LaTeX Help

The information given below is adapted from the American Physics Society web site. It contains the information needed to produce many, if not most, of the special symbols used in spectroscopy; however, it is by no means all inclusive. An excellent supplement for those needing more details is the WWW Help with LaTeX Site produced by the late Sheldon Green.

LaTeX Commands for Selected Special Symbols

Greek letters and most mathematical symbols must be identified descriptively in an electronic submission. Here is a list of some of the most commonly used symbols. These commands must all be given in LaTeX's "math" mode, i.e., between dollars signs ($); see the LaTeX user manual for additional information about math mode.

Non-English Characters

Greek letters:

To obtain a Greek letter in your abstract, type a backslash (\) followed by the name of the letter.

Lower-case Greek letters. Note omicron is simply lower-case "o".

     \alpha    \eta     \nu       \tau
     \beta     \theta   \xi       \upsilon
     \gamma    \iota    o         \phi
     \delta    \kappa   \pi       \chi
     \epsilon  \lambda  \rho      \psi
     \zeta     \mu      \sigma    \omega

Upper-case Greek letters.

     \Gamma    \Lambda  \Sigma    \Psi
     \Delta    \Xi      \Upsilon  \Omega
     \Theta    \Pi      \Phi

Other non-English characters:

The following accents may be placed on letters. Although "o" is used in most of the example, the accents may be placed on any letter. Accents may even be placed above a "missing" letter; for example, \~{} produces a tilde over a blank space.

The following commands may be used only in paragraph or LR mode.

Note that the letters "i" and "j" require special treatment when they are given accents because it is often desirable to replace the dot with the accent. For this purpose, the commands \i and \j can be used to produce dotless letters.

For example,

Other useful characters and commands

Superscripts are indicated by a caret (shift-6): ^{SCRIPT}, e.g., $\pi r^{2}$. The example shown here is the formula for the area of a circle. LaTeX math mode (necessary for equations and super- and subscripts) is specified with the dollar signs; the lower case pi (\pi) and radius variable r have a space between them in the markup (it would not appear in the output), and the superscript 2 is the "argument" (enclosed in curly braces) to the superscript operator ^.

Subscripts are indicated by an underscore: _{SCRIPT}, e.g., $J_{\nu}$.

The abbreviation for Angstroms is indicated by \AA.

Circular degrees can be specified with \deg, e.g., $45\deg$.

We have also defined three special commands for symbols often encountered in Symposium abstracts.

\wn     wavenumbers       \newcommand{\wn}{\ensuremath{\mathrm{cm}^{-1}}}
\nub{}  vibrational level \newcommand{\nub}[1]{\ensuremath{\nu_{#1}}}
\chem{} chemical formula  \newcommand{\chem}[1]{}\ensuremath{mathrm{#1}}

Use as follows:

19800\wn                       19800 wavenumbers (cm to the (-1))
\nub{1} and \nub{3} levels     nu sub 1 and nu sub 3 levels
\chem{CH-4}                    correct chemical formula for methane

Additional information is available from Green's Help with LaTeX. Complete charts of symbols and markup names available in LaTeX are given at the end of the LaTeX Command Summary, which can be retrieved via anonymous FTP from or from The Command Summary must be processed with LaTeX and printed in order to be useful.

Problems To Be Aware Of, So You Can Avoid Them

For the most part, automatic abstract processing is very successful. However, here is a list of some of the problems that sometimes occur, but can be easily avoided.

     1. Word processors cause the largest share of troubles. If you
        use Word, WordPerfect, or another word processor, please be sure to
        save the file as an ASCII file (plain text, DOS text, etc.)

     2. Some punctuation marks are special characters to LaTeX, and you
        must put a backslash (\) in front of them so the proper mark is
        placed in the text.  You should specify them like so:

        \&       \$       \{     \}
        \%       \#       \_    

     3. Make sure you use only upper case in the title and author
        names, except for special cases, e.g., He, Al, McDONALD, the
	conjunction "and" before the the last author in a series,
	etc. Your abstract will be checked and automatically rejected
	for failure to observe this convention.

     4. Be careful not to add extra "{" or "}".  Keep them in pairs.

     5. Please note that some lines in the template are not to be removed,
        edited, commented out, or otherwise trifled with. Please
	follow the associated instructions.

Thank you for your cooperation, and good luck!

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