Given the following minimal example:

$a \star b$.

This produces the desired output in the PDF file.

However, my problem is that if I search in the PDF file (with CTRL-F) for the questionmark character "?" (without quotation marks), that this specific star symbol is found by the search engine as if it were a questionmark (although it is a star).

This is annoying, because I like to search my final PDF for questionmarks in order to find outdated labels/citations etc. quickly. If there are lots of symbols like \star, that are found as "false positives", this workflow gets tedious and error prone.

Question: Is there a way to fix this issue? I want to use symbols like \star in my document but I don't want to find them in the final PDF when searching for questionmarks.


1 Answer 1


You can try glyphtounicode:

\input glyphtounicode
$a \star b$.
  • 3
    +1: Is there a reference for glyphtounicode somewhere? Commented May 31, 2019 at 10:07
  • 1
    @Dr.ManuelKuehner See the pdftex documentation. Commented May 31, 2019 at 10:10
  • That seems to work, thank you.
    – SampleTime
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 10:11
  • 2
    @SampleTime Possible alternative: The pdftex manuals states, that the ctan.org/pkg/cmap package has the same effect (LATEX users could load the cmap package to achieve the same effect.). But I think that Ulrike's approach is more general and safer (see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/451235). Commented May 31, 2019 at 10:27

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