[texhax] $^1/_2$ fraction appearance - another way?

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Jul 11 18:47:44 CEST 2007

On Jul 11, 2007, at 11:40 AM, Bryan W. Lepore wrote:

> i like how $^1/_2$ appears - not sure how to describe this  
> typesetting of
> a fraction - is there a better way - perhaps using $\frac{1}{2}$
> options?

That's what would be termed a typographer's, em or ``case'' fraction  
(in hot metal typesetting it would've been a single sort pulled from  
a composing case), also called a diagonal fraction --- the former and  
last would probably be the best terms.

The other way would be termed a mathematician's or horizontal, or  
vertical or en/nut (when it occupies an en space) fraction.

Further confusing the issue is the matter of ``built-up'' or  
``piece'' fractions which would have been built up of individual  
pieces and could come in either form.

Donald Knuth discusses this in an article on composing a cook booklet  
which was reprinted in _Digital Typography_ from:


and even provides a (Plain) TeX macro for this.

Certain fonts will provide diagonal fractions, e.g.:






And there's a package called ``nicefrac'' which sort of does this  
(the diagonal isn't angled enough to my mind in most fonts). This is  
mentioned in the Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol list:



William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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