I am trying to write a document in which for some reason some of the things like \overleftarrow{example} works but \leftarrow and \rightarrow etc. does not work. Any suggestions?

  • Doesn't work as in "doesn't compile" or doesn't work as in "doesn't produce an arrow" or what?
    – blahdiblah
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:33
  • How exactly don't they work? Do you get an error or do they just not show up? Nov 23, 2011 at 23:33
  • @blahdiblah: Heh, we asked exactly the same question within 10 seconds of each other. Nov 23, 2011 at 23:33
  • I get an error I think something about not being in math mode ? ! Missing $ inserted. it says
    – Cemre
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:34
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    – Werner
    Nov 24, 2011 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


\leftarrow is a math mode symbol. Try $\leftarrow$ if you're using it inline in regular text.

  • ah so thats what missing $ means after all.. thanks it worked. How do I switch to math mode ?
    – Cemre
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:37
  • Math mode just means that the part of the document you're working on is an equation. $abc$ means the abc is in math mode. You can also use \(\); things like \[\] and the various math environments (equation, align...etc) also put their contents into math mode but also have other effects. Nov 23, 2011 at 23:38
  • Using $s is one way, but there are others. Have a look at, e.g., math.uiuc.edu/~hildebr/tex/course/intro2.html for more information about LaTeX's various modes.
    – blahdiblah
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:38

EDIT: It sounds like you're not in math mode when you're trying to insert the arrows. If you're already in an equation, you might be using a command that makes a box. Try surrounding the arrow commands with $ or \( \).

  • 1
    still doest work but just discovered that \ensuremath{\leftarrow} works but dont know how I can do that with out \ensuremath tag
    – Cemre
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:33
  • It sounds like you might be having issues with math mode. Are you trying to put the arrows inside some sort of box? Nov 23, 2011 at 23:34
  • trying to use them in an \enumarate along with an \item
    – Cemre
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:35
  • As I said, you need to be in math mode. Try using $\rightarrow$ or \(\rightarrow\) when you want an arrow. Nov 23, 2011 at 23:36

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