I found a dialog box on SE (all sites, not just this one) that capitalizes it as "TeX-LaTex Stack Exchange".

This seems odd to me, as Wikipedia uses a capital X in LaTeX. That said, I'm not super active on this site. The lack of spacing surrounding the hyphen also seemed odd. What is the preferred capitalization for the site name? Also, should there be spaces around the hyphen?

Bonus question: after reading this Meta post, what's the correct dash (or hyphen) to use in the site name?

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    LaTeX (actually any compound of TeX) should have a capital X. I'm neutral on the length of the dashes, and need to do more (grammatical rule) research. (What I learned in school seems to be changing.) But it should be a dash, not a hyphen. Aug 4 at 12:16
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    Which dialog box is this? The site switcher for example uses a capital X, and the page title (shown on the browser tab for example) also uses a capital X.
    – Marijn
    Aug 4 at 12:58
  • @barbarabeeton, re, surely it should have a capital chi? 😄 (But I assume, given your TeXpertise, that I've been outfoxed and that's actually the character you used.)
    – LSpice
    Aug 5 at 14:32
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    @LSpice -- Of course you're right, but it's explained in Chapter 1 of the TeXbook why the "e" is lowercase. (I actually had the letter from Honeywell's lawyers in my hands in those early days.) So I admit to using a Latin X -- TeX existed before Unicode, and I don't have a Greek keyboard. Aug 5 at 19:21
  • @barbarabeeton, re, I thought I remembered that it only said that the 'e' was so that it could still be referenced by typesetting systems that couldn't handle lowering the capital 'E' glyph. Would you be willing to indulge a chatty comment thread and expand on that story about Honeywell?
    – LSpice
    Aug 5 at 19:33
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    @LSpice -- Yes, I'd be willing, but not right now -- I'm busy working on the TUG'23 proceedings. Remind me in the chat in a week or so, please. Aug 5 at 19:41
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    @LSpice just to refresh your memory (also interested in a bit of a story-time by Barbara), the TeXbook (sources) states "Then there will be no confusion with similar names, and people will be primed to pronounce everything properly."
    – Skillmon
    Aug 5 at 21:02
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    This displaced E is a reminder that TeX is about typesetting, and it distinguishes TeX\ from other system names. In fact, TEX (pronounced tecks is the admirable Text EXecutive processor developed by Honeywell Information Systems. Since these two system names are pronounced quite differently, they should also be spelled differently. The correct way to refer to TeX in a computer file, or when using some other medium that doesn't allow lowering of the `E', is to type TeX. Then there will be no confusion with similar names, and people will be primed to pronounce everything properly. Aug 5 at 21:03
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    @cocomac, you never gave a link to a page with this dialog? Aug 15 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


Capitalization first. The "X" in "LaTeX" is definitely capitalized. First, it is based on "TeX"; second, that is the way it is rendered by LesLie Lamport in his definitive manual that launched LaTeX publicly. (What does the "La" represent? Leslie won't say, but he did say, at a DECUS meeting many years ago, that one could say "LayTeX" or "LahTeX", anything but "ELL Ay TeX".)

And why is the "X" capitalized? As explained by Knuth in Chapter 1 of The TeXbook, it is a roman-letter rendering of "tau epsilon chi". To make it distinct, the \TeX logo was created, with the lowered "E" to make it distinctive, and because "epsilon" is not a tall letter. (Nowhere is it explained clearly why the "T" is uppercase; perhaps because it's the initial letter of a proper name.)

An attempt was made by the AMS (the American Mathematical Society) to register this as a trademark. But Honeywell Information Systems, which had already registered "TEX" as a trademark for their "Text EXecutive processor", complained by means of a stern letter from their lawyers, insisting that the name be changed. But word got around in the computer science community, of which Honeywell was also a part, and the high level of community support for Knuth persuaded Honeywell to withdraw their demand. "TeX" was agreed as a compromise, as long as the "e" is lowercase in situations where it's not possible to render the actual logo.

Sadly, a number of bibliographic services and tools still don't manage to get this right. But anyone who knows the background can help by watching for correct usage and pointing out infractions when seeing them.

Regarding hyphens vs. dashes, I will agree with the answer to the cited question that endash is more appropriate than an emdash. I will avoid saying anything about the spaces.


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