I need to cite the journal "Sankhyā: The Indian Journal of Statistics" in a paper. I would like to draw the ā character properly (i.e., I'd prefer, if possible, to avoid using some hack, such as \bar or \overline).

Question: How do I properly write ā in LaTeX?

I didn't have luck with Detexify (after several attempts in both in capital and lowercase) nor The Comprehensive LATEX Symbol List (searching the file for "ā" and "india" revealed no hits).

  • 7
    See How to type special/accented letters in LaTeX?
    – Werner
    Mar 5, 2014 at 0:33
  • 3
    the information actually is in the comprehensive list, under "text-mode accents" (table 17, p.14). it does help, though, when using this list, to already be familiar with quite a bit of the terminology used. Mar 5, 2014 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


You can write the macron using \=<character>;





enter image description here

Just for the record, here's a table I wrote some time ago, containing (I think) all the accents provided by LaTeX (the original names were in Spanish; I used the English names I found on the web, but let me know if there's any mistakes):




    \toprule & &
    Definition &
    \multicolumn{1}{@{}c}{Description} &
    Input &
    Output \\
    \lstinline+\'{<character>}+ & acute accent & \lstinline+\'{a}+ & \'{a}\\
    \lstinline+\`{<character>}+ & grave accent & \lstinline+\`{a}+ & \`{a}\\
    \lstinline+\"{<character>}+ & umlaut or dieresis & \lstinline+\"{u}+ & \"{u}\\
    \lstinline+\c{<character>}+ & cedilla &\lstinline+\c{c}+ & \c{c}\\
    \lstinline+\={<character>}+ & macron & \lstinline+\={a}+ & \={a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\b{<character>}+ & bar under &\lstinline+\b{a}+ & \b{a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\u{<character>}+ & breve accent &\lstinline+\u{a}+ & \u{a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\v{<character>}+ & há\v{c}ek &\lstinline+\v{a}+ & \v{a}\\
    \lstinline+\~{<character>}+ & tilde & \lstinline+\~{n}+ & \~{n}\\
    \lstinline+\^{<character>}+ & circumflex accent & \lstinline+\^{o}+ & \^{o}\\ 
    \lstinline+\.{<character>}+ & dot accent &\lstinline+\.{a}+ & \.{a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\d{<character>}+ & dot-under accent &\lstinline+\d{a}+ & \d{a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\r{<character>}+ & ring &\lstinline+\r{a}+ & \r{a}\\
    \lstinline+\H{<character>}+ & long Hungarian umlaut &\lstinline+\H{a}+ & \H{a}\\
    \lstinline+\k{<character>}+ & ogonek &\lstinline+\k{a}+ & \k{a}\\ 
    \lstinline+\t{<character>}+ & tie-after accent &\lstinline+\t{oo}+ & \t{oo}\\ 


enter image description here

As egreg mentions in his comment, Accents over the "i" deserve special mention: `i , \'i, \^i and \"i produce the desired accent, but \i must be used for the others, for instance \={\i} or \v{\i}.

Of course, some of the accents can be obtained loading the inputenc package and typing them directly from the keyboard.

Thanks to Mico for suggesting the addition of the ogonek.

  • 1
    Will the character be "selectable" in the pdf?
    – pluton
    Mar 5, 2014 at 1:40
  • 2
    @pluton some of them will, some won't. The first four tigether with the tilde, the circumflex and the ring will be "copyable" from the PDF; the others won't. Mar 5, 2014 at 2:02
  • 1
    Why is the ring uppercase?
    – Pål GD
    Mar 5, 2014 at 10:29
  • 1
    You might add that the common accents over “i” can be input as \`i, \'i, \^i and \"i, but \i must be used for the others (for instance \={\i}).
    – egreg
    Mar 5, 2014 at 16:50
  • 2
    I'd like to nominated the "ogonek" symbol, e.g., \k{a}, for inclusion in this fine table.
    – Mico
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:45

Use the unicode character!

With pdflatex you then have to add \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} and \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}, with lualatex or xetex \usepackage{fontspec}. Your source file has to be encoded like this of course.




xelatex or lualatex




Character input

There are several ways to directly input unicode characters that are not on your keyboard.

  • editors provide tools for it, e.g. with vim you can press ctrl + k and insert a key kombination, e.g. a* for α.

  • Compose Key. Most Unix Systems provide a Compose Key, that lets you input characters by pressing certain key combination if you press a special key. If you define Caps lock to be your compose key, you can type caps lock a - to get ā. Most of these combinations are rather intuitive, so you do not have to lokk them up. E.g. you get → by pressing compose - > or € by pressing compose C =.

  • enter unicode hex code, for windows press alt u and enter the unicode hex code, for e.g. ubuntu press ctrl alt u and enter the hex code. The unicode postion of ā is U+0101.

  • For Mac OS X (US Extended keyboard), ALT-a + letter: āēīōūȳs̄ḹṝḡ
    – egreg
    Feb 3, 2015 at 17:33
  • You have to be careful with Unicode. There are issues with ᾿ (Greek psili) that is turned into an accented ligature where it is not supposed to, e.g. Κατ᾿ ἐμαυτοῦ
    – sophros
    Dec 9, 2020 at 20:38

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