I have a symbol which I would like to use in a document as a math symbol. (In a manner akin to the symbol $*$, say - as a subscript, most often.)

This symbol is a black-on-white inkscape .svg file, with native dimensions 3mmx3mm. If I follow this solution to the same problem, exporting the symbol first as a .pdf, the on-screen document looks great and does exactly as I want.

However, when it comes to printing such a document, every piece of math involving this symbol prints in a low-resolution, fuzzy 'picture' style. I presume that the printer is parsing these pieces as images, and whatever clever thing it tries to do to make images look correct is doing something bad to the surrounding text.

Is there a way to include my symbol in a manner that the printer parses it as a normal character, and doesn't ruin the surrounding math?

For full transparency, I'm printing using Preview on a Macbook pro, through my university's printing system.

  • 1
    Presumably your symbol is a kind of font character. Then, the solution is to get a font editor (such as FontForge) and create another character. FontForge can import eps and (often) svg. Of course, must be line art, not shading, just like any character. If your compiler engine is LuaLaTeX or XeTeX, you can place the character almost anywhere in the font, and call for it by Unicode location. I have actually done this on a regular basis. But if using old-fashioned pdflatex, then you'll have to replace an otherwise unused character in the font encoding, or create another font encoding. – user139954 Jan 23 '18 at 19:05
  • 1
    Are you allowed to share the svg file? – user36296 Jan 23 '18 at 20:14
  • @RobtAll: Thanks. I'll look into FontForge/etc as this sounds like a good option. Is it straightforward to replace an unused character? Does this play nicely for other readers of the file? – Tom H Jan 23 '18 at 21:59
  • @samcarter: I can but I've no idea how to do this - if you let me know then I'll go ahead and do it. – Tom H Jan 23 '18 at 22:00
  • 1
    1. It is straightforward. 2. PDF readers have no problem with it. "Just another character in a font." 3. If you create a character that looks like an aseterisk, and place it (say) where the Yen symbol would be, then text extractions will produce the Yen symbol. But it will always look like a custom asterisk in the PDF. 4. If you use Open Type technology (with fontspec) you can create an alternate asterisk as a "style set." Then text extraction will produce an asterisk. Or, it may be that there is a particular Unicode location for the very symbol you need. – user139954 Jan 23 '18 at 23:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.