I have a rather elaborate font setup in a larger document, were I recently noticed some funny spacing with greek letters and subscripts in mathmode.

showcasing the issue

I verified on a MWE (below) that it's not cmap, microtype, or even lato (why should it ever?). The culprit seems to be mathdesign. I have a sort-of-fix with a sledgehammer – use negative space where it feels right, but this is impossibly a correct solution. It also requires a different amount of spacing in each letter pair. The effect is present in TeXLive 2016 and 2017.

What is the correct fix?

The MWE version with mathdesign, garamondx:

enter image description here

Standard font (lmodern):

enter image description here

Adding negative space \! by hand:

enter image description here



\usepackage{cmap} %% copy-paste usable

%% hyphenation?

%% quotes


%% works too, finer

%% the current standard
%\usepackage[garamondx]{newtxmath} %% does not work, unsure if better

%% the real sans-serif for texts

\microtypecontext{spacing=nonfrench} %% log said so


The subscripts with greek letters have too much horizontal spacing:

$\epsilon_l$, $\varepsilon_l$, $\varepsilon_{\textup{\emph{l}}}$, $\varepsilon{}_l$.

$\epsilon_g$, $\varepsilon_g$, $\varepsilon_{\textup{\emph{l}}}$, $\varepsilon{}_g$.

$d_l$, $d_l$, $d_{\textup{\emph{l}}}$.

$\xi_l$, $\xi_\phi$, $\xi_{\textup{\emph{l}}}$.

  • possibly helpful: subscriptcorrection for mathdesign? – barbara beeton Nov 5 '17 at 17:51
  • Thank you! I defined \newcommand{\kerng}[1]{\mkern-5mu{#1}} and \newcommand{\kernl}[1]{\mkern-3mu{#1}}, with them: $\varepsilon_{\kernl{l}}$, vs. $\varepsilon_l$ and $\varepsilon_{\kerng{g}}$, vs. $\varepsilon_g$. – Oleg Lobachev Nov 5 '17 at 21:47
  • if the suggestion allowed you to solve your problem, can this question be closed? – barbara beeton Nov 5 '17 at 22:29
  • Yes. (I don't see a way to do this myself.) A more permanent and easy solution would be nice, but it does not seem it is out there. – Oleg Lobachev Nov 5 '17 at 23:11

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