# [OS X TeX] Improper alphabetic constant

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at freemathtexts.org
Fri Dec 18 14:34:43 EST 2020


> On Dec 18, 2020, at 1:45 PM, Herbert Schulz <herbs at wideopenwest.com> wrote:
>
>> On Dec 18, 2020, at 12:04 PM, Alain Schremmer <schremmer.alain at freemathtexts.org> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>> 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.
>
> Howdy,
>
> <test.tex>
>
> <test.pdf>
>
> seems to work fine.

Sure do but not here. I tried to put my preamble on your example but I got other errors so I quit: \pmb will do here as, in fact, \boldsymbol does work for everything ELSE.

>>> 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
>
> They are macros that default to $...$ and $$...$$ but packages like amsmath can change things like spacing.

Thanks but I am way too old to change my habits—unless forced to.

Speaking of habits:

Since my atheist parents always had Christmas presents under a Christmas tree, and even though this may not be a new year for everybody, I wish everybody

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

because "C’est l’intention qui compte."

—schremmer