\cdots and \dotsm, which I presume to stand for center dots and dots for multiplication, are both three dots in the middle of the line. I don't see the difference between them, and which is better to use in defining a variable like this?

Code: S = 1!2! \dotsm 100!

Output: S = 1!2!...100!

Similar question (not a duplicate): What is the difference between ‎\ldots‎ and ‎\cdots‎?

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    As is customary on this site, please show compilable code (Minimal Working Example). The two commands you mentioned don't exist in default LaTeX so it's impossible to reproduce your result and suggest anything. Thank you.
    – Miyase
    Jul 5, 2022 at 22:42
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    @Enderman note any version in a javascript emulation such as mathjax is off topic here, I answered the question assuming you were asking about latex. Jul 5, 2022 at 22:47
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    @Enderman ah so actually they are using tex (for the pdf option): This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.22 (TeX Live 2021) although they also show a mathjax option Jul 5, 2022 at 22:55
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    amsmath as it is now is fine Jul 5, 2022 at 22:58
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    Unrelated to the question, but your example might look better with a thinspace (\,) between 1! and 2!.
    – mickep
    Jul 6, 2022 at 5:21

1 Answer 1


\cdots is defined in the LaTeX format. \dotsm is an alias in amsmath, defined as


So, \cdots and \dotsm are identical.

  • I see. However did you figure that out though? I would like to know! Jul 6, 2022 at 15:21
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    @Enderman I knew the definition anyway (I have been maintaining LaTeX for 30 years:-) so I just copied the line from amsmath.sty. You could have used \show\cdots and \show\dotsm and compared the resulting messages. Jul 6, 2022 at 15:30
  • Thanks! I just wanted to know how you whipped up that answer so fast :-) Jul 6, 2022 at 15:31

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