Out of corporate design reasons I should use Helvetica for my documents. I could simply ignore this, as most people do ;-) But out of fun I just combined ideas taken from sfmath and beamer to make exercise sheets containing acceptable-looking math formulas with the tgheros font. The only trouble is, as usual, the positioning of math accents. As far as I understand sansmathaccent works for Computer Modern, so it's not a solution here.

By repeated trial-and-error I've found that e.g. \skew2 is good with almost all letters for the \bar, so my idea was to use


and similar replacements for the other math accents. The \ifcat construct checks if the argument is a control sequence, in which case the \skew is \@gobbled away.

My question is whether such a construct may collide with packages redefining the math accents (like amsmath, although it did work when I tried it out) or if there is some safer way to achieve the same result.

  • \ifcat\relax#1 is a lot safer than \ifcat#1\relax (the former is true if you go \bar{ab} or false for \bar{\hbox{zz}} – David Carlisle Sep 24 '15 at 13:25
  • Uhm, that's surely true for \bar{ab}, but if I use \ifcat\relax#1 and #1 is \hbox{something}, the comparison strips the \hbox but leaves the {something}, which is then printed twice. I guess this answers my question as in: don' t do that! :-) – campa Sep 24 '15 at 13:45

I give here the solution I've ended up using.

First, it is definitely a bad idea to redefine the standard accents, or at the very least it is a bad idea to hide the original definition in some \@... macro. I haven't made up my mid yet but I will either copy the original definition with some meaningful name, or more likely use a new name for the new versions.

Second, the definition I proposed above


works as long as the argument is a single token like a or \phi, and even with \mathbf{a}, but it fails for e.g. \bm{a}. So in the end I changed the definition of \mybar into

\newcommand{\mybar}[1]{\ifcat a#1\else\expandafter\@gobbletwo\fi\skew2\bar{#1}}

Of course if the argument is a multi-token string starting with a letter (although I never used something like that) this won't work; hence I'm again at my point #1: do not redefine the standard math accents.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.