I need to create two custom symbols for an article I am writing. The two symbols should have the same size as usual mathematical symbols, and should look like this:

(sorry for the small size). I would define them pixel by pixel, but I don't know how to do it, nor what the correct conventions are (like height/width depending if it is a normal equation, inline equation or sub/superscript). Could anyone help or explain how to do it?

The symbols \upspoon and \upfilledspoon in the MnSymbol package are close to what I want, but I'd prefer if they had little squares instead of little circles. Same thing for \upspoon and \upblackspoon in fdsymbol.

However, both those packages appear to interfere with the packages I already use for mathematical symbols.

  • 2
    See mirrors.ctan.org/info/symbols/comprehensive/symbols-a4.pdf for a extensive list of symbols, perhaps those symbols (markers?) do exist already...
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 20:20
  • @ChristianHupfer I have already looked at a couple standard lists of common symbols and, honestly, even if such symbols were present in the document you linked I think it would be faster to define them from scratch than to go through the 338 pages... But thanks anyway for the reference. Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 20:24
  • 1
    if you have them as images then you can use \includegraphics[height=1ex]{image-a} or whatever size you want as you symbol. Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 20:34
  • 1
    @DanielRobert-Nicoud: Drawing the symbols with TikZ is easy, but not the correct scaling with respect to the context where the symbol appears
    – user31729
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 20:42
  • 1
    that's why I said to scale to 1ex (the height of an x) Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Picture mode!







enter image description here

Just for fun and learning, here's a version with the drawing commands in expl3.



\dim_new:N \l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim

\cs_new_protected:Nn \nicoud_yesno:nn
 {% #1 = math style, #2 = stroke or fill the path
  \mkern 0.5mu
  \draw_linewidth:n { \nicoud_line_thickness:n { #1 } }
  \hbox_set:Nn \l_tmpa_box { $#1X$ }
  \dim_set:Nn \l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim
   {% the height of X minus the line thickness
    \box_ht:N \l_tmpa_box - \nicoud_line_thickness:n { #1 }
  % the top part
  \nicoud_path:n { #2 }
  % the bottom part
  \draw_path_moveto:n {0.35\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,0.0\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_lineto:n {0.35\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,0.5\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_use_clear:n { stroke }
  \mkern 0.5mu
\cs_new_protected:Nn \nicoud_path:n
  \draw_path_moveto:n {0.1\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,0.5\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_lineto:n {0.1\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,1.0\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_lineto:n {0.6\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,1.0\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_lineto:n {0.6\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim,0.5\l_nicoud_yesno_ht_dim}
  \draw_path_use_clear:n { #1 }
\cs_new:Nn \nicoud_line_thickness:n
  \str_case:nn { #1 }





enter image description here

  • 4
    You learning from a true master (+1) Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 21:08
  • @DavidCarlisle Still not able to design airplanes with picture mode.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 21:09
  • 1
    @Dr.ManuelKuehner Working on it!
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 22:14
  • 1
    @Dr.ManuelKuehner egreg aspires to be able to do things like this tex.stackexchange.com/a/114847/1090 Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 22:14
  • @David Carlisle Ah, I see. I do not doubt egreg's capability to copy this plane :) Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 22:19

You can buid the symbols with tikz


\tikz[baseline]{\fill[draw] (0,0) -- ++(0,1ex) ++(-0.25ex,0) rectangle (0.25ex,1.5ex) }%  

\tikz[baseline]{\draw (0,0) -- ++(0,1ex) ++(-0.25ex,0) rectangle (0.25ex,1.5ex) }%  


{\Huge $F  \myopensymbol $}   

{\normalsize $F \myopensymbol $}   

{\tiny $ F \myopensymbol $}   

{\Huge $F  \myclosedsymbol $}   

{\normalsize $F \myclosedsymbol $}   

{\tiny $ F \myclosedsymbol $}   


enter image description here

  • Thanks, but this doesn't scale correctly when you put it as a subscript. Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 21:11
  • 5
    @DanielRobert-Nicoud use \text{..the above definition} and \text from amsmath then it will scale. Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 21:14

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