# Caret that looks like a typed caret?

I want to type a caret in my document that looks like a typed caret---not a hat, not a wedge, not a hat over an invisible space character. I'm aware of the answer at How to typset the symbol “^” (caret/circumflex/hat) and none of them look like a^b. How can I get that in Latex? How can I get a^b?

• Welcome to the site. You tell us what does not look like a^b, but could you provide a pointer to an image that shows what you do hope to achieve? Otherwise, we are just guessing. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:37
• I really thought I covered that. Every option in the answer I mentioned above looks very different from a simple typewritten a^b. Either the caret is high and small, or it is clearly the mathematical wedge symbol. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:38
• I want to achieve something that looks exactly like a^b as you are reading it here on this comment. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:39
• I am old enough to remember typewriters, but there are many here who are probably too young for that. Even so, I can't visualize a typewritten carat in a distinct way, given the decades since I used one. Okay, I just read your intervening comment. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:40
• Thank you for asking questions that may clarify the matter for others who might read this. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:45

Maybe this?

The {1.5} governs the horizontal stretch of the nominal ^ character, the [2] the vertical stretch. The {-1ex} governs the vertical placement of the result, and the overall object takes up the space given by {\ \,}. One can revise at will.

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{stackengine,graphicx}
\newcommand\specialcaret{%
\stackengine{0pt}{\ \,}{\scalebox{1.5}[2]{\raisebox{-1ex}{\string^}}}{O}{c}{F}{T}{L}}
\begin{document}
a\specialcaret b
\end{document}


• Oh, that is intriguing. I wish I could understand the code you used to create it. I'll have to see if I can make it work myself. But thank you! Sep 1, 2016 at 18:51
• @djvbmcBaw I have provided some explanation on how to modify it to suit. It is up to each font designer to decide how it should look, I suppose. It is hard because we are going against the wishes of the font designer on how it should look. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:53
• That worked really well. I tested it in my document. It looks like I typed a caret and I meant a caret. Latex should not make it so hard to achieve that. You should be able to escape a caret somehow so that it just prints a caret. Sep 1, 2016 at 18:55
• I mention this because a person with your expertise may perhaps be able to understand what I'm saying and even fix the problem. If you don't see what I'm talking about with regard to the way carets look in Latex-typeset documents, then go over to Word and compare. Look at what a caret is supposed to look like. Try to duplicate that in any simple way in Latex. I'm not insisting on something contrary to the font. I'm trying to make it look like a caret in-font. That's all. Thanks again. Sep 1, 2016 at 19:15
• @djvbmcBaw I wouldn't rely on anything produced by Word. The shape of a caret is defined by the font designer. Perhaps you need a different font to meet your aesthetics. Sep 2, 2016 at 18:13

After toying with several options, I achieved what I actually wanted. I wanted what looked like math typed on a typewriter with no fancy typesetting. Ironically, Latex makes that difficult. Here is an example of what worked:

{\fontfamily{pcr}\selectfont compute the integral of \verb!e^(-x^2)! from 1 to 5}


Note the use of \verb!...! allowing me to use the carat symbol as a caret. Also, I had to put this

\makeatletter
\renewcommand*{\verbatim@font}{}
\makeatother


in the preamble so the verbatim text would inherit the font of the surrounding text. I learned the latter trick here: How to globally set \verb font style to match the default document style?.

It's not exactly right, but try $$^\wedge$$

• That gave me an error, but also an idea. {}^\wedge worked for me. Feb 22, 2022 at 5:51

Seeing the OP's solution, I'd point out a couple things:

• The default Computer Modern encoding does not have a ^ character at that position in the font (it uses that character code for the ˆ accent which is a different glyph from ^. This is a consequence of Knuth having to fit all the characters that he wanted to use into a 7-bit character coding thanks to the limitations of the technologies of the late 70s/early 80s.¹

• But if you're using a font which does, in fact have a ^ character, you can use the command

\char\^


to set the character at that position without having to jump through hoops with \verb and \verbatim@font` for your needs.

1. Fun bit of history: When I first started using TeX on the University of Illinois IBM mainframe system, the device driver we had for the Xerox 8700 printers that we used only allowed pre-selected sets of fonts to appear in any document thanks to limitations of the printer firmware. It wasn't until a later upgrade and some fantastic programming work from Tom Reid at Texas A&M that we were freed from those limitations. Until that happened, since the 8700 was the only supported printer for users, LaTeX could not be used on our systems.