LaTeX Questions Answered: What Kind of Symbols Can I Write Using LaTeX?

Lots! LaTeX allows you to write a wide variety of symbols, including Greek letters, arrows, operators, and relational symbols.

The following is an excerpt from the chapter LaTeX Questions Answered in Pressbooks Guide: A reference for open textbook authors using Pressbooks by Arianna Cheveldave

See the following table to learn the LaTeX commands for a selection of characters that can be found in the Pressbooks special character bank.

CharacterLaTeX CommandExample
middle dot (·)\cdot2⋅7=14
ellipsis (…)\dots3,5,…,11
less-than or equal to (≤)\lea≤8
greater-than or equal to (≥)\ge3≥c
degree sign (°)^{\circ}∠z=90∘
minus sign (−)- (hyphen)−3−−5=2
plus-minus sign (±)\pm√x=±2
division sign (÷)\div20÷4=5
multiplication sign (×)\times11×4=44
angle sign (∠)\angle∠a+∠b+∠c=180∘

There are far too many LaTeX symbols to list here in full. However, we can link to a number of symbol resources, some of which give examples of how these symbols may be implemented in context.

Be aware that not every command listed in these resources will work in Pressbooks. See the Supported TeX/LaTeX commands page in MathJax’s documentation to view a full list of LaTeX commands that will work in Pressbooks.

The page of LaTeX symbols on the Art of Problem Solving wiki is an excellent introduction to some of the most common LaTeX symbols. This page also links to a number of other helpful resources for LaTeX symbols that are also included here.

Detexify is a web-based application with two features: “classify” and “symbols.” The “classify” feature allows you to draw your desired symbol, which generates a list of suggested commands. The “symbols” feature is an alphabetical, searchable list of symbol commands.

Math Vault’s Comprehensive List of Mathematical Symbols [PDF] is a compilation of many symbols in higher mathematics. This guide provides the LaTeX for each symbol and a rendered LaTeX expression containing the symbol. The primary purpose of the guide is to help math students expand their mathematical vocabulary: LaTeX is included to help those who would like to communicate with others on forums and write documents in LaTeX during their studies. So this guide may be useful as a reference, but bear in mind that its focus is not on teaching LaTeX.

The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN) has an even more detailed resource called The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List [PDF]. This document is over 300 pages long and lists over 14,000 symbols, plus the LaTeX commands and packages required to create them. The table of contents divides the symbols into various broad groups, including body-text symbols, mathematical symbols, scientific symbols, and ancient language characters.

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