all interesting and useful answers and I'm grateful to everyone. But none quite satisfies me: - I'm not using XeTeX, so that method is out - The stackengine method seems to interact badly with fancyhdr - I'd rather not add another dependency like tikz to an already large and complex document - In summary, I'm using garamond italic, and none of the solutions actually looks better than a simple \ and / – KeithB Aug 30 '13 at 10:29

I think the characters you are looking for are U+2E1C ( ⸜ ) and U+2E1D ( ⸝ ) respectively. You can create a command for the insertions. I've used XeLaTeX and the Junicode font which is designed for Medieval texts. (Not many other fonts contain the symbol anyway.)

I've added a bit of kerning around the symbols which makes them look a little nicer.

% !TEX TS-program = XeLaTeX
% !TeX encoding = utf8
\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Junicode}
\newcommand*{\lins}{\kern.1em⸜}
\newcommand*{\rins}{⸝\kern.1em}
\newcommand*{\ins}[1]{\lins#1\rins}
\begin{document}
tum etiam Brita\ins{n}niae imperium obtinuerit
\end{document}


Since Junicode has an italic face also, this solution works equally well in italic and roman contexts without any further modification.

While the first solution not explicitly what you asked for, this approach takes you towards the format of the original correction as performed by the scribes.

The optional argument to \insrt is the vertical location of the \vee, if the default is too low or high.

The second solution (\varinsrt) uses primes and backprimes as the insert symbols.

\documentclass{article}
%\usepackage{fontinit}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{stackengine}
\newcommand\insrt[2][.55\baselineskip]{\def\useanchorwidth{T}%
\stackon[#1]{}{\stackon[1pt]{$\scriptscriptstyle\vee$}{\tiny#2}}}
\newcommand\varinsrt[1]{\def\useanchorwidth{F}%
\abovebaseline[-2pt]{$\backprime$}#1\abovebaseline[-2pt]{$\prime$}}
\begin{document}
%\CaslonAntique
tum etiam Brita\insrt[5pt]{n}niae imperium obti\insrt{nue}rit

tum etiam Brita\varinsrt{n}niae imperium obti\varinsrt{nue}rit
\end{document}


A TikZ solution:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{tikz}

% some variables
\def\INlength{1.5ex}
\def\INangle{15}
\def\INraise{0.25ex}
\def\INlinewidth{0.1ex}

\newcommand*{\insertion}[1]{%
% left mark
\smash{\tikz[baseline=0pt,line width=\INlinewidth]
\draw (0,\INraise) -- ++(90+\INangle:\INlength);}%
% text
#1%
% right mark
\smash{\tikz[baseline=0pt,,line width=\INlinewidth]
\draw (0,\INraise) -- ++(90-\INangle:\INlength);}%
}

\begin{document}
tum etiam Brita\insertion{n}niae imperium obtinuerit
\end{document}


You can change the appearance by changing the variables. If you use relative units, i.e. em or ex it will scale accordingly to the font size. \smash is used to prevent the marks from stretching the baseline skip.

Use

\def\INlength{1ex}
\def\INangle{20}
\def\INraise{-0.5ex}
\def\INlinewidth{0.1ex}


to get somthing looking like Alan’s approach:

## update

An extended version with some (basic) italic correction

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{tikz}
\usepackage{etoolbox}% defines \preto

% some variables
\def\INlength{1ex}
\def\INangle{20}
\def\INraise{-0.5ex}
\def\INlinewidth{0.1ex}
\def\INitcorr{0.1em}
\def\INslcorr{0.05em}
\def\INcurrentitcorr{0em}
\tikzset{
insertion/.style={
baseline=0pt,line width=\INlinewidth
},
}%

% to ifs to set wether we are in italic/slanted or not
\newif\ifINitalic
\newif\ifINslanted

% add our ifs to the font switches
\preto\itshape{\INitalictrue}
\preto\slshape{\INslantedtrue}
\preto\upshape{\INitalicfalse\INslantedfalse}
\preto\normalfont{\INitalicfalse\INslantedfalse}

\newcommand*{\insertion}[1]{%
% set the italic correction if necessary
\ifINitalic\edef\INcurrentitcorr{\INitcorr}\fi
\ifINslanted\edef\INcurrentitcorr{\INslcorr}\fi
% italic correction 1
\ifINitalic\kern\INcurrentitcorr\fi
% left mark
\smash{\tikz[insertion]
\draw (0,\INraise) -- ++(90+\INangle:\INlength);}%
% italic correction 2
\ifINitalic\kern-\INcurrentitcorr\fi
% text
#1%
% right mark
\smash{\tikz[insertion]
\draw (0,\INraise) -- ++(90-\INangle:\INlength);}%
}

\begin{document}
tum etiam Brita\insertion{n}niae imperium obtinuerit

\itshape
tum etiam Brita\insertion{n}niae imperium obtinuerit

\slshape
tum etiam Brita\insertion{n}niae imperium obtinuerit

\normalfont
tum etiam Brita\insertion{n}niae imperium obtinuerit
\end{document}

• It had to happen. :) – Alan Munn Aug 28 '13 at 17:04
• Thanks very much for these two good solutions! I'll try them, but a remaining issue is how they'll look when in italic text. – KeithB Aug 28 '13 at 18:20
• @user34771 see my update ;-) – Tobi Aug 28 '13 at 20:02