I've been reading The Elements of Typographic Style and I was wondering whether there was a similar resource for specifically mathematical typesetting.

Is there a book or other document that sets out answers to the following questions: - What are the basic units of mathematical writing and how much space should there be between each of them? - What fonts are available that contain a good selection of specially designed mathematical symbols (Sum and integral symbols; Greek letters that fit with the italic and roman alphabets; arrows, primes, etc. that fit with the typeface) - Advice on when inline maths is appropriate and when formulae should be on a new line.

Ideally something that deals with these questions with an eye to TeX and friends, but I'm really looking for something on typography. N.B. I'm not really looking for answers to the above questions here, but for resources that offer answers to them as part of a systematic treatment of mathematical typesetting in the mould of Bringhurst's Elements …

  • 6
    There's Appendix G of the TeXbook.
    – Mico
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 11:11
  • I attempted to do something like that in my book “Tipografía y notaciones científicas” (in Spanish, 2008). If I've succeeded or not, I don't know. Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 8:43

3 Answers 3


You can have a look at Knuth's Guide to Mathematical Typography, it is a bit different, but consider it as a guide by example. For example it helped me to solve Should one use thousands separators in equations?. (See also http://tex.loria.fr/typographie/mathwriting.pdf).

P.R Halmo's How to Write Mathematics is also good, although not concentrating on typography but more on style and exposition, as he says This is a subjective essay, and its title is misleading; a more honest title might be 'How I write Mathematics' . There is a copy here.

  • Is the link you gave for the Knuth thing correct? Is this what you meant? tex.loria.fr/typographie/mathwriting.pdf
    – Seamus
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 11:22
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    @Seamus They both correct. In the first link, you can download his papers in TeX. He has well thought "samples" for everything! Halmos writing's are also good, I will amend the post.
    – yannisl
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 11:30
  • If this is the Halmos of Naïve set theory I like his style...
    – Seamus
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 12:03
  • Yes and the Halmos symbol fame en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halmos_symbol
    – yannisl
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 12:08
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    Perhaps later than the one you are thinking of but the Mathematical Typography paper in "Digital Typography" originally appeared in Bulletin of the AMS (new series) 1 (March 1979), pp 337-372 and was a lecture given under the auspices of the AMS on 4 January 1978.
    – mas
    Commented Oct 29, 2011 at 16:36

"Handbook of typography for the mathematical sciences" by Steven Krantz (2001) extended Swanson's "Mathematics into Type" into the digital typesetting, specifically TeX, world. Whilst it may not address all your questions in the detail you want it may be helpful to identify specific questions. There is a preview of the book on Google books.

A second work, mentioned more for its links to Bringhurst rather than being exclusively mathematical, is the forthcoming (in print, earlier versions were available as downloads) LaTeX and Friends by Marc van Dongen. A recent review on the TUG website includes the following:

Since The TeXbook, many books about TeX discuss not only the typesetting program, but also other aspects of typographic art and science, discussing the rules for book design and the best practices. LaTeX and Friends follows this tradition, and Bringhurst’s immortal Elements is one of the most often cited books in the text. The reader learns many useful typographic facts, such as setting the punctuation symbols at the border of two types in the brighter type, the spacing in abbreviations and initials, etc. Many people from the intended audience get their first exposure to the typography from TeX-related books, and this one provides a good introduction to the subject.


Typesetting rules for mathematics may depend on the specific field of science, i.e. there may be different standards for math, physics, chemistry, etc. I discussed some of the issues regarding typesetting rules for mathematical physics in my EuroTeX 2009 proceedings paper. Please check out the reference sections for links to various examples of standard documents.

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