Bold and Italic font in LaTeX

Posted: 16th August 2009 by Tim in LaTeX
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

There are two ways to make text italic in LaTeX. The first and most common method is the \emph{text here} tag. This is used for emphasizing words within a block of text. For example:

The cake was \emph{huge} for a cup cake

If you’re looking to italicize a whole block of text, then use the \textit{text here} command instead. What’s the difference? You can use \emph{} inside the \textit{} to further emphasize that part of the text. The text wrapped in the \emph{} tag will be printed in normal font to make it stand out. For example:

\textit{The cake was \emph{huge} for a cup cake}

To make the text bold, wrap it in \textbf{text here} tags.

These tags can be nested (ie: \textbf{\emph{bold and italicized text here}} will produce bold and italic font.

  1. Hans says:

    I do not think that this is not optimal. \emph is mad for emphasising. That means that if it is placed in some italic text will not be italic (for instance: \textit{\emph{Never mind the rain}} will not be italic!). A better solution is: \textbf{\textif{Never mind the rain}}

  2. Tim says:

    Hi Hans,

    The \emph{} command is used to emphasize something. The default behaviour is to make the font italic, effectively generating the same output as using \textit{}. The difference, as you pointed out, is when \emph{} is used inside \textit{} in that the emphasized text is no longer italicized. This is a desirable outcome in that the plain font stands out in the block of italicized font.

    In short, \textit{} should be used for italicizing blocks of text, whereas \emph{} should be used for emphasizing words or a sentence.

    I have updated the post to describe these differences.

  3. Erin says:

    Hi, I seem to be finding that when I call \sf or \textsf, I can’t get both italics and bold. Has anyone found a way around this?

  4. Jeff says:

    Also, \i will italicize. (I use it inside math equations so not 100% sure it works elsewhere.)

  5. Mayank Fake says:


  6. Yao says:

    \textbf{\textit{something happened}}

    rather than

    \textbf{\textif{something happened}}

  7. Patricio says:

    Gracias capo. Ojalá aprobemos Algo 2!