LaTeX Glossary

My.SUPA has been setup to allow maths to be written quickly using LaTeX notation. This can be included anywhere you see a text box in your course area -- including news or social forums, web pages and wikis. The format for entering LaTeX in My.SUPA is to wrap the code between two pairs of dollar signs. $$ a=b+c $$

If you are looking at this for the first time, please read the entries under 01 Getting Started for an overview. The list of entries may be viewed by categories or alphabetically.

01 Getting Started
| 02 Arithmetic expressions | 03 Font Styles | 04 Delimiters
05 Spaces
| 06 Symbols | 07 Relations | 09 Structures | 10 Feynman Diagrams
11 Other LaTeX Software
05 Spaces

\_ (where _ is blank)

  • Ordinary whitespace to be used after a dot not denoting the end of a sentence
  • After commands without parameters use \~ (tilde) instead in order to avoid browser specific problems


  • \, inserts the smallest predefined space in a formula
  • Equivalent: \hspace{2}
  • Ex.: $$a\,b$$ gives a\,b
  • Ex.: $$a~\hspace{2}~b$$ gives also a~\hspace{2}~b


  • \; (backslash semicolon) inserts the third smallest predefined space in a formula
  • Equivalent: \hspace{6}
  • Ex.: $$a\;b$$ gives a\;b
  • Ex.: $$a~\hspace{6}~b$$ gives also a~\hspace{6}~b


  • \: inserts the second smallest predefined space in a formula
  • Equivalent: \hspace{4}
  • Ex.: $$a\:b$$ gives a\:b
  • Ex.: $$a~\hspace{4}~b$$ gives also a~\hspace{4}~b

\/ (backslash slash)

  • \/ (backslash slash) avoids ligatures
  • Ex.: $$V\/A$$ gives V\/A in contrast to $$VA$$ which gives VA


  • In order to prevent some browser specific problems with whitespaces, it is advisable to use ~ (tilde) as the whitespace instead of the normal blank key (in places where whitespaces are mandatory, e.g. after commands).
  • Ex.: $$\frac~xy$$ to produce \frac~xy
  • Ex.: $$\sqrt~n$$ to produce \sqrt~n


  • inserts a space of n pixels
  • Ex.: $$f(x)\hspace{6}=\hspace{6}0$$ gives f(x)\hspace{6}=\hspace{6}0
  • can be combined with the preceding command \unitlength{m}(default: m=1px) , which defines the applied unit
  • Ex.: $$\unitlength{20}a\hspace{2}b$$ gives \unitlength{20}a\hspace{2}b , i.e. a space of 20x2=40px


  • inserts a double space of current character set size
  • Ex.: $$a\qquad~b$$ gives a\qquad~b


  • inserts a space of current character set size
  • Ex.: $$a\quad~b$$ gives a\quad~b

math spaces

List of predefined spaces:

Math Spaces
\, (smallest predefined)$$a\,b$$a\,b
\:  (second smallest predefined)$$a\:b$$a\:b
\;  (third smallest predefined)$$a\;b$$a\;b
\/  (avoiding ligatures)$$V\/A$$ instead of $$VA$$V\/A instead of VA
\quad  (space of current character set size)$$a\quad~b$$a\quad~b
\qquad  (double space of current character set size)$$a\qquad~b$$a\qquad~b
\_ (where _ is blank!)

$$a\ b$$

(whereas $$a\b$$ is not a valid filter expression since the blank space is missing; it is recommended to use the tilde ~ instead of the simple whitespace)

a\ b

\hspace{n} ,where n positive integer (= n Pixels)









\unitlength{m}\hspace{n}, changes the default unit length (m=1px) to be applied


(second space is 10x2=20px)


Note: Simple blank spaces and tildes (~) are ignored by the TeX filter and don't produce any space. You must use one of the defined math spaces to get a visible (extra) space.