All-caps acronyms and brand names like IBM look better when typeset a little smaller than usual. My simple solution is the following macro:

\def\<#1>{{\small #1}}

It's used like here \<IBM> and \<CACM>. However, it does not work well in section titles and the like. One could use small caps instead but I find those likewise standing out too much. Any better ideas?

  • Are you sure you want to do this? How would you handle this: The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual? If the "U.S" is set at a smaller size it will look odd. One idea is to use a tt font. Sometimes, I use it for Company names and it blends well.
    – yannisl
    Jan 22, 2011 at 19:57
  • @Yiannis Your point is valid as there is no universal solution when acronyms are mixed with other words. One could use \textsc{U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual} but would have to use this consistently. The Economist, for example, is using small caps for acronyms. I was looking for a solution when acronyms are written without periods, like in ISO or NAFTA. Jan 22, 2011 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


You could use \textsmaller{#1} of the relsize package.


Maybe because your font does not support bold small caps? See this post:


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