[Tex/LaTex] Subscript spacing in equation

math-modespacingsubscripts

I have a document, where I want to use $\tau_{ff}$. If this is rendered it looks like a space is inserted between the two f's. $\tau_{rl}$ looks fine …

Where does this additional space come from and how can I avoid it being inserted?

(Miktex 2.9 on windows, if this is relevant).

Best Answer

Math fonts do not make ff into a ligature the way text fonts do as it may sometimes obscure the meaning of two separate identifiers juxtaposed,

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$\tau_{ff}$ $\tau_{f\!f}$ $\tau_{\mathit{ff}}$

If the meaning of your subscript is some kind of invisible product of two f then use one of the first two, or some other negative space other than \! to taste. If on the other hand it is a multi-letter identifier with name ff then it is more appropriate to use a text font, as in the third example where the text italic font is used in math mode via \mathit and there ff produces a single ff ligature glyph.