How to write a proportional to symbol in LaTeX?

How to write a proportional to symbol in LaTeX?

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This article aims to show you a simple way to create a proportional to symbol in LaTeX.

In mathematics, physics, and even chemistry, the proportional to symbol is not a foreigner, it is used on many occasions, and today you will learn how to insert such a symbol in your LaTeX document.  

Proportional to 

It belongs to the relational operator’s symbols, this symbol adapts to many escenarios and is used usually in experimental data to create a relationship between two quantities. It is built-in LaTeX, it takes no value as an argument, and it requires the math mode. 

The command is very simple \propto, for example, a simple relation. 

$$a \propto b$$

(We use all this box stuff in grey like the above for illustration.)

proportional to symbol in LaTeX
Standard proportional to symbol

“Not proportional to” Symbol

\propto with packages

Just a quick hack, you can actually achieve the same output using packages such as the amssymb package, using \varpropto. As you can see the symbol has slight variations in symbol size and form.

$$x \varpropto y$$
proportional to symbol in LaTeX
Amssymb output

As a plus maybe you will want to use the “not proportional to” symbol, it can be created using the \not before the \propto. For example

$$a \not\propto b$$
$$x \not\varpropto y$$ %different fonts for the symbols

Variations of the proportional to symbols

proportional to symbol in LaTeX
Variations of the proportional to symbols

There are a few variations for these two symbols that you can use in your LaTeX document. The first is the standard \propto, and the second is using the \varpropto command with the amssymb package. As you can see, the output for these symbols is slightly different in size and form.

Also included a \notpropto symbol and a \sim command for “similar to”. These variations can be helpful in your LaTeX documents, especially if you are working with data or creating equations.

It is up to you to decide which easier ways you prefer. You can see that it is not complicated to create this symbol even with packages, but personally, I prefer the built-in command. 

Final Thoughts

Now you know about this symbol’s definitions and how to use it.

I hope you find this post useful and helpful, and as always keep writing in LaTeX.


What does Propto symbol mean?

Nomenclature. Propo. The proto-type is a binary mathematics operator indicating that left values are proportional. Therefore “x” y implies a nonzero constant ” c ” x = ” b “.

Further Reading

LaTex Tutorial on Symbols

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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.

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