[texhax] Combining symbols (vertical placement of characters)

Daniel Freedman freedman at physics.cornell.edu
Wed Jan 14 01:57:13 CET 2009

Thanks for all of the suggestions from everyone to help with my
question.  I ended up not using the symbols, but I appreciate the

Just FYI (for others), I discovered the 'mathtools' package, which has
some cool capabilities when it comes to arrows (and I don't recall
mention of it in Glazer's book).


On Wed, Dec 31, 2008, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> Uwe L?ck writes:
>  > At 20:32 29.12.08, John Palmer wrote:
>  > >On Monday 29 December 2008 03:54:11 Daniel Freedman wrote:
>  > > > position a bullet over the arrowhead
>  > >
>  > >I have done this sort of thing by using \raisebox for vertical and \kern for
>  > >horizontal movement, but there must be a more robust and elegant way, so I'll
>  > >be interested in other replies !
>  > 
>  > If you really want to compose (running just TeX) new glyphs from existing 
>  > ones, you should know how the latter were designed (and how they are coded 
>  > in METAFONT), in terms of font dimensions, cf. TeXbook p. 433/447; or of 
>  > the height of `(' (\mathstrut) ... and in your macros, you should refer to 
>  > these (\fontdimen, ...) [I can't tell details here]. Referring to such 
>  > dimensions would be better than trying various numbers ... Replacing the 
>  > arrowhead with a bullet, you should refer to the height and width of the 
>  > box enclosing the diagonal stroke and to the width of the bullet and the 
>  > height of its center (I guess it's axis_height according to TeXbook p. 
>  > 447). Don't forget \mathpalette ...
>  > 
>  > But John: I wonder whether you are asking about creating new glyphs or just 
>  > about placing one character over another. The latter task usually requires 
>  > dimensions of enclosing boxes only; it can be performed through one-column 
>  > ``tables'' (\oalign) or through the \accent primitive (depends ...). Are 
>  > you thinking of specific examples that have bothered you?
> There is nothing wrong if new symbols are composed with \kern and
> \raisebox.  Everything which works is fine.  However, the most
> reasonable approach is to check whether a particular symbol exists
> already: 
>   http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/symbols/comprehensive/symbols-a4.pdf
>   http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/symbols/comprehensive/symbols-letter.pdf
> This should always be the first step.
> Regards,
>   Reinhard

Daniel Freedman <{freedman at physics | dfreedman at cs}.cornell.edu>
  Post-Doc, Distributed Systems, Computer Science, Cornell University
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