I am using text/old-style figures in my document with the Palatino font, and I find that the dollar sign (\$) is too large for most dollar figures. I've found that it looks good if I take the font size of just the dollar sign down by one, like so:


But this is a pain, so I'd like to change \$ so it handles the size shift automatically.

My immediate thought was to do \def\${{\small\$}}, but obviously (obvious after you've naïvely tried it anyway), that results in infinite recursion. What sort of control sequence can I use to represent the font dollar sign other than \$?


Here's a possibility; we have just to redefine \textdollar (and possibly \mathdollar, if you plan to use it in math). I scale it vertically, but not horizontally.




\$100 or \$600

{\footnotesize \$100 or \$600}


enter image description here

Note. The command \$ is defined (with the T1 encoding) to either do \textdollar or \mathdollar, depending on the context. So there's no need to redefine \$.


Store the original copy of \$ and then redefine it to suit your needs:

enter image description here

\let\olddollar\$% Store \$

This solution is worth \$0.02.

This solution is worth \$0.02.


Note though that this change may not work as expected when using \$ inside (say) a \footnote. For that you should consider the relative font size of $ inside \normalsize. That is, \small is "one size smaller" than \normalsize. The relsize package offers \smaller which would help here. See Change font size relative to current font size.

  • Oh, duh :-) Thanks for the tip on relsize – I don't anticipate ever using a dollar sign in anything except running text, but it's always better to head off possible problems ahead of time. So in the end I used \usepackage{relsize} / \let\olddollar\$ / \renewcommand\${{\relsize{-0.5}\olddollar}} – scorchgeek May 11 '15 at 23:09
  • @SorenBjornstad: Use \renewcommand{\$}{{\smaller\$}}. – Werner May 11 '15 at 23:10
  • Unless I've misread it, according to the docs, \smaller is equivalent to \relsize{-1}, which is not what I want – that takes it down to 8 point rather than the 9 point value of \small. – scorchgeek May 11 '15 at 23:11
  • @SorenBjornstad: \smaller is equivalent to \smaller[1] which is equivalent to \relsize{-1}, which prints \small under \normalsize, whatever your \normalsize is. If \normalsize is 10pt, then \small is 9pt. See What point (pt) font size are \Large etc.? – Werner May 11 '15 at 23:17
  • I'm not trying to be contrary (and thanks for your help!), but they are definitely not identical. The docs say: "Half-steps are possible, as in \relsize{-0.5} to change from 10 pt \normalsize to 9 pt \small, but other numbers are rounded to the nearest half-integer." \smaller yields a smaller dollar sign than \relsize{-0.5} (and the dollar sign produced by the latter looks superior in terms of size to my eyes). If I zoom to 500% in my PDF viewer and measure, the unmodified $ is 38pt high, the \relsize{-0.5} and the {\small\$} are both 34pt high, and the \smaller sign is 30pt high. – scorchgeek May 11 '15 at 23:33

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