\bigstar produces a black star. What is the LaTeX command for white or unfilled \bigstar?

The unicode-math package has a command \bigwhitestar, but I am not able to use it in the usual way. When I compile with \usepackage{unicode-math}, I get the following error:

! Package unicode-math Error: Cannot be run with pdfLaTex!
(unicode-math)         Use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTex instead.

PS: I need the big white star symbol to reference a point in a Matlab generated figure. I cannot compile with xetex or xelatex because they do not use the conference style file properly, i.e. the output looks quite different from that of latex.

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The comprehensive list suggests the following options:

  1. \usepackage{bbding}, then \FiveStarOpen
  2. \usepackage{pifont}, \ding{80}
  3. \usepackage{MnSymbol}, $\largestar$

And here is the comparison:

enter image description here

  • 3
    The usual caveat about MnSymbol: it changes all math symbols. – egreg Jan 30 '14 at 18:12
  • 1
    Note that one should use \mbox{\FiveStarOpen} or \mbox{\ding{80}} (there's also \ding{73}, by the way). If amsmath is loaded, use \text instead of \mbox, so the symbol will properly scale in subscripts and superscripts. – egreg Aug 29 '14 at 20:36

If your require some tuning of the star border, this solution is an alternative. The downside is that it loads a lot of packages; however, none of those packages overwrite the existing fonts, in the way that MnSymbol does.

In this case \openbigstar takes an optional argument specifying the relative size of the inner white star relative to the outer black star, thus defining a border thickness in the process. And using scalerel package's features, it automatically works across different math styles.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{stackengine}
\usepackage{scalerel}
\usepackage{xcolor}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\newcommand\openbigstar[1][0.7]{%
  \scalerel*{%
    \stackinset{c}{-.125pt}{c}{}{\scalebox{#1}{\color{white}{$\bigstar$}}}{%
      $\bigstar$}%
  }{\bigstar}
}
\begin{document}
$\bigstar\openbigstar\openbigstar[.4]\openbigstar[.9]$
$\scriptstyle\bigstar\openbigstar\openbigstar[.4]\openbigstar[.9]$
$\scriptscriptstyle\bigstar\openbigstar\openbigstar[.4]\openbigstar[.9]$
\end{document}

enter image description here

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