$\sigma_{ij} = \rho\sigma_{i}\sigma_{j}$

enter image description here

Is it just me, or does the spacing look wrong on the right-hand side? The subscripts seem to be too far to the right.

Is there a way to move the subscripts closer, like they are on the left side? Or maybe the spacing looks fine and my eyes play a trick on me? I'm using LuaLaTeX with the Lucida Bright fonts.

Thanks for helping!

  • I have give an answer with nice results in similar problem here: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/396528/…. If it solves your problem tell us to mark the question as a duplicate...
    – koleygr
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:42
  • It looks like you're using a Times Roman math font. If this impression is correct, which math font do you employ?
    – Mico
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:43
  • @Mico I'm using LucidaBrightMathOT, I got the font from TUG a while ago: tug.org/store/lucida/opentype.html
    – Florian
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:47
  • opentypemath setting is still very experimental luatex has some settings.. try values of \mathoption noitaliccompensation` I don't have the font to test Jul 5, 2018 at 14:57
  • With XeLaTeX the output is correct.
    – egreg
    Jul 5, 2018 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


I think this is a bug in LuaTeX. Curiously, if you add an empty atom to the subscript, the kerning is correct.


\setmainfont{Lucida Bright OT}
\setmathfont{Lucida Bright Math OT}


$\sigma_{ij}=\sigma_{i}\sigma_{j}$ (original)

$\sigma_{ij}=\sigma_{i{}}\sigma_{j{}}$ (with phantoms)


enter image description here

For comparison, this is the output with XeLaTeX

enter image description here

Note: apparently LuaTeX 1.09 has fixed the issue, but TeX Live 2018 is bound to LuaTeX 1.07.

  • I see a similar spacing issue for \[ T_{\text{feed}} \] under LuaLaTeX + Lucida, but not under XeLaTeX + Lucida (nor under pdfTeX). However, it is not corrected by phantoms as for the above. Is it known whether LuaTeX 1.09 covers this issue also?
    – John
    Jul 5, 2018 at 22:18
  • 1
    @John Sorry, no idea. I can't run 1.09; it was Ulrike Fischer who did the experiments.
    – egreg
    Jul 5, 2018 at 22:21

You can add a small negative mu space (f.y.i., a thinspace: \, is 3mu):



\[ \sigma_{ij} = \rho\sigma_{\mkern-1 mu i}\sigma_{\mkern-1mu j}


enter image description here

  • Thanks, that looks better, I'll use that if there is no way to correct the spacing document wide.
    – Florian
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:49

This is a problem of kerning. You could borrow the subscriptcorrection code from the newtxmath package, which I believe is inspired by that from the mtpro2 package.

Edited: The following code makes the kerning automatic, so you don’t need to add negative spaces each time a “bad-looking” subscript occurs. Since the code is taken from newtxmath, the kerning instructions are designed for Times. You might need to make adjustments for Lucida.

% Enable subscript correction
\AtBeginDocument{\mathcode`\_=\string"8000 \catcode`\_=12\relax}
% Subscript correction code
 \ifx\next\space@\def\next@. {\futurelet\next\sb@}\else
   \ifx\next f\mkern-\tw@ mu\else
   \ifx\next j\mkern-\tw@ mu\else
   \ifx\next p\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   %\ifx\next t\mkern\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next y\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next A\mkern-\tw@ mu\else
   \ifx\next B\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next D\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next H\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next I\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next K\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next L\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next M\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next N\mkern-0.5mu\else
   \ifx\next P\mkern-\@ne mu\else
   \ifx\next X\mkern-\@ne mu\else

You may adjust the \@ne, \tw@ and 0.5 to your use of font for LucidaBrightMathOT, which are completely subjective as they are problems of graphic design.

Added: If you wish to add new kerning instruction, for instance for $\sigma_i$, then insert \ifx\next i\mkern-<number>mu\else before the \ifx\next j\mkern-\tw@ mu\else line, and add one more \fi to that sequence of repeated \fi’s. Common choices for <number> are 1, 2 and 3.

Also, notice that newtxmath commented out the kerning instruction for $_t$: %\ifx\next t\mkern\@ne mu\else.

  • Thanks! This improves the j subscript, I'll try adjusting the parameters to get the i right.
    – Florian
    Jul 5, 2018 at 19:18
  • @Florian I added some instructions to help with the kerning of $_i$. :) Jul 5, 2018 at 20:28

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