What is the command for the LaTeX plus minus sign?

LaTeX: What is the command for the plus-minus sign?

I know this is very late, but for others like me who are also looking for this answer:

Indeed, everyone’s answer is correct. You have to use \pm. But the package for this command is \siunitx.

Also for printing 20 ± 18, you have to write $20 \pm 18$. Without a $ sign, the lines may overlap.

I’ve been using LaTeX for a decade, as a mathematics undergraduate and graduate student.

The usual plus-minus symbol is \pm.

If you want it with the minus on top, meaning minus-plus, it’s \mp.

The plus-or-minus sign in LATEX is represented using \pm; it looks like this: ±.

The minus-plus sign, on the other hand, is represented using \mp; it looks like this: ∓.

For example, the standard formula for the factorization of sums-and-differences of cubes would be represented by x^3 \pm y^3 = (x \pm y)(x^2 \mp XY + y^2), or x3±y3=(x±y)(x2∓xy+y2).

LaTeX: What is the command for the plus-minus sign?

Latex is far from dead, it is the main text processing tool in academia, whereas Word (and Clones) is used in the industry. I’m not aware of industry companies using Latex.

Latex is the predominant format requested by scientific journals because they can take the Latex-input document right away without another processing step from Word to Latex.

Personally I prefer Latex for any text which is longer than a few pages, I wouldn’t use Latex to write letters or so for example. Latex lets me write texts more efficiently than Word because it relieves me from using the mouse to format the text.

This “keyboard-mindedness” is as well related to the fact that I am a software developer too, so I am used to thinking in code and so code rather than using the mouse.

Additionally, I create a quite large document class providing features I need to produce documents formatted according to our formatting standards.

Other reasons why I prefer Latex are: it produces more beautiful output in terms of the fonts they provide and in terms of formatting the document.

Secondly, Latex is for me the weapon of choice to create standardized documents from data and text building blocks coming from databases.

LaTeX command plus minus sign
LaTeX command plus minus

For instance, our team stores data on devices and test cases in a database, wherefrom I generate test plans and device lists in a standardized format provided by our quality assurance team.

Is LaTeX dead? If yes, what are some modern alternatives?

This is very neatly possible by means of Python scripts accessing the DB and putting out Latex code which is processed on a server I run creating PDF-documents.

I could do the same with Word, but there I had to use commercial products which we simply cannot afford as a research institute.

Still, Latex has a couple of weaknesses which are annoying: Word is far stronger in terms of collaboration and document proofing by multiple authors.

Furthermore, the possibility to write VBA-Macros is a very nice feature, especially when it comes to pushing data from a Word document to my database (I use this feature to create traceable requirements in specifications).

However, if Latex had the Word features above, I would definitely drop Word altogether.

Edit on 17.05.2018: as I get a lot of very interesting suggestions on Latex-extensions providing support for collaborative document editing, I want to say thanks to all of these suggestions.

However, another argument came into my mind why people find the work with Latex so inconvenient in the first place: they are used to work with pen and paper and this is what Word is very good at.

You install a program, you start to type and that’s it – very much like in the good old typewriter days.

Working with Latex is quite much different and it requires some work to put together a working environment that has a similar look and feel like pen and paper Word and clones.

Furthermore, I think Latex becomes too expensive in a non-academic environment: you cannot put untrained people in front of the computer and expect they can get something reasonable out of Latex, but you can do that with Word.

And I want to emphasize that I do not say that because I am an apologist of the death of Latex, I say this because I want to put point out the weaknesses of Latex (which are potential areas of improvement maybe…).

Edit on 16.03.2019: Concerning the collaborative aspect I collected experience with the following tools:

  • Overleaf: seems to be the best collaborative tool on the market. What I don‘t like is that it is in the cloud, which makes me hesitating when it comes to hosting documents there with sensitive/confidential content. And you need to buy a monthly license to be able to use it to upload and collaborate. If it were self–hosted, I think I would definitively like my company to provide it as a standard tool. An interesting discussion on self–hosted online tools is here on Stackexchange: Selfhosted collaborative web-based LaTeX editor
  • Git(lab) is my favorite tool so far. It does not have the excellent online possibilities and tools to edit Latex documents overleaf is providing (to my knowledge), but it provides a robust environment for versioning, and collaborative versioning with branching, merging, etc.
  • SharePoint is not very good in this context to my taste. Even if I like Sharepoint very much as a content management platform, it lacks the branching and merging features and the possibilities to interact with the repository from the command line Git offers. Typical to Microsoft users, SharePoint seems to be tailored rather to a casual user (mouse interaction) than a power user.

LaTeX: What is the command for the plus-minus sign?

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