[OS X TeX] latexsym, amssymb, amsfonts [from: The microtype mistery]

Josep Maria Font jmfont at ub.edu
Mon Aug 23 07:44:29 EDT 2010

Hi all,

As you have read, the "latexsym" package was initially charged with most of the responsibility. This morning, Robert has solved the microtype "mistery" in a more independent way, so that loading latexsym does no longer have a significant impact on the typesetting time when coupled with microtype (less than 10% increase in my test document).

Anyway, someone mentioned that if you load "amssymb" then loading "latexsym" is no longer necessary. For those interested, here is a complete (I hope) report on the situation:

1) latexsym just defines 11 math symbols from the lasy fonts, which I distribute in two groups:



2) amssymb also defines these symbols; well, actually it calls "amsfonts" which does the job. Its definitions take the symbols from AMS fonts, not from lasy fonts, and as a result the shapes of those in the first group are different: It makes \Diamond an alias for its own \lozenge, \Box for its own \square, and \leadsto for its own \rightsquigarrow, and supplies a (very ugly) compound symbol for \Join. As far as I have seen, the other 7 symbols get *very* similar shapes, although from other fonts.

3) If both packages are loaded, in any order, latexsym symbols retain their original definitions, and hence their shapes from lasy fonts.

4) Conclusion: For those using the four symbols in the first group, loading both packages provides better choices, as then you can distinguish between \Diamond and \lozenge, and between \Box and \square (this last case is interesting, as \square, which is bigger, gets aligned with the baseline, while \Box doesn't). And \Join and \leadsto are (IMHO) nicer.



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