# What is the correct way to typeset a vector when there is subscript or superscript?

Consider this MWE:

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

$\vec{v}_{12345}^{12345678}$

$\overrightarrow{P_{12345}P_{12345}^{12345678}}$

\end{document} As you can see, \vec is designed to typeset a vector with an arrow above the argument.

However, when we do not have a unary symbol to represent a vector (e.g. the difference between the coordinates of two points) then we can use \overrightarrow. But this notation has two problems:

1. When we are working with long chain of numbers \overrightarrow collides with it, as shown in the example.
2. And I think the most important: it is not consistent with \vec. Why? Because \vec stops the arrow before the subscript/superscript, but \overrightarrow continues the arrow to the end regardless of the existence or not of subscript/superscript.

Remember that we are writing vectors, no matter the length of the text that represents the vector.

## What I want

With your huge help, I would like to write the following:   Thanks!!

• You can do that e.g. with $\overrightarrow{P_{12345}P}\!_{12345}^{\,12345678}$ but I promise you that in a few years you will find this notation awkward. – user121799 Apr 1 at 23:19
• @marmot I am not a mathematician but a student of ingeering, so the conventions are our thing. :P – manooooh Apr 1 at 23:20
• it's best to avoid the over-arrow notation, especially you need it for anything more than x – David Carlisle Apr 1 at 23:20
• Then see this comment ... ;-) – user121799 Apr 1 at 23:21

This seems a really confusing (and ugly) convention, but.. \documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\sbox0{$P$}
$\overrightarrow{\strut P_{12345}\kern\wd0}\kern-\wd0P_{12345}^{12345678}$

\end{document}

• Thanks! The original \overrightarrow stops the arrow just after the last P, and your solution stops it at the middle. How can we stop the arrow a little more to the right? – manooooh Apr 1 at 23:43
• @manooooh middle? it goes to the right edge (bar the sidebearing on the arrowhead) but use \kern1.1\wd0}\kern-1.1\wd0 if you prefer (or any other factor) – David Carlisle Apr 1 at 23:46
• @manooooh Generally I use the notation for a vector of \overline or \widebar or esvect package. – Sebastiano Apr 2 at 7:42