I've been perusing a few posts here and there, and one thing that sometimes confuses me is seeing an 'l' and thinking that it is an 'I'. An example is the question about ClF3 ($\ce {ClF3}$) which I know is obviously NOT CIF3 ($\ce {CIF3}$) but which managed to confuse me for a minute or so nonetheless. I guess the other fonts that cause problems are ones where 'l' looks like '1' such as many monospaced fonts!

Really, I guess it's a fairly minor thing, but I was wondering about what the rest of you guys thought?

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    $\begingroup$ We can check into it, but I don't think we have much control over that, it's done with a master CSS sheet for all of the beta sites. You could, however, write your own CSS sheet which changes the font or the style, I think. I'll let Manish weigh in on that part. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Aug 9, 2013 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ Regardless of the MathJax clarifications and such, I generally approve of not using Arial. $\endgroup$
    – Aesin
    Aug 21, 2013 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


Well, it's pretty unambiguous in MathJax (I edited that post to fix this), though I'll admit that I've been confused at times with mhchem-formatted formulae in other places. Still, the easiest thing to do is always use MathJax for formulae on this site.

You can fix this on your side by installing Stylish (Stylish for Firefox) and changing the font-face for .post-text to a font with a clearer I-l distinction. The same goes for the .mtext MathJax class if you feel that it's still ambiguous.

Update: Stylish script, credit @Snipergirl

  • $\begingroup$ good point. perhaps next when I get confused by a formula that isn't in mathjax or mhchem I'll edit it so that it is? $\endgroup$
    – Tomcat
    Aug 9, 2013 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Snipergirl Yep. In general, it's best to mathjax-ify most formulae. $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2013 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ I've added a Stylish userstyle here: userstyles.org/styles/92357/… $\endgroup$
    – Tomcat
    Aug 29, 2013 at 2:07

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