What's the easiest/least ugly way to avoid the spaces around the hyphen in the following macro?



I get $\nuSwap$, but I want $\nu$-\textsf{swap}.

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I would like a macro I can use easily when I'm already in math-mode.


In math mode (as in your $\nuSwap$) the - becomes a minus sign and is thus longer and has spaces around it. Simply preventing the - from being treated as maths as you do with the word swap gives what you want, e.g. by redefining:


in which case:



You want \nuSwap, here's \(\nu\)-\textsf{swap}.

And \nuSwap ping also works in maths mode:



  • Ok, that's pretty painless. (Although in my code, I need to wrap the - in \text{-} separately, because the swap itself is coming from another macro.) – Roly Sep 4 '14 at 13:10
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    @LaRiFaRi good suggestion - incorporated. – greyshade Sep 4 '14 at 13:13
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    a small consequence of the way you've defined \nuSwap, though you don't mention it, is that it won't be broken after the hyphen at the end of a line, should a line break be needed. that's probably a good thing, in general, though it's well to be aware that it happens. – barbara beeton Sep 4 '14 at 14:01
  • Also worth noting that the hyphen is now in the sans serif font - can this affect the rendering? Maybe \text{-}\textsf{swap} is better. – Roly Sep 4 '14 at 18:05
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    @Roly I'm not sure it makes any difference in this particular case, since your \textsf{swap} would ignore things like \boldmath anyway, which in my eyes makes a bold hyphen look strange is the swap is not bold.. see here – greyshade Sep 4 '14 at 18:20

As already mentioned, the hyphen is interpreted as a minus in math mode. To correct the issue you could define a macro \mhyphen that stands for the hyphen in math mode:


this can of course be combined with \ensuremath to get a macro that works in both modes.

I also recommend using \texorpdfstring (from hyperref) if you intend to use it in headers and produce a pdf:



\section{Definition of \nuSwap}

Here we define \nuSwap:

    \nuSwap = \dots

if you inspect the generated PDF you'll find "nu-swap" is used in the index.

  • Ah, I wondered if there would be a trick like that. I'll experiment a bit and see what qualifies as "least ugly" :) – Roly Sep 4 '14 at 13:13
  • @Roly an additional plus: \mhyphen obeys to the current font and size settings. – Bordaigorl Sep 4 '14 at 13:24
  • Is that not also true of escaping to text mode via \text{-}? (Admittedly this is not quite the same as the other answer, but it's similar in spirit.) (Oh and thanks for embellishing your answer.) – Roly Sep 4 '14 at 13:31
  • To my knowledge \mhyphen would be a proper math-mode character, thus obeying to the current font settings in that mode (think subscripts etc...) but I have not tested \text{-} against this... – Bordaigorl Sep 4 '14 at 15:30
  • I do like this answer, but in the end I chose the other one for simplicity. Thanks. – Roly Sep 5 '14 at 10:13

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