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).

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    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. – barbara beeton Mar 5 '14 at 14:49

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





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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.

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    Will the character be "selectable" in the pdf? – pluton Mar 5 '14 at 1:40
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    @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. – Gonzalo Medina Mar 5 '14 at 2:02
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    Why is the ring uppercase? – Pål GD Mar 5 '14 at 10:29
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    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 '14 at 16:50
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    I'd like to nominated the "ogonek" symbol, e.g., \k{a}, for inclusion in this fine table. – Mico Mar 5 '14 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 '15 at 17:33

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