# [OS X TeX] Improper alphabetic constant

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at freemathtexts.org
Fri Dec 18 13:04:00 EST 2020


> On Dec 18, 2020, at 8:08 AM, Herbert Schulz <herbs at wideopenwest.com> wrote:
>
>> On Dec 18, 2020, at 1:48 AM, Alain Schremmer <schremmer.alain at freemathtexts.org> wrote:

>> $\xrightarrow{5}$ and \boldsymbol{$5$} both compile but \boldsymbol{$\xrightarrow{5}$} does not.

>>

>> The error is:

>>

>> 2.tex:1309: Improper alphabetic constant.

>>                   \reserved at d

>> l.1309 \boldsymbol{$\xrightarrow{5}$}

>>

>> Any way around it?

> Howdy,

> Are you sure \boldsymbol{$5$} compiles? I believe the \boldsymbol needs to be in math mode so $\boldsymbol{5}$ and $\boldsymbol{\xrightarrow{5}}$ work fine.

Both $\boldsymbol{5}$ and \boldsymbol{$\rightarrow$} compile which is one more thing I don’t get---but which does not make me lose any sleep.

But $\boldsymbol{\xrightarrow{5}}$ definitely produces the error I mentioned. At least for me.

On the other hand, I just found out that $\pmb{\xrightarrow{5}}$ does work. So, I am ok.

> As a side note you should get used to $$...$$ instead of $...$ for inline math (and $...$ instead of $$...$$ if you use that for display math).

When I was writing some of my stuff on the web, I did but didn’t like it so stopped using them as soon as I stopped writing web pages.

But, I am curious, are there other reasons?

Best
—s

> Good Luck,
>
> Herb Schulz
> herbs at wideopenwest.com
>
>
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