If I write $\bar{X}$ or $\overline{X}$ the bar (or the rule) over X is smaller or longer than the width of X. Is there any way to adjust the width?

Thank you in advance.




$\bar{X}$ $\overline{X}$


The slanting makes the correct length of the bar a little more complicate. The following example measures the width of an upright X and uses this for the length of the bar. The solution also works for different math styles:


  % #1: math style
  % #2: unused (empty)
    \hbox to\wd2{%
        \vrule width 0pt height\ht0 %
        \kern\wd0 %
  \copy2 %


$\bar{X}$ $\overline{X}$




  • Just a question if I put \Xbar in chapter or section I get an error : – Aviroum Jun 27 '16 at 21:58
  • Missing number, treated as zero. ... }\copy 2 }_{n_2}$}{18}{subsection.1.12.4} in tableofcontents – Aviroum Jun 27 '16 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Haouam The macro was not robust and \protect was needed in front of \Xbar. The updated answer now uses \DeclareRobustCommand and \Xbar should work without an additional \protect. – Heiko Oberdiek Jun 28 '16 at 19:16
  • Thank you , I have not noticed the update, It works fine ! – Aviroum Jun 29 '16 at 0:38
  • I was trying to reproduce the format in my statistics textbook, and this looks like it exactly (the \Xbar in the bottom left). Thank you! – Joshua Detwiler Apr 29 '18 at 2:22

I need a bit shorter overlines for variables in boolean algebra to make clear that variables are separately inverted. I defined the following command:

\newcommand{\olsi}[1]{\,\overline{\!{#1}}} % overline short italic

It is special designed for variables that are typeset in italic, so it is not only above but rather above right. So upright characters need a different definition:

\newcommand{\ols}[1]{\mskip.5\thinmuskip\overline{\mskip-.5\thinmuskip {#1} \mskip-.5\thinmuskip}\mskip.5\thinmuskip} % overline short


$ \olsi{x+y} = \olsi{x}\olsi{y} $

is rendered as:

example of short overlines

I hope that helps.

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