# Is there a reason why I should not make use of commands such as \bf to bold my text instead of the "standard" ones?

The question arose eversince I learnt about \textbf{} and I couldn't quite spot any differences against \bf.

• Actually \bf is more akin to \bfseries than \textbf. But there are good reasons to stick with the latter constructs, as many will point out. Oct 2, 2021 at 13:44
• @StevenB.Segletes Rookie question, How do you highlight (if that's the right word in this case) like you did the aforementioned commands? Oct 2, 2021 at 13:46
• \bf is not defined by default in latex and has not been since 1993, so unless you are using a very old format it is best to stick to the standard commands. Oct 2, 2021 at 13:51
• @Lambert Use backticks  to format code. By placing "\bf" between single backticks you will get \bf. Oct 2, 2021 at 13:51
• The answer to "Correct" way to bold/italicize text? may also be worth having a look at. Oct 2, 2021 at 13:52

\bf has not been defined by default since LaTeX2e was introduced in 1993. Some classes may define it for compatibility with old documents but that can not be assumed.

\documentclass{minimal}

\begin{document}

this \textbf{that}

\end{document}


But

\documentclass{minimal}

\begin{document}

this {\bf that}

\end{document}


produces the error

! Undefined control sequence.
l.5 this {\bf
that}
?


Even when it is defined, the behaviour is not the same as \textbf as it ignores the current font settings:

Note that that is not italic here, but \textbf gives bold italic in an italic context.

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\itshape

this {\bf that} \textbf{the other}

\end{document}