# Combining small caps with lining figures

I use small caps in my document for all abbreviations, even though it can be challenging sometimes (e.g. in abbreviations like "dACL"). I also use old-style figures in the body of my text but I believe that one should use lining & fixed-width numbers in tables and lining proportional numbers in math.

The question now becomes, do I keep the small-caps in the table (see MWE below) and use lining figures or small caps and old-style figures? Or do I use all caps in the table to match better with the lining figures?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{libertine}
\usepackage[libertine]{newtxmath}
\useosf
\usepackage{booktabs}
\newcommand*{\abbr}[1]{%
% Format abbreviations as small capitals
\textsc{\MakeLowercase{#1}}%
}

\begin{document}
\begin{table}[hbp]
\centering
\begin{tabular}{llll}
\toprule
& \abbr{SNS}-3615  & \abbr{SNS}-3655  & \abbr{SNS}-3695  \\
\midrule
\abbr{CPU} & Intel Xeon 4110  & Intel Xeon 4116  & Intel Xeon 4116  \\
cores      & 8                & 12               & 16               \\
geheugen   & 32\,\abbr{GB}    & 96\,\abbr{GB}    & 256\,\abbr{GB}    \\
power supplies & $1\times 770$\,\abbr{W} & $2\times 770$\,\abbr{W} & $2\times 770$\,\abbr{W} \\[2ex]
endpoints (standalone) & 10000 & 25000 & 50000 \\
endpoints (\abbr{PSN}) & 10000 & 50000 & 100000 \\
\bottomrule
\end{tabular}
\caption{Specificaties van de Cisco secure network servers (\abbr{SNS}) waarop Cisco \abbr{ISE} draait}
\label{tab:ise-sizes}
\end{table}
\end{document}

• Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks more like a "what looks better" type of question rather than a "how do I get it" question, and as such quite opinion-based. Feb 1 at 12:13
• I fully agree this is a rather opinion-based question. If not here, do you have a suggestion where I can ask this question instead? Feb 1 at 12:21
• Robert Bringhurst uses small caps and old style figures for tables in his Elements of Typographic Style
– DG'
Feb 1 at 13:47

Robert Bringhurst combines small caps and old style figures in his Elements of Typographic Style. He also notes, that small caps should be letter spaced by 5-10%. You can do that by using \textls from microtype:

\newcommand*{\abbr}[1]{%
% Format abbreviations as small capitals
\textls[50]{\textsc{\MakeLowercase{#1}}}%
}


Your table in Bringhurst's style would look like this:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[osf]{libertine}
\usepackage[libertine]{newtxmath}
\usepackage{microtype}
\usepackage{booktabs}
\newcommand*{\abbr}[1]{%
% Format abbreviations as small capitals
\textls[50]{\textsc{\MakeLowercase{#1}}}%
}

\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}

\lipsum[1]

\begin{table}[hbp]
\begin{tabular}{rlll}
& \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3615} & \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3655} & \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3695} \\[2ex]
\abbr{CPU}                      & Intel Xeon 4110          & Intel Xeon 4116          & Intel Xeon 4116          \\
\textit{cores}                  & 8                        & 12                       & 16                       \\
\textit{geheugen}               & 32\,\abbr{GB}            & 96\,\abbr{GB}            & 256\,\abbr{GB}           \\
\textit{power supplies}         & 1\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      & 2\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      & 2\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      \\[2ex]
\textit{endpoints} (standalone) & 10\,000                  & 25\,000                  & 50\,000                  \\
\textit{endpoints} (\abbr{PSN}) & 10\,000                  & 50\,000                  & 100\,000                 \\
\end{tabular}
\caption{Specificaties van de Cisco secure network servers (\abbr{SNS}) waarop Cisco \abbr{ISE} draait}
\label{tab:ise-sizes}
\end{table}

\lipsum[2]

\end{document}


It would be even more bringhurst-y to set the table in sans serif:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage[osf]{libertine}
\usepackage[libertine]{newtxmath}
\usepackage{microtype}
\usepackage{caption}
\DeclareCaptionLabelFormat{bringhurst}{\scshape\textls[50]{\MakeLowercase{#1}\,#2}}
\captionsetup{font=sf,labelformat=bringhurst}
\usepackage{booktabs}
\newcommand*{\abbr}[1]{%
% Format abbreviations as small capitals
\textls[50]{\textsc{\MakeLowercase{#1}}}%
}

\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}

\lipsum[1]

\begin{table}[hbp]
\sffamily
\begin{tabular}{rlll}
& \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3615} & \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3655} & \textbf{\abbr{SNS}-3695} \\[2ex]
\abbr{CPU}                      & Intel Xeon 4110          & Intel Xeon 4116          & Intel Xeon 4116          \\
\textit{cores}                  & 8                        & 12                       & 16                       \\
\textit{geheugen}               & 32\,\abbr{GB}            & 96\,\abbr{GB}            & 256\,\abbr{GB}           \\
\textit{power supplies}         & 1\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      & 2\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      & 2\,×\,770\,\abbr{W}      \\[2ex]
\textit{endpoints} (standalone) & 10\,000                  & 25\,000                  & 50\,000                  \\
\textit{endpoints} (\abbr{PSN}) & 10\,000                  & 50\,000                  & 100\,000                 \\
\end{tabular}
\caption{Specificaties van de Cisco secure network servers (\abbr{SNS}) waarop Cisco \abbr{ISE} draait}
\label{tab:ise-sizes}
\end{table}

\lipsum[2]

\end{document}

• +1 for citing Bringhurst, one of my favorite books. Feb 1 at 15:01
• @StevenB.Segletes - Mine too
– DG'
Feb 1 at 15:08
• I believe \microtypesetup{tracking=smallcaps,letterspace=50} does the same as \textls[50]{}? If so, I already have that enabled but thank you for mentioning it. Feb 1 at 15:48
• @Tommiie – Indeed, your setting does the same
– DG'
Feb 1 at 20:50
• @DG': I bought the Bringhurst book online so I am eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can read it. Do you know, does Bringhust also mention math? Feb 2 at 8:17