I am very new to latex, but have spent hours trying without success to figure this out. I need symbols for both 4 and 5 vertically stacked dots. I know the commands for 1 dot (\cdot), and 3 dots (\vdots). It seems like one methods that I've read about here is to combine symbols, for example combining 4 single dots to create a 4 vertical dot symbol. But, I can't figure it out. Any help would be much appreciated.

  • You can always look at the definition of \vdots and see if you can tweak it to give you 4 or 5 dots.
    – Manuel
    Jun 25, 2014 at 18:57
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. It would be helpful if you composed a fully compilable MWE including \documentclass and the appropriate packages that sets up the problem. For now you can use the 3 dot version to show it, but depending on exactly how you intended to use this there may be alternate solutions. Jun 25, 2014 at 19:08
  • Something that might be helpful: when you type texdef vdots from the command line, the output is: macro:->\vbox {\baselineskip 4\p@ \lineskiplimit \z@ \kern 6\p@ \hbox {.}\hbox {.}\hbox {.}}. Perhaps this will help you or someone else as a starting point :) Welcome!
    – cmhughes
    Jun 25, 2014 at 19:09
  • Could you tell in what context you would like to use these four/five vertical dots?
    – egreg
    Jun 25, 2014 at 19:47
  • This is for a data summary report that contains a large number of tables with data means. We have been ask to provide a rough measure of variability (coefficient of variation or CV) next to each number in each table. The number of vertical dots next to the number will indicate a discrete range of the CV. For example, 1 dot may mean the CV is between 0 and 0.5, 2 dots .5-1, 3 dots 1-1.5, 4 dots 1.5-2, 5 dots greater than 2. The idea to to provide a general sense of the CV (is it large or small) without cluttering up the report with the actual CV values.
    – TLee
    Jun 25, 2014 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


Here's one way. The gap is controlled by the \setstackgap macro; The whole thing can be raised or lowered with a \raisebox; the number of dots in the stack are the space-separated argument of the stack.

Note: you could stack any characters as such, not just dots. If the [usestackEOL] option is passed to the package, the EOL separator is no longer a space, but a \\ character.

$A \Shortstack{. . . .}B$
$A \raisebox{-1.2pt}{\Shortstack{. . . . .}}B$
$A \setstackgap{S}{.5pt}\Shortstack{. . . . .}B$

enter image description here


Here's another option, editing the definition of the original \vdots.


\def\fourvdots{\vbox{\baselineskip1\p@ \lineskiplimit\z@

$ a \vdots a \fourvdots a $

Changing the 1 in \baselineskip1\p@ you control the spacing.

enter image description here

  • 1
    The \kern 6\p@ at the top of \vdots is intended to give a little extra space above it when used in a matrix of other array. You would not want it if this is to be used as a mathematical symbol, whether it is a binary operator, a relation or whatever. I've seen this question somewhere before; I can't recall where, but I do remember the symbol was some kind of relation or binary operation.
    – Dan
    Jun 25, 2014 at 20:29

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