# How to denote plus minus(±) symbol in LaTeX?

You need to use \pm command to get latex plus-minus symbol. You do not need to pass any argument in this command. So, take a look at this syntax below

Properties Value
Symbol Plus Minus
Argument No
Command \pm
Example \pm → ±

For example, when you determine the square root of a number, you have to use plus-minus sign.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{xcolor}
\begin{document}
$p=\sqrt{a^{2}}={\color{red}\pm}\,a$
$x= \frac{-b\,{\color{red}\pm}\sqrt{b^2 -4ac}}{2a}$
$\frac{\partial y}{y}= {\color{red}\pm}\left( n\frac{\partial u}{u} + m\frac{\partial v}{v} \right)$
\end{document}


Output :

If you look at the program above, you can see that the\sqrt{} command is used for the square root, and a² is passed as an argument.

## Plus-minus symbol in text mode

You cannot use default \pm command in direct text mode. However, with the textcomp package, you can represent plus and minus symbols in text.

And, the most important command for this is \textpm.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{textcomp}
\begin{document}
Use plus-minus symbol in text mode : \textpm
\end{document}


Output :

Use plus-minus symbol in text mode: ±

As you may know,  symbols are not used on both sides of the command in text mode.

And when you use a math mode command in text mode, you use single dollars on both sides of command. For example

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
Use plus-minus symbol in text mode: $\pm$
\end{document}


Output :

Use plus-minus symbol in text mode : ±

## Minus-Plus symbol in latex

Mathematically, when a character with a plus-minus sign ± is multiplied by a minus sign -, the plus-minus sign before that character becomes a minus-plus sign.

Properties Value
Symbol Minus plus
Argument No
Command \mp
Example \pm → ∓

In the same way, to get minus-plus symbol, you need to use \mp command instead of \pm command.

For example, you notice that when a plus-minus character is moved to the opposite side of a mathematically equal, it becomes a minus-plus symbol. So, look at this LaTeX program below

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
$a\pm b=0$
$\therefore a=\mp b$
\end{document}

Output :

## Use MnSymbol, fdsymbol, boisik, and stix packages for this symbol

Also, latex has multiple packages to represent this symbol. However, the interesting thing is that the same command \pm is present in each package.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{MnSymbol,fdsymbol,boisik,stix}
\begin{document}
$a \pm b = c$
$p \pm q = r$
\end{document}

Output :

Hopefully, you understand how to use the plus-minus or minus-plus symbol with the help of latex.

And no document has been created in this tutorial, only the equation is presented in front of you.

## Practice Quiz

What will be the output according to the following code?

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
$\sin\left(\frac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm\sqrt{\frac{1-\cos\theta}{2}}$
\end{document}
1. $$\sin\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm\sqrt{\cfrac{1-\cos\theta}{2}}$$
2. $$\sin\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm\sqrt{\cfrac{1{\color{red}-}\cos\theta}{2}}$$
3. $$\sin\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \mp\sqrt{\cfrac{1-\cos\theta}{2}}$$
4. $$\sin\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \mp\sqrt{\cfrac{1+\cos\theta}{2}}$$

What will be the output according to the following code?

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
$\cos\left(\frac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm \sqrt{\frac{1+\;\cos\theta}{2}}$
\end{document}
1. $$\cos\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm \sqrt{\cfrac{1+\cos\theta}{2}}$$
2. $$\cos\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm \sqrt{\cfrac{1+\;\cos\theta}{2}}$$
3. $$\cos\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm \sqrt{\cfrac{1\;+\;\cos\theta}{2}}$$
4. $$\cos\left(\cfrac{\theta}{2}\right) = \pm \sqrt{\cfrac{1\;+\sin\theta}{2}}$$

What will be the output according to the following code?

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
$\sin\theta \,\pm \;\cos\theta$
\end{document}
1. $$\sin\theta \pm \;\;\cos\theta$$
2. $$\sin\theta\pm \cos\theta$$
3. $$\sin\theta \;\pm \;\cos\theta$$
4. $$\sin\theta\,\pm\;\cos\theta$$

Md Jidan Mondal

LaTeX expert with over 10 years of experience in document preparation and typesetting. Specializes in creating professional documents, reports, and presentations using LaTeX.