How to create a prime symbol in LaTeX?

How to create a prime symbol in LaTeX?

This post may contain affiliate links that allow us to earn a commission at no expense to you. Learn more

It is used for many applications in measurements and science. Today you will learn how to insert it in your document.

This article aims to show you the simplest and easiest way to write a prime symbol in LaTeX.

Prime Symbol 

“The prime symbol, double prime symbol, triple prime symbol, and quadruple prime symbol  are used to designate units and for other purposes in mathematics, science, linguistics and music.” [internet]

Depending on the context you may use it for one thing or another, we will use it for the derivative of f(x). 

Derivative of a function f(x)

Prime Symbol in LaTeX

You have three methods. The first is already in the computer keyboard, you use the key ‘ with the text mode. 

The second is to use the LaTeX command ^{\prime}, \prime generates the symbol and ^ inserts it as a superscript, you need the math mode. 

The third is using the key ‘ inside math mode. For example

    Using the ´ key for f´(x) \\ %first method
    Using the ' key inside math  $f'(x)$\\ %third method
    Using the math  for $\prime$ as a superscript $f^{\prime}(x)$
    %second method

Double/Triple Prime Symbol

If you are writing derivatives of functions you may need to write double superscript or multiple superscripts, you can use either the command ^{\prime} or the methods using the key ‘. For example

    f'(x) $ f'(b) \; f^{\prime}(c)$\\ %single
    f''(x) $ f''(b) \; f^{\prime\prime}(c)$\\ %
    f'''(x) $ f'''(b) \; f^{\prime\prime\prime}(c)$ %

Prime Symbol Use Cases

Use in linguistics

Primes are sometimes used for translation in other languages, including English, to signify a palatalization. In X-bar theories, primes are also used rather than bars in syntactic structures for the X-bar theory. It’s still an “X bar”, rather than an “X prime”. Several notations for x bars use double prime as a placeholder (instead of two bars) in which a phrasal level is indicated.


The term “prime” has become misreported. Throughout the 20th century, the notation x ′ was pronounced “x Prime” but a notation x ′ not only because the x followed a symbol of “prime” but because it was the first in the series that ended with x (” prime “), In the late 1950’s – 60 years, the word “prime” was used to refer directly to the apostrophe symbols itself. Although x ′′ and x ′ ′′ were once more commonly pronounced with the names X triple prime and X double prime these were still often called x second and x third.


Some of the Unicode and HTML representations for the prime and related symbols are U+2032, U+2033, U+2034.  When the characters used do not include the prime or double prime characters and can therefore be approximated by normal apostrophes and quotation marks. In LaTeX algebra, F’s (f with apostrophes) are rendered in.

Use in mathematics, statistics, and science

In math the prime can be used to generate more variable names that look similar without relying on subscript — x′ generally indicates an object that has X as an object. In particular the coordinates of a point may have the shape x – y, and the direction x. Prime symbols have no direct connection to prime numbers. In some cases it is assumed that the prime is a character that decorates letters in a given letter in a certain order of use x.

Designation of units

Prime symbols ( ′ ) are used for representing feet ( ft ), arc minutes ( am ) and minutes ( min ). Double primes ( inch – in) arcs and s. 3′ 5′′ is 3 feet 5 inches in length or 3 minute 5 seconds. The angle of 3° 5′ 0 is 3 degrees, 5 arc minutes and 30 minutes in time. Triple primes (′′′ in watchmaking) represent a line.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to write prime signs, plus you don’t need latex packages for it.

I hope you found this article helpful, and as always keep writing in LaTeX.


How do you type the prime symbol?

You have two options to use. One is using Alt + 8242 (press Alt key when pressed 8242). The other one is with insert > symbol: prime symbol is character code = 2032.

What is a prime symbol used for?

′ is used in many areas, including measurement units (foot measurements and arcseconds), in math (as derivative for example), in linguistics, and even in music ( to denote different octaves of the same note).

How do you write y prime in latex?

The easiest way to do it is using $y’$, you can also use the Unicode units U+2032, U+2033 and U+234.

What is the prime symbol in math?

Prime symbols are often used to represent feet or arc minutes. In addition, the standard quotation mark ‘,’ is common. The double prime ( ′′ ) indicates inches and arcsecs. In some situations, it is also common practice to add a ( ) double quotation mark. Another use is in derivatives, to denote the derivative of a function f(x).

How do you write double prime in latex?

The simplest way to do that, however, is using $f”(x)$. It is easily accessible via pdfLaTeX. It also has its own Unicode units U+2032, U+2033 and U+234 which you can use in the fontspec packages using the symbol “2032“.

All the images were created in LaTeX by the author.

Further Reading

LaTex Tutorial on Symbols

  1. How To Create A Cross Product Symbol In LaTeX
  2. How to create a hat symbol in LaTeX?
  3. How to create an absolute value symbol in LaTeX?
  4. How to create an approximate symbol in LaTeX?
  5. How to create an intersection symbol in LaTeX?
  6. How to create the empty set symbol in LaTeX?
  7. How to write a degree symbol in LaTeX?
  8. How to write a dot product in LaTeX?
  9. How to Write a Greater Than Symbol in LaTeX?
  10. How to write a norm symbol in LaTeX?
  11. How to write A Plus-Minus Symbol in LaTeX
  12. How to write a proportional to symbol in LaTeX?
  13. How to write a real number symbol in LaTeX?
  14. How to write a tilde symbol in LaTeX?
  15. How to write a union symbol in LaTeX?
  16. How to write a vector in LaTeX?
  17. How to write an infinity symbol in LaTeX?
  18. How to write bold text in LaTeX?
  19. How To Write Dots Symbols In LaTeX?
  20. How to write the arrow symbols in LaTeX
  21. How to write the Degree celsius symbol in LaTeX?
  22. How to write the equal or not equal symbol in LaTeX?
  23. How to write the Euro symbol in LaTeX?
  24. How to write the floor symbol in LaTeX?
  25. How to write the gradient operator symbol in LaTeX
  26. How To Write The Greater Than Or Equal To Symbol In LaTeX?
  27. How to write the integer number symbol in LaTeX?
  28. How to write the less than symbol in LaTeX?
  29. How to write the Natural numbers symbol in LaTeX?
  30. How to write the parallel symbol in LaTeX?
  31. How to write the percent symbol in LaTeX?
  32. How to write the square root symbol in LaTeX?
  33. How To Write The Symbol For A Subset In LaTeX?
  34. How to write the symbol for therefore in LaTeX?
  35. How to write with the mathbb in LaTeX?

Photo of author
Joannah W.
Joannah has been a science publisher with close to 20 years of experience. She wants to help students and researchers stay ahead of the trends and developments in the science community by making science more accessible to everyone.

Leave a Comment