I don't know if this is actually intentionally, but if I use the font:


and type e.g.:


it looks kind of weird, because the 8 is so much larger than t.

If I use the older (outdated?) package


instead, it looks better because both, 8 and t, are equal in size.

But I was recommended to use the mathptmx package because it is supposed to be better for maths (which I require a lot), but still in other papers that I check the subscripts are usually of equal size. Anyone knows what's the problem is or can recommend me the right font/a combination of fonts?

I am supposed to write in Times New Roman. I though mathptmx was all I needed, but it seems to be more complicated.

Edit: Maybe I need just 2 different packages, one of the latest 'Times' type for the text, and something else for the formulas. Let me know if you know any good combinations!

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SE! Have you given the newtxtext and newtxmath packages a try? BTW, the reason you find the output of $\beta_{8,t}$ so much more appealing if times is loaded instead of mathptmx is that the times package doesn't load any math fonts at all; hence, what you see is Computer Modern, not Times Roman... – Mico Oct 8 '13 at 20:53
  • With times you get the characters in the Computer Modern Math font, not in any variety of Times. With mathptmx, if you try to typeset 8,\textit{t} in text, you get exactly the same proportions. – egreg Oct 8 '13 at 20:57
  • Hi, thanks for the comments. I have tried them now. newtxmath doesn't seem to solve the problem and newtxtext looks different in math. Actually I like the math look of mathptmx, I just didn't like the look of 2 subscripts next to each other. 8 was maybe a bad example. If you type $a_{1,t}$ it looks really strange... @egreg that seems to do the job. So did I get this right, every time I must use 2 indices (nr + character), it looks like this: $a_{8,\textit{t}}? That will make the formulas in textform reeaaaly long. But if it's the only way, I might just do it... – TomM Oct 8 '13 at 21:17
  • See also tex.stackexchange.com/a/59706/5001 for a review of the "look" of various font combinations, including two or three "Times Roman" possibilities. – Mico Oct 8 '13 at 21:19
  • @TomM I wasn't saying that you should type that way, which is wrong. That was only for comparing: the figure 8 in Times is much higher than the letter t and such proportions are respected also in subscripts. – egreg Oct 8 '13 at 21:29

There is nothing wrong in the output you get. Let's look at an example:

8,\textit{t},t $\beta_{8,t}$

enter image description here

You can see that the “8” is quite higher than the “t” and the same proportions are respected in the subscript.

If you want some figures, here they are.

enter image description here

Here's the output of the example with \usepackage{newtxtext,newtxmath} instead of \usepackage{mathptmx}

enter image description here

Here the ratio between the two heights (the same in normal size an in subscripts) is 1.19469.

With the stix fonts the ratio is 1.14407 and the output is

enter image description here

You can reduce the large characters in sub/superscripts:

8,\textit{t},t $\beta_{8,t}$ $\beta_{\sm{8},t}$

enter image description here

However, I don't think this should be done.

  • @ egreg: Ok thanks for the example and clarifying this. But it still doesn't help me out. You are correct that the 8 is bigger than t in Times. But what still doesnt look good imho: - the t is in italics, while the 8 is not. - the number 8 is larger as you have clearly shown. But in other fonts, like for example times which uses Modern Computer lang as you guys pointed out, it looks more even. You will notice this better if you use a huge number, like 1 and a small letter, like a, in combination. But thanks for your help! – TomM Oct 8 '13 at 21:57
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    @TomM - Having a relatively short lowercase letter "t" is very common among "old-style" and "transitional" font families. (Palatino is an exception to this rule.) Times Roman is largely a "transitional" font. (OK, I'm going to get lots of comments pointing out the ways in which Times Roman differs from other transitional fonts...) It's not until the period of so-called "Modern" fonts that one regularly gets tall lowercase-"t" specimens; "Computer Modern" is one such font. As long as you're forced to use Times Roman, I'm afraid you'll have to put up with the resulting look of the "t"s. – Mico Oct 9 '13 at 5:42
  • @Mico thanks for explaining this. I guess I will have to use mathptmx then the way it is - screw it. The only other option would be to use a Times font for the text, and a different font for the formulas which is of one of the modern types you mentioned. But I believe that idea is not too bad, considering for example Word 2010 doesn't even offer Times in its formula editor. – TomM Oct 9 '13 at 14:00
  • As the OP points out, this is not a solution to the problem, but merely an explanation of why the output looks like it does. – LondonRob Jan 31 '18 at 12:04
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    @LondonRob I added a workaround for making the printout worse. ;-) – egreg Jan 31 '18 at 12:19

Instead of, say, writing A_{123} I would write A_{{}_{123}} so that the actual subscript is pushed down to being a subscript of a nonexistent (the empty set {}!) intermediate subscript.

  • Welcome to TeX.SE. Please explain how your posting addresses the issue(s) raised in the question. – Mico Aug 23 '16 at 0:59

I came to this question looking to reproduce numbered subscripts in a rather old (1979!) document, which I think look nice:


The default in the setup which my document format requires, using times and mathptmx look, I think, rather ridiculous. The subscript numbers are far too large:


With egreg's workaround, things look much closer to the nice-looking original:

With workaround

For reference, the workaround egreg suggests is:

A_{\sm{1}} = \hat{r} A_{\sm{0}} \hat{s}

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