I recently found \smallsetminus as a much nicer alternative to just \setminus, which is essentially just a backslash. However, I'm a bit unhappy with how much size it leaves before and after the \ character.

Is there any way to reduce that space? Or a different alternative other than \smallsetminus?

1 Answer 1


\setsmallminus is a binary operator (packages amssymb or MnSymbol). Binary operators gets same space before and after (unless in script styles). The additional spaces are not inserted, if the symbol is an ordinary symbol. That can be achieved by a subformula:

A {\smallsetminus} B

Full example, extended:

% \usepackage{MnSymbol}
\[ A + B \]
\[ A \smallsetminus B \]
\[ A \!\smallsetminus\! B \]
\[ A {\smallsetminus} B \]
\[ \mathbb{I} \smallsetminus \{0\} \]
\[ \mathbb{I} \!\smallsetminus\! \{0\} \]
\[ \mathbb{I} {\smallsetminus} \{0\} \]


Without the additional spaces of a binary operator the fourth and last lines look wrong to me. A compromise are the middle lines that reduce the spacing using \!.

  • I see what you mean, it also looks wrong to me. But I don't like the second line either. It looks particularly bad in the actual text I'm writing: $\mathbb{I}\smallsetminus\{0\}$.
    – FPP
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 2:40
  • Middle lines are exactly what I needed, thank you.
    – FPP
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 14:42

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