I have a file with a lot of subscripts everywhere and I would like to make them more compact.

I can define \ms with \newcommand{\ms}{\scriptscriptstyle}

How can I redefine


so that it it applies a \ms (without having to type it every time, i.e., so that

_{} := _{\ms }

EDIT with usecase:

The reason I am looking for this is that what I am writing contains a lot of subscripting of the form


it has to be reported, but I feel most times to be cumbersome and unappealing to the eyes. A lot of the times it can be skipped while reading, so I just wanted to make it standout less.

  • See the answer by David Carlisle on how to change the font-size (which is what you want to do), in case you really want to redefine the meaning of the subscript, see answers e.g. here tex.stackexchange.com/questions/9333/… – Bort Aug 20 '15 at 10:24
  • Welcome to TeX.SX! It's not clear why you would want it. Can you be more precise? – egreg Aug 20 '15 at 10:34
  • Edited to explain usecase – Three Diag Aug 20 '15 at 10:54
% arara: pdflatex

\newcommand_[1]{\ensuremath{\sb{\scriptscriptstyle #1}}}

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  • This answer the question. Coupled with David's answer allows for some finetuning of subscripts. Thanks! – Three Diag Aug 20 '15 at 10:54
  • What's \ensuremath for? – egreg Aug 20 '15 at 10:56
  • @egreg If you want to use it in text as well. That was not so clear from the question. Does not hurt in any case. – LaRiFaRi Aug 20 '15 at 11:41



aa $V_1 V_2 $


3pt is rather small, just used to exaggerate the effect, the standard sizes are 7 and 5 so you could use {10}{10}{5}{5} (in which case you would not need the fix-cm package which is just used to allow the font to be scaled to arbitrary sizes)

The standard sizes (display, text, script and scriptscript) set by latex are:

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  • This is nice, but it alters my superscript as well. I am in fact using yours and @LaRiFaRi answer to achieve the desired result(I make subscripting smaller by default, and tune how small I want it by tweaking the /scriptscriptstyle size). This is probably not best in general, but suits the notation required by my current work. Thanks ! – Three Diag Aug 20 '15 at 10:32
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    What do the {\@xpt} do? – Three Diag Aug 20 '15 at 10:46
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    @ThreeDiag \@xpt is 10pt, such abbreviations are used all over the latex sources (and save a few bytes that needed saving back then) – David Carlisle Aug 20 '15 at 11:19

I think it's a very bad idea. This said, here's how:



\AtBeginDocument{\mathcode`_="8000 \catcode`_=12 }


New: $A_1^2$

Original: $A_{\scriptstyle1}^2$


enter image description here

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  • Yeah, you are right that this is a bad idea in general. For the small report I need to write (where I don't expect to have other math environment requiring a different treatment) it should be alright. – Three Diag Aug 20 '15 at 11:15

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