How to add missing characters in LibreOffice Math formula

I would like to add normal distribution notation (N character) into my formula:


However, I can’t seem to find the character anywhere? There is latex formula as well. Can I integrate that without extensions?

N character

Eh, is the N character absent on your keyboard or what is the problem?

Eh, can’t you notice the difference between look of the N in “N character” and the N in the formula or what?

But it is still N, isn’t it? If you want some fancy typeface, follow the answer given.

“But it is still N, isn’t it?”

No, it isn’t: when you do math, everything you use have meaning, you cannot drop a “normal” N instead of a “calligraphic” N, they mean completely different things.

The Wikipedia article referenced to by the asker says that both a calligraphic N and a plain N are possible, as I can understand:

The normal distribution is often referred to as N ( μ , σ 2 ) {\displaystyle N(\mu ,\sigma ^{2})} N(\mu ,\sigma ^{2}) or N ( μ , σ 2 ) {\displaystyle {\mathcal {N}}(\mu ,\sigma ^{2})} {\mathcal {N}}(\mu ,\sigma ^{2}).[6]

@gabix Often people use “normal” characters due to convenience. Sometimes, it is widely accepted. In my field length unit μm is often written in um. It disturbs me. μm looks better. Similarly, I want my formulas to look better. As a user I was wondering, if there is any way to do this. Questioning this is meaningless. I don’t even need a reason to ask for this. Maybe I will invent a reason. Maybe I am working on a notation system. It doesn’t matter.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no such glyph in Unicode. Consequently, the solution is to “simulate” the look of the notation and this is tricky.

Fonts in Math are selected according to the context of use. They are defined in Format>Fonts. The “common” contexts are configured in the Formula Fonts of the dialog. Leave them out so that you don’t mess Math operation (unless of course you want to customise them). The bottom part Custom Fonts offers three user-selectable contexts.

Choose one of them to define the font to be used for your normal distribution symbol, Serif (the context by itself does not matter).

I suggest the use of some script font (I kind of remember Zapf Chancery might look like the picture in the question).

When back in edit mode, the formula above is font serif {N} (%mu, %sigma^2).

The keywords for the other user-contexts are sans and fixed.

To show the community your question has been answered, click the ✓ next to the correct answer, and “upvote” by clicking on the ^ arrow of any helpful answers. These are the mechanisms for communicating the quality of the Q&A on this site. Thanks!

In case you need clarification, edit your question (not an answer) or comment the relevant answer.

With font serif it doesn’t look like it. I assume this is not doable in Math.

Read attentively what I wrote: keyword serif in the formula does not mean that the font is named Serif. You request to use the font labelled Serif in configuration dialog Format>Fonts. You can assign any font in this “slot”. I suggested some script or cursive font. I think the best approximation is Zapf Chancery but I haven’t such a font in my Linux box. If I’m right, it is installed on MacOS but you should find equivalent ones.

Something similar on Windows is Monotype Corsiva.

I see. I read it carefully but I was confused by the user interface as the drop down box didn’t offer any choice other than Liberation Serif (I thought this was due to my Linux system). But through modify I was able to change the font. And it worked therefore I choose this as accepted answer (+ your argumentation at the other answer, which also worked). Thanks!

I have found MathJax_Caligraphic on my Ubuntu system for people who might wonder or come across this page in the future. Which is again an issue. I don’t know what happens on a system without the font. Does Impress include the font, which is referred by a Math object in above-mentioned settings? I didn’t try yet, I also don’t need to transfer the document. I checked the contents of the odp file and there seems to be a reference only in: ObjectReplacements/Object 3 file. But no font file. Even with “Embed fonts in the document” and/or “Only embed fonts that are used in documents” (tried both). Other fonts can be found but not MathJax.

Inside a math object, type U+1d4a9 and press Alt X.

Two recommendations:

  1. Put the resulting symbol between two double quotes: "𝒩"
  2. (optional) Change the text font used by Math to something such as Libertinus Serif, the default Liberation fonts look terrible.

For the record: U+1D4A9 MATHEMATICAL SCRIPT CAPITAL N lives in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane, Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols block (since Unicode 3.1 or 3.2). As it is not in the common Basic Multilingual Plane, it is likely that few fonts offer it. It works on my Linux box but I have no idea where the glyph is taken from. Applying various faces does not show many variations (the set of substitutes is limited).

Consequently, waiting for a proper font to emerge, I recommend my workaround which allows to choose a predictable face for the glyph.

I can only confirm both for Linux and for Windows: the glyph does appear but looks foreign to the current font (Times New Roman, Liberation Serif etc.).

Some options:

  1. Support imbedded LaTeX. (even Apple’s iWorks programs do this using blah{TeX} but incompletely)
  2. Support externally generated .svg imbedded Math and typeset text.
  3. Create an omnibus special font family containing all the style and symbols of college-level mathematics, physics and engineering courses and an editor to arrange placement, subscripts, etc. similar to the present Math Formulas. Supply the font with LibreOffice.
  4. Push for an open source standard that is extensible and easy to use using outside help if necessary.
  5. Do nothing and have students pay a big chunk of money for ancient typesetting applications they will have to buy and learn to hate.

I am an electrical engineer and I can’t even form Maxwell’s equations, let alone symbolic math, a simple intro to electromagnetics, etc. with the current setup. I know this is a big task but sponsors, doctoral committees, journals and more won’t accept force-fitted regular fonts for a research paper or a thesis. The lack of proper integration and differentiation types (surface, circular, multiple dimensional, partial, Feynman diagrams and vector field notations) are essential. There is a program on the Mac called Mathpix Snipping Tool that can take a screenshot of a printed formula or a nicely handwritten one and convert the photo into LaTeX. Perhaps the author could be convinced to pitch in.

I do sincerely understand your claims and proposed suggestions. Unfortunately, this is a Question & Answers site, not a forum. Your complaint is taken by the site engine as a solution to the initial question, which is not.

Were there no valid answers yet (though rather workarounds), your “non-answer” would confuse users letting them think a solution was provided. There is no concept of “thread” on this site. Please, make your “non answer” a comment under the question or one of the answers (copy and paste into the comment box – which is rather limited, perhaps forcing you to split into two comments) and delete your answer.