3

The alpha letter in math mode doesn't look well: its tails aren't clear.

The following are images of the alpha letter in math mode:

Size 10 pts:
enter image description here

Size 60 pts:
enter image description here

Notice how the tails aren't as clear as you'd normally write alpha on paper by hand.

Does there a better alpha letter?


Edit:

I'm using "TexMaths" plugin for Libreoffice writer, with probably xelatex as a rendering binary. (the path is /usr/bin but there're many *tex binaries in there)

I'm using with the following preamble:

\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage[usenames]{color}
\usepackage{cancel}
\usepackage{wasysym}
\usepackage{upgreek}

\newcommand{\dup}{\mathrm{d}}

% Uncomment this line for sans-serif font
%\everymath{\mathsf{\xdef\mysf{\mathgroup\the\mathgroup\relax}}\mysf}

% Uncomment these lines for colored equations
% Caution! Background color breaks transparency!
%\definecolor{fgcolor}{RGB}{0,0,255}
%\definecolor{bgcolor}{RGB}{255,0,0}
%\pagecolor{bgcolor}\color{fgcolor}

Edit 2:

Actually I use pdfLaTeX due to an error that I received:

! Package unicode-math Error: Cannot be run with pdfLaTeX! (unicode-math) Use XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX instead..

  • 4
    Use a different font? – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 21:39
  • Is \upalpha from upgreek a better variant? It's upright, therefore not really suited for math-typesetting – user31729 Sep 6 '15 at 21:53
  • @cfr: Hi. I've tried several fonts using \setmainfont{Arial} but it doesn't seem to change anything. Could you please advice/suggest? – Dor Sep 6 '15 at 21:54
  • @ChristianHupfer: It's quite better but I'd hope to find another option. – Dor Sep 6 '15 at 21:56
  • 1
    @Dor It is hiding the errors from you. I just installed it and tested. I then tracked down the log file in .config/libreoffice/4/user/TexMaths/tmp/tmpfile.log and saw exactly the errors you'd expect when trying to use an undefined command. It doesn't show you the error even if this is in the preamble. That is quite unhelpful, in my opinion. Errors provide useful information. Ignoring them is a Very Bad Idea and this plugin doesn't even tell you that there are any errors. – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 23:28
4

The LaTeX Font Catalogue includes a list of fonts with maths support which can be used with pdfTeX. This is more current and has greater coverage than the Free Math Font Survey mentioned by Lorehead, but it provides less detailed coverage of each option, I think.

Maybe look at Arev, which is often recommended for presentations as it is thought to be especially clear. It is also a sans font which might possibly be better if you are using Arial.

Arev alpha

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{arev}
\begin{document}
\Huge
\[
  \alpha
\]
\end{document}
| improve this answer | |
  • Right. It doesn’t show off the α, unfortunately. – Davislor Sep 6 '15 at 22:29
  • @Lorehead Well, my written alphas look more like this than any of the others I tried ;). Perhaps I just have poor hand-writing. – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 22:35
  • Oh, excuse me, I just meant that the LaTeX Font Catalogue, while it is more up-to-date, unfortunately doesn’t show off α in its font samples. The OP will decide which font he or she likes best. – Davislor Sep 6 '15 at 22:49
  • Oh my, this \alpha is... weird ;-) – user31729 Sep 6 '15 at 22:58
  • @Lorehead Oh, I see. Yes, you're right. It has quite a small example of maths, in fact. – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 23:16
1

Do you like any of the ones in the Free Math Font Survey? (Discussion of unicode-math, which isn’t available to you, deleted.)

Addendum

Since you’re using LaTeX Maths in OpenOffice, you want something different than the usual set-up. I downloaded it and did a simple test, and here’s what I recommend:

\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage[usenames]{color}

\usepackage{stix}

% Comment out the line above and uncomment the two lines below for sans-serif font
%\usepackage{arevmath}
%\usepackage{arev}

% Uncomment these lines for colored equations
% \definecolor{fgcolor}{RGB}{0,0,255}
% \definecolor{bgcolor}{RGB}{255,255,255}
% \pagecolor{bgcolor}\color{fgcolor}

You can change this to a different font if you’re changing the main font of your document; just pick a package that you like and that matches.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Please note that those are not necessarily fonts on the OP's system. Cambria Math is Windows, isn't it? It certainly isn't standard. The others are good suggestions, though. But any of the fonts on your system is misleading. You need to make clear that unicode-math only works with opentype fonts which support the maths extension. Having the symbols isn't enough, for example. But mathspec can be used in other cases. – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 22:09
  • Yes, it’s true that you can only use fonts that you actually have. – Davislor Sep 6 '15 at 22:15
  • What I meant is, that the others are all standard so it is a bit odd to include Cambria without mentioning it is not. You can't use a font which is not a maths font with unicode-math. Is that what you mean by 'a trick'? Not trying to be picky here, but I'd find this a bit confusing. – cfr Sep 6 '15 at 22:26
  • Oh, what I meant is that there’s a way to get unicode-math to load a math font with all the right symbols and mathy thingamajigs, but use letters and numbers from another font. But that’s more complicated, so I didn’t want to put it in my answer unless someone actually requested it. – Davislor Sep 6 '15 at 22:32
  • Okay, so nobody’s confused by my mention of Cambria Math: it’s a proprietary font included with Windows Vista or later, but not with other OSes or TeX Live. If you have a Windows partition, the file is in its fonts directory as cambria.ttc_01.ttf. – Davislor Sep 6 '15 at 22:37
0
\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{scalerel}[2016/12/29]

\newcommand\Alpha{\scaleobj{0.85}{\propto}}

\begin{document}

$$ a = \alpha r $$ vs. $$ a = \Alpha r $$

\end{document}

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Also, $$..$$ should be avoided: see link – Sandy G Mar 16 '19 at 3:25
0

With unicode-math, you can use any OpenType math font, as well as any system font (TrueType or Opentype) with Greek letters.

For example, to use a math font designed by the Greek Font Society, with only light slab serifs, you could do:

\documentclass[varwidth]{standalone}
\usepackage{unicode-math}

\defaultfontfeatures{Scale = MatchLowercase}
\setmathfont{GFS Neohellenic Math}

\begin{document}
\( \alpha \)
\end{document}

alpha

If you wanted to use a different font for Greek letters, you could add the following lines:

\documentclass[varwidth]{standalone}
\usepackage{unicode-math}

\defaultfontfeatures{Scale = MatchLowercase}
\setmathfont{Libertinus Math}
\setmathfont[range=up]{Linux Biolinum}
\setmathfont[range=it]{Linux Biolinum Italic}
\setmathfont[range=bfup]{Linux Biolinum Bold}
\setmathfont[range=bfit]{Linux Biolinum Italic} 

\begin{document}
\( \alpha \)
\end{document}

alpha

If you use XeLaTeX, you can instead use mathspec to combine a desktop font for letters with a legacy math font.

With mathastext you have the option to select the main font, or 8-bit, LGR-encoded Greek font as your Greek alphabet. You can also select many Greek alphabets with isomath. There is little reason to do so, however, if you have unicode-math.

| improve this answer | |

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