[texhax] Units in technical writing

Firestone, Elaine R. (GSFC-616.0)[BIOSPHERICAL INSTRUMENTS INC] elaine.r.firestone at nasa.gov
Thu Dec 29 15:49:41 CET 2011

What Reinhard said...absolutely...always! Units are **always** set roman with a thin space in between the number and unit, and a thin space between each unit if multiple units are used as in the plain TeX code of 

3$\,$m$\,$s${-2}$ or with our macro of \mps. 

(Says the technical editor and TeX typesetter for NASA for over 25 years.)

Elaine Firestone, ELS
BSI, Inc., Communications and Documentation Manager
E-mail: Elaine.R.Firestone at nasa.gov
Phone: 240-786-7540

On Dec 28, 2011, at 9:22 PM, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:

> On 2011-12-28 at 16:04:28 -0800, Robert Wilson wrote:
>> I'd like to ask a related question on what is the appropriate way to
>> typeset units. Italic? 
> No, units are typeset upright always.  Only variables are typeset
> italic.  Operators like d (differential) or i, j (complex) or e
> (exponential) are typeset upright.  They are not variables.
> And text is always upright, even in math formulas:
>  V_{\mathrm{Offset}} instead of V_{Offset}.
>> Space between number and unit? 
> Yes, or maybe better a thin space (\, in LaTeX).
>> I've never been able to find an authoritative style guide.
> I'm sure there are ISO standards but I fear that you have to pay for a
> copy.  You'll probably find them in a library of a university.
> Another valuable source is TUGboat, http://tug.org/TUGboat .  There
> are often quite interesting articles about math typesetting.
> The siunitx (LaTeX) package has all the rules built-in.  It's also
> worthwhile to consult its documentation.  The reference section
> contains many useful links.
> And even if you don't read anything at all, there is a simple rule:
> Everything within a math formula has to be unambiguous.  If variables
> are italic, units have to be typeset differently.  
> Regards,
>  Reinhard
> -- 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
> Marschnerstr. 25
> D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.
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