[texhax] dash spacing

Barbara Beeton bnb at ams.org
Mon Apr 2 15:12:04 CEST 2012


    Thank you all for the opinions --- justified and otherwise.  Is there a way
    to just redefine --- to have a tiny little space like Barbara's \Dash?
    It's much more convenient to type and read than \Dash.  I suspect it of
    being a macro somewhere (after all, what isn't?), but it's the first one
    whose definition I can't seem to find, presumably because of some dark
    \chardef magic.

not \chardef, but ligaturing info in the
.tfm files.  -- is ligatured to the en-dash,
and the en-dash plus a hyphen is ligatured
to the em-dash.  (type in four hyphens in
a row and see what happens.)

so, not easy to insert a space other than
as a macro.  i suppose you *could* "adjust"
the metrics to do it.  since the em-dash
isn't ligatured to anything else, a single
one wouldn't result in anything unsightly,
but there are a couple of good reasons
not to do that:
 - if you insist on entering a 3-em dash
   in a bibliography as a string of nine
   hyphens, there would be gaps;
 - your font(s) would be nonstandard and
   your source code wouldn't compile
   elsewhere with the same result.
i *know* you don't send your source code
off on its own, but mods like this are
still not desirable (even if you change
the file names, as i know you would).

possible (macro) workaround:  if you
don't have need for the macron, you could
consider redefining \= to be an em-dash
with tiny spaces around it.  still not
ideal, but a bit less onerous than \Dash.
						-- bb

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