[Tex/LaTex] Subscripts and superscripts for Physiology paper


I'm writing a medicine/physiology article.

I was writing the manuscript in Microsoft Word, but have recently discovered LaTeX for rendering math equations, which it does superbly; and wanted to learn how to use LaTeX in text mode to write this article.

This is my first attempt using LaTeX text mode. I'm running MiKTeX 2.9 on a Windows XP laptop.

My article repeatedly uses standard physiology terminology for variables such as:


(or $F_IO_2$ in math mode – but I know this is wrong to use this, as Math mode shouldn't be used to render text, and will italicise the subscripts!)

…or SI units such as:

L min\textsuperscript{-1)

(or $L min^(-1)$ in math mode)

I've read other discussions on the newsgroups regarding similar problems and have tried using the mchem add-in as a workaround; but this only recognises standard formulae used in chemistry, not physiology.

I'm using these units and variables very frequently in the text.
There's got to be an easier way than writing \textsuperscript every time I want to write units, or writing \textsubscript twice every time I state a variable!

The whole point of using LaTeX for this exercise was to get away from Microsoft Word and the curse of its non-standard embedded control characters. However instead of being easier to use, the equivalent commands that I've found so far in LaTeX seem to take much more time and effort to write!

Are there other commands, macros or plug-ins that I could use instead to get the same job done with the minimum of keystrokes?

Best Answer

I would probably define macros that internally actually use mhchem (which you've mentioned in your question) for these variables. For convenience one could define a macro that calls them by a key name. If I understand it correctly the variable part before the molecular formula should be typeset in italics?

For units @Joseph's siunitx is the way to go, IMHO.

Maybe something like this:



% \DeclarePhysio{<key>}{<var>}{<chem>}


\physio{FIO2} or \physio{FEO2} or \physio{PaCO2}

\SI{.5}{\liter\per\minute} or a standalone unit: \si{\newton\per\kilo\gram}


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