I'm working on a book and want to have certain special maps labeled "a" and "d" but not in the usual math font. The standard AMS fonts don't support too many special versions of lower-case letters, and I'm not a fan of the ones that do exist. I'm also trying to avoid installing a more exotic font package. After playing around for awhile, I decided that I liked using the boldface version of the ordinary text fonts in these situations, and since I will be using these often, I set up some elementary macro commands:



This mostly works out okay, except I noticed that within theorem statement environments my a and d are subject to the italicization of the current environment, so I don't get consistent characters. Is there a way to improve my macros to avoid this phenomenon?


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    Welcome to TeX.SX! Don't redefine \d and \a; use something like \bd and \ba instead. You seem not to know about \mathbf.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


The correct way is to use \mathbf and not \text{\textbf{...}}.



With \mathbf you select a math alphabet, which is not influenced by the current text font.

Don't redefine \a and \d; you've been warned. ;-)

  • Ugh, thanks. I did know about \mathbf, but somehow I never realized that it's the same as bolding the standard text font and not the standard math font (for example, I would have expected \mathbf{a} not to have the top part of the a as the standard math font a doesn't have it. Just out of curiosity, is there a way to get a bold version of the standard math font? Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 7:58
  • @GregFriedman For boldfacing the math letters, do \usepackage{bm} and then \bm{a}.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 9:58

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