[Tex/LaTex] How to look up a symbol or identify a letter from a math alphabet or other character


I know what my symbol or character looks like, but I don't know what the command is or which math alphabet it came from. How do I go about finding this out?

Best Answer

  1. You can look things up in the Comprehensive LaTeX symbols list. It can usually be easily accessed with texdoc symbols or texdoc symbols-a4 (in MiKTeX the latter only).

  2. Another good option is to try the web-based software Detexify, which allows you to draw the symbol and tries to recognize what you've drawn. Here is a screenshot:


  3. If you are using the package unicode-math, then besides using any Unicode character list, the list of all supported symbols (texdoc unimath-symbols) is very useful as it also lists which symbols are available in the various fonts.

  4. Using unicode-math, you can also search for characters by drawing (just like with detexify) using ShapeCatcher.

The above techniques provide an adequate way of finding symbols but are not necessarily foolproof since you sometimes need to know what you're looking for in order to find it. For example, in Typing Following notation in Latex it may not be apparent that "vector fields in differential geometry" are somehow related to "bowties". To that end, searching for a symbol rotated 90 degrees or flipped horizontally, say, might lead you in the right direction.

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