I'd like to notate 'gradient of L with respect to a_f' which I can do with `\nabla_{\mathbf{a}_f} \mathcal{L}`

and it looks like this:

Look at all that space between the nabla and the L! Is there a way to get the a 'under' the nabla a little more without having to shrink its size too much? How would people suggest I make this look a little better?

## Best Answer

It's better if you use a more semantic command, with the advantage that you can define it to do what you precisely want.

The approach here is to add a thin negative space to the subscript, if present, but without changing the input. I use the same trick as for the standard differential, so a thin space will precede the nabla when necessary, without user intervention.

Here's the picture of what you get from the previous input by just changing

`\!#1`

into`\mspace{-4mu}#1`

(`\!`

is the same as`\mspace{-3mu}`

).