I am setting e.g. directory names in a typewriter font. These names can become long. With the hyphenat package, I enabled hyphenation. Now, what is missing, is that the hyphenation character is replaced e.g. by a backwards oriented arrow.

Thus, what I want to do is something like

\let\origttfamily=\ttfamily %
\renewcommand{\ttfamily}{\origttfamily \hyphenchar\font\ensuremath{\hookleftarrow}}

However, \ensuremath{\hookleftarrow} does not work in this case - it is not a single character.

Can somebody point me towards a solution? Thanks a lot!

(moved from https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4749869/latex-replace-hyphenation-character-by-a-backwards-arrow)

3 Answers 3


You cannot set the \hyphenchar to a character from a different font, but you can redefine \BreakableSlash:

  \texttt{/etc\fshyp really\fshyp long\fshyp directory\fshyp name/}%

As I know, \hyphenchar can be only used as


where \font is a TeX font, and <number> is the code of the glyph in the font. For example:

\hyphenchar\tenrm=`\*    % set the hyphenation char of cmr10 to be *
\hyphenchar\font=`\-     % set the hyphenation char of current font to be -
\hyphenchar\tentt=-1     % set the hyphenation char of cmtt19 to be empty

(Here, \* after acute accent means character code of symbol *.)

That is to say, you can't use a hook left arrow symbol as a hyphenation character, if the font you are using doesn't have this glyph.

Maybe you may use some special font to solve this problem, or someone else have other trick.

There is another way to get speical hyphenation manually. For example, we can redefine active character ~ to do this:


If you come into a situation where you want your hyphenchar to be something like \hookleftarrow, and Philipp's answer does not help, then there's still the option to create a virtual font. By this you can circumvent both the problems that \hookleftarrow is from a different font and that it's not a single character. It's not as hard as it might sound: If you need this, I can fill in the details.

  • Details have been requested: tex.stackexchange.com/q/25852/86 Aug 16, 2011 at 14:19
  • @Andrew: Thanks for notifying me. However, it appears that I hardly remember the details :-( Aug 16, 2011 at 19:46
  • @HendrikVogt: I guess it was harder than you made it sound after all ;-)
    – Tommiie
    Apr 20, 2020 at 13:01

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