33

I know how to write a usual index with the help of the underscore, but I seem to be unable to find out how to write an (upper/lower) index in front of a letter/text.

These kind of indices are common in chemistry.

4

4 Answers 4

33

You have to supply a "fake" object for TeX to put indices to:

${}^1_2X^3_4$

However, for chemistry typesetting you should use one of the specialized packages, such as mhchem. This example is taken from mhchem documentation:

\ce{^{227}_{90}Th+}

It will typeset the symbol for a positive Thorium ion with a charge of 90 and atomic mass of 227.

example

2
  • I had about the same answer, but you were quicker :). Since I already hat the screenshot I added it to your answer. I hope you don't mind.
    – Caramdir
    Aug 17, 2011 at 17:28
  • As I use MathJax this works great! Aug 17, 2011 at 17:36
12

mathtools provides among other useful things the prescript command for this. Verbose, but useful if you don't want to fiddle with negative spaces and fake objects.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{mathtools}
\begin{document}
\[
{}^{4}_{12}\mathbf{C}^{5+}_{2}
\quad
\prescript{14}{2}{\mathbf{C}}^{5+}_{2}
\quad
\prescript{4}{12}{\mathbf{C}}^{5+}_{2}
\quad
\prescript{14}{}{\mathbf{C}}^{5+}_{2}
\quad
\prescript{}{2}{\mathbf{C}}^{5+}_{2}
\]
\end{document}

enter image description here

7

The easiest in this case would be to use the leftidx package. Taken directly from the package documentation:

\usepackage{leftidx}% http://ctan.org/pkg/leftidx
...
$\leftidx{_1^2}{\left(\frac{1}{b}\right)}{_3^4}$

Leftidx

The package offers the command \leftidx{<left indices>}{<stuff>}{<right indices>}.

6

I just saw this package a few minutes ago and it has a good example of this. There are probably other packages for Chemistry usage though.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{tensor}

\begin{document}
$\tensor*[^{14}_6]{\mathrm{C}}{}$
\end{document}

This example is directly copied form the tensor package.

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