Rationale: Imagine you would like to create a publication quality figure in Mathematica, from under Linux. Naturally, it will contain text/labels.

Problem: Here is a simple string "Amin,new".

Export it into pdf with Export command, and get instead: $\text{Amin ,new}$

Note that space before comma!

Question: How to avoid it?

Some ideas:

As pointed out here: The space in default output of `ExportString` to Latex

It seems like mathematica inserts extra spaces into strings when it recognizes command-like structures.

For example, this string "Xgkx,new" gets exported rather successfully with no extra spaces.

Additionally, the extra space does not occur if "," is removed, but does occur if "," is replaced by ":", ";" or probably other thin symbols.

This way, avoiding certain string sequences circumvents the problem, but is there a better way to solve it?

System: Ubuntu 14.04, Mathematica 10.0.2

Note: The problem does not occur on Mac, Windows, or in (Linux + Mathematica 9). Hence, it must be a bug (Wolfram support informed).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How exactly do you export? I can not reproduce your observation str = "Amin,new"; Export["str.pdf", str], works fine, without the extra space (my System: Mac OS X. MMA $\endgroup$
    – mgamer
    Jan 31, 2015 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @mgamer: Exactly this way, Export["str.pdf","amin,new"]. It seems therefore that it is a bug, and it is system-dependent. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2015 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Windows 8 x64, Mathematica - no spaces. Sorry for a dumb question, but... are you positive it's not a problem of Ubuntu's pdf viewer? AFAIK there's no Adobe Reader there (except under Wine)? Could you see if that particular .pdf file that displays so badly in Ubuntu behaves any better under Mac? Under official Adobe Reader? $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Jan 31, 2015 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Adobe Reader 11.0.10 on Windows shows a big fat nasty space. All right, so it's not just Okular. $\endgroup$
    – gaazkam
    Jan 31, 2015 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ There are a number of weird spacing and positioning issues when exporting mildly complex formulas to PDFs. Just like you, I wanted to use these formulas as labels or annotations in publication figures. My workaround now is to use LaTeX to create these labels, through a small package I wrote. You might find it useful too, until the bug gets fixed. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Apr 1, 2015 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


As confirmed by WRI, it is a bug, which is specific to Linux and which was introduced in version 10.0.2.

No workaround known yet except for two possible recommendations, especially when it comes to plot labels:

  1. Avoid using commas or other short symbols like ":", ";" or maybe even "|".
  2. Try renaming your variables so that string sequences before the short symbol does not resemble commands.

Edit: The bug is still there in MMA 10.1

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I had a single whitespace swallowed (not inserted as in the OP) during export to PDF and was able to get a single one in the PDF by having two whitespaces in the label of my plot in Mathematica. This is possibly related since I am on Linux and MMA 10.1. $\endgroup$
    – tortortor
    Jul 10, 2020 at 18:34

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