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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 20 May 2014 08:40:53 +0100
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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Joseph Wright <[log in to unmask]>
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Hello Will,

A few questions from me. One 'up front': where does \mathrm fit in to
all of this?

On 20/05/2014 03:09, Will Robertson wrote:
> The \mathbf command in particular has been abused in physics to denote
> vectors and matrices, such as \mathbf{B} for magnetic field. I suspect the
> situation is similar for sans math, with tensors using sans on occasion but
> no doubt in other contexts used for multi-letter identifiers. (Examples
> more than welcome; in fact, requested.)

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'abused' here: there isn't an
obvious alternative to this, particularly if we bear in mind that the
design here pre-dates Unicode by a long way.

> In contrast, Unicode math defines a number of alphabets in a single Unicode
> font, including mathematical italic and bold mathematical italic and many
> more variations. In OpenType maths fonts to date, these symbols are all
> designed as single-letter identifiers and not to be used for strings of
> characters such as "Re" in italic or "Set" in bold.

To be clear, the Unicode position is that e.g. bold-B for magnetic field
should not come from the 'bold' font but from the bold-symbols part of a
single maths font: correct? That being the case, have the Unicode people
considered at all multi-letter identifiers or has this simply been
missed at present? (Anyone on the list sufficiently well-informed about

> 1. \mathbf and friends go back to simply selecting a text font. Note that
> they still need to remap \mathcode{}s in this case because normal unicode
> math glyphs exist all the way up in Plane 1 where text fonts daren't to
> tread.


> 3. To get proper bold symbols, including Greek, we'll need a whole new set
> of commands. These will need sensible names of some sort. Below I've chosen
> \symbf, etc., which doesn't look too bad to me.
By 'proper' here I assume you mean 'with attached mathematical meaning'?
I think it's fair to say that the LaTeX standard \mathbf does produce
bold symbols, and in the common case of matching text and maths fonts
the symbols also look 'right'.
Joseph Wright