I am writing a manuscript in which I have tons of expressions looking like

q_{\iota(i),\mu_{\ind_{\mu}(\iota(i))}+1}\cdots q_{\iota(i),\mu_{m(a)}}x_i.

which rendered looks like

enter image description here

Sadly, they are mostly unreadable! If I could have subscripts go lower, so that their hierarchy were more evident, I think things would be less bad...

Can this be done (locally, ideally)?

  • 2
    I have in mind the image of Spivak's five-tome book on geometry, typeset using a writing machine, and with deeeeeep subscripts... Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:09
  • 3
    I recommend that you avoid this: the extra space above the terms is not going to add much clarity and having different typesetting for subscripts in different parts of the text risks confusion. Since subscripts generally represent indexing, which can be rendered in terms of function application, perhaps changing one of your indexed terms to a function would work? The dyadically indexed q looks like a likely candidate. Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:24
  • @Charles, That results in a morass of parentheses; I've tried (everything is generated using commands, so it is easy for me to try variants) Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:26
  • @cmhughes, while I certainly appreciate beautiful documents, I actually prefer to have them readable. It is not for the pleasure of torturing people that I have those formulas, trust me. Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:27
  • No offense but this is not readable as you wish them to be. Not beautiful ok but really not readable. \iota(i) is just unfortunate for readability. You force the eyes for the dot hunting.
    – percusse
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


enter image description here

\def\ind{{\rm ind}}

$q_{\iota(i),\mu_{\ind_{\mu}(\iota(i))}+1}\cdots q_{\iota(i),\mu_{m(a)}}x_i$

\fontdimen16\textfont2 = 5\fontdimen16\textfont2
\fontdimen16\scriptfont2 = 5\fontdimen16\scriptfont2 
$q_{\iota(i),\mu_{\ind_{\mu}(\iota(i))}+1}\cdots q_{\iota(i),\mu_{m(a)}}x_i$


increasing by a factor of 5 is a bit much but it shows the effect, see this answer for a list of relevant parameters. As @egreg notes in the comments these are always global settings so if you only need to do this for some formula you need to save the original values (eg \edef\savedSixteenTwo{\the\fontdimen16\textfont2 } before changing them, and set them back when you want to return to normal.

What do different \fontdimen<num> mean

  • +1, but it may be worth noting that this is not temporary, even if the settings are inside the formula.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:50
  • Doing this inside a group will make them local, tho? Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:52
  • @MarianoSuárez-Alvarez No they are always global, it's just the way it is:-) Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 22:58
  • I take back my comment to @Mariano: the extra space does add a lot of clarity. Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 8:28

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