10

I am looking for symbols of difficulty (exercices for my students). For instance, a face with a question mark above his head, ... I would put one symbol for an easy exercice, two for a more difficult exercice, ... I suppose there are lots of packages with symbols but I only know pifont. So any suggestion is good

5

7 Answers 7

25

With xelatex/lualatex and using the symbola font:

mwe

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{wasysym}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{symbola}
\newcommand\dA{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries !!!}}{😅}$}
\newcommand\dB{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries !}}{😉}$}
\newcommand\dC{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\leftturn}}{😀}$}
\newcommand\dD{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries ?}}{😐}$}
\newcommand\dE{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries ??}}{😕}$}
\newcommand\dG{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries \lightning\lightning}}{😬}$}
\newcommand\dF{$\stackrel{\mbox{\tiny\sffamily\bfseries ???}}{😢}$}
\begin{document}
\begin{itemize}
\item[\dA] So easy!
\item[\dB] All under control ...
\item[\dC] Hehe, I think I can remember ...
\item[\dD] Ummm ...
\item[\dE] Ummm, uhmmm ...
\item[\dF] Too bad with this question ...
\item[\dG] D'ough !
\end{itemize}
\end{document}
6
  • 4
    Most people spell Homer Simpson’s motif, “D’oh!” But when fans online started telling people that, actually, the scripts spelled it “(annoyed grunt),” the showrunners mocked them by changing the name of one episode from “Supercalifragilisticexpiali-d’oh-cious” to “Supercalifragilisticexpiali-(annoyed grunt)-cious.”
    – Davislor
    Jul 13, 2022 at 17:18
  • 2
    "D'ough!" maybe is more appropriate here, since it seems a very hard question how to pronounce "ough". :)
    – Fran
    Jul 13, 2022 at 19:01
  • 1
    Anyway, great answer!
    – Davislor
    Jul 13, 2022 at 20:37
  • 1
    I might drop the "Hehe" and have both 1 and 2 lightning levels, or just have ? and !: just so that the symbols aren't unique, and order is more clear without a lookup table. Like, !!!, !!, !, then ?, ??, ???. As it stands, one has to either have a table, or read the emoticon's expression, order the glyphs, or read the text to determine what the order of the symbols are. A simple "more ! = easier, more ? = harder" with fun faces (smiling for !, not for ?) would eliminate the need for the table to be used.
    – Yakk
    Jul 15, 2022 at 12:42
  • @Yakk That are examples to visualize how smileys with signs on top could look, not a serious attempt of make a clear rank. Everyone can adapt it as they see fit.
    – Fran
    Jul 15, 2022 at 14:05
21

A high-school math book I know uses empty, half-filled and filled circles. One possible realization with pict2e:1)

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{pict2e,xcolor}

\makeatletter
\newcommand*{\difficulty@symbol}[1]{%
   \leavevmode
   \begingroup
   \unitlength\fontcharht\font`\A
   \@picture(1,1)(0,0)
   \linethickness{.8\p@}%
   #1%
   \endpicture
   \endgroup
}
\newcommand*{\easysymbol}{\difficulty@symbol{\put(.5,.55){\color{gray}\circle{1}}}}
\newcommand*{\mediumsymbol}{\difficulty@symbol{\color{gray}\put(.5,.55){\circle{1}}\moveto(0,.55)\curveto(0,-.1)(1,-.1)(1,.55)\closepath\fillpath}}
\newcommand*{\hardsymbol}{\difficulty@symbol{\put(.5,.55){\color{gray}\circle{1}\circle*{1}}}}
\newcommand*{\deadlysymbol}{%
   \leavevmode
   \begingroup
   \unitlength1ex
   \@picture(3.6,1.8)(-1.8,-1)
   \color{darkgray}
   \put(1.46,.13){\circle*{.64}}
   \put(-1.46,.13){\circle*{.64}}
   \put(1.3,-.79){\circle*{.64}}
   \put(-1.3,-.79){\circle*{.64}}
   \linethickness{.5\unitlength}
   \Line(1.46,.13)(-1.3,-.79)
   \Line(-1.46,.13)(1.3,-.79)
   \linethickness{.1\unitlength}
   \roundjoin
   \moveto(-.5,-.75)\curveto(-1.2,0)(-1,.9)(0,.9)\curveto(1,.9)(1.2,0)(.5,-.75)\lineto(.4,-1.2)\lineto(-.4,-1.2)\closepath\fillpath
   \color{white}
   \moveto(-.5,-.75)\curveto(-1.2,0)(-1,.9)(0,.9)\curveto(1,.9)(1.2,0)(.5,-.75)\lineto(.4,-1.2)\lineto(-.4,-1.2)\closepath\strokepath
   \put(.36,0){\circle*{.56}}
   \put(-.36,0){\circle*{.56}}
   \endpicture
   \endgroup
}
\makeatother

\begin{document}

\begin{itemize}
\item[\easysymbol] simple
\item[\mediumsymbol] more difficult
\item[\hardsymbol] hard
\item[\deadlysymbol] really hard
\end{itemize}

\end{document}

enter image description here


1) The original answer used TikZ. Quite the overkill just to draw a circle. You can still see it in the revision history.

15

There are of course fonts you could use, but you don't have to use a font. You can use an image and introduce some artistic flare and draftsmanship as demonstrated here

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{graphicx}
\newcommand\qnface{\includegraphics[height=1em]{qface.png}}

\begin{document}

\begin{itemize}
\item Easy
\item Harder
\item[\qnface] Quite hard
\end{itemize}
\end{document}

with image

enter image description here

1
9

You could use replacement character from Steven B. Segletes answer, or just some kind of star symbol.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amssymb,graphicx,stackengine,xcolor}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{MnSymbol,bbding,pifont}
\usepackage{marginnote}

\def\ucr{\scalebox{2}{\stackinset{c}{}{c}{-.2pt}{%
  \textcolor{white}{\sffamily\bfseries\scriptsize ?}}{%
  \rotatebox{45}{$\blacksquare$}}}}

\begin{document}
\reversemarginpar\marginnote{\ucr\ucr}\noindent\lipsum[66]

\reversemarginpar\marginnote{\ding{81}}\noindent\lipsum[66]

\reversemarginpar\marginnote{\scalebox{2}{$\smallstar\smallstar$}}\noindent\lipsum[66]

\reversemarginpar\marginnote{$\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar$}\noindent\lipsum[66]
\end{document}

enter image description here

5

Perhaps not a useful answer, but this from Knuth's Texbook:

enter image description here

You can probably find TeX for the glyph in the TeX source.

1
  • 5
    The LaTeX code for this is: \usepackage{manfnt} and then \dbend. Jul 19, 2022 at 19:22
5

I repurposed David's beautiful plane in picture mode and added some mountains (the idea being that, when flying a plane, avoiding a tall mountain at close range is difficult).

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\begin{document}

\newsavebox{\easyquestion}
\newsavebox{\mediumquestion}
\newsavebox{\hardquestion}

\savebox{\easyquestion}{%
\scalebox{0.1}{%
\begin{picture}(400,100)
\put(30,40){\line(1,0){150}}
\put(30,40){\line(0,1){60}}
\put(30,100){\line(1,0){20}}
\put(50,100){\line(1,-4){10}}
\put(60,60){\line(1,0){100}}
\put(160,60){\line(1,-1){20}}
\put(100,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(130,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(100,-30){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(100,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(130,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(100,110){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(0,-50){\line(1,0){400}}
\end{picture}%
}}
\savebox{\mediumquestion}{%
\scalebox{0.1}{%
\begin{picture}(400,100)
\put(30,40){\line(1,0){150}}
\put(30,40){\line(0,1){60}}
\put(30,100){\line(1,0){20}}
\put(50,100){\line(1,-4){10}}
\put(60,60){\line(1,0){100}}
\put(160,60){\line(1,-1){20}}
\put(100,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(130,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(100,-30){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(100,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(130,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(100,110){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(0,-50){\line(1,0){400}}
\put(200,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(201,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(202,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(203,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(204,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(205,-50){\line(3,4){80}}
\put(280,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\put(281,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\put(282,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\put(283,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\put(284,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\put(285,60){\line(3,-4){80}}
\end{picture}%
}}
\savebox{\hardquestion}{%
\scalebox{0.1}{%
\begin{picture}(400,100)
\put(30,40){\line(1,0){150}}
\put(30,40){\line(0,1){60}}
\put(30,100){\line(1,0){20}}
\put(50,100){\line(1,-4){10}}
\put(60,60){\line(1,0){100}}
\put(160,60){\line(1,-1){20}}
\put(100,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(130,50){\line(0,-1){80}}
\put(100,-30){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(100,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(130,61){\line(0,1){49}}
\put(100,110){\line(1,0){30}}
\put(0,-50){\line(1,0){400}}
\put(200,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(201,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(202,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(203,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(204,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(205,-50){\line(1,3){60}}
\put(265,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\put(266,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\put(267,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\put(268,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\put(269,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\put(270,130){\line(1,-2){90}}
\qbezier(230,20)(250,100)(270,20)
\qbezier(270,20)(290,-40)(320,20)
\end{picture}%
}}

\begin{itemize}
\item[\usebox{\easyquestion}] I can see my house
\item[\usebox{\mediumquestion}] I wish I had a weapon
\item[\usebox{\hardquestion}] You're making me seasick!
\end{itemize}

\end{document}

enter image description here

1
  • 2
    I felt honour bound to upvot:e-) Jul 15, 2022 at 18:37
3

The symbols used for ski runs—green circle, blue square, and then increasing numbers of black diamonds—are very widely known, standardized internationally in their basic concept, scale well to any resolution, don't need to be in colour, and will have resonance for people who may find little faces to be too cutesy or ambiguous. And the scheme can be extended upwards, to arbitrarily high difficulties, by adding more diamonds, without having to represent increasing frustration by subtle facial expressions.

I would probably consider scaling them so that a student who masters most of the squares can expect a passing grade, and those who want a "good" grade need to make sure they can succeed at most of the diamonds.

I'm having a hard time finding explicit references to a TeX face that includes them, but these are really generic shapes that could be found in any set of bullets or dingbats.

3
  • Thank you all for your answers. And the face with a question mark was just an exemple
    – Didier
    Jul 13, 2022 at 20:31
  • 2
    They're not as standardized as all that... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piste
    – NLambert
    Jul 13, 2022 at 22:32
  • very widely known, standardized internationally I've never seen them in France. All we have are colors: green, blue, red, black. So much for the standardization :) EDIT: I just had a look at the colors in Germany and Austria and they are the same as ours. And then discovered that the "international standard" is in fact US :)
    – WoJ
    Jul 15, 2022 at 15:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .