# Is there an elegant notation to indicate that what follows is a range?

I'm currently creating a table containing values for a number of variables, many of which actually are the mean values. To indicate that those are the mean values, I use the bar on the corresponding variable in the header (e.g. $$\bar{x}$$). Maybe this is not the standard way in maths, but it's common in my (physics) community.

Now I also have a column where I would like to give a range for the corresponding variable, but I can't think of a good way to indicate this, so people can intuitively understand it. Of course I can always just some "arbitrary" indicator (e.g. $$\tilde{x}$$, or $$\hat{x}$$) and explain what I mean by that in the notes. In addtion, I of course also need to indicate the range in the value cells themselves, e.g. $$a-b$$, $$[a, b]$$, or $$a (of which I actually prefer the first, I know, not very mathy).

I was just wondering if there is something more intuitive.

The only other idea I could think of is the make two colums, one with $$x_\text{min}$$ and one with $$x_\text{max}$$ (or $$\text{min}(x)$$/$$\text{max}(x)$$).

Example showcasing the different approaches (note that in the actual table I wouldn't write mean/range of $$x$$ in the header in addition to the symbol):

Cases mean of $$x$$: $$\bar{x}$$ range of $$x$$: ?? $$x_\text{min}$$ or $$\text{min}(x)$$ $$x_\text{max}$$ or $$\text{max}(x)$$
First 1 $$0-2$$ 0 2
Second 2 $$[-1, 4]$$ -1 4
Third 3 $$1 < x < 6$$ 1 6

Apologies if this is not the correct community. I found this post and thus thought to give it a try here.

• I don't understand the sentence Now I also have a column where I would like to give a range for the corresponding variable. Can you elaborate? Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 15:21
• Hi, thanks for the question. I've added an example for clarification.
– mapf
Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 15:35
• $\bar x$ is indeed the most common notation in mathematics for the mean of a statistical variable $x$. All three range specifications are commonly used, so there should be no problem there, either, with you choosing your favorite. $a - b$ might be confused with subtraction, but it is still a fairly common notation, and I doubt in the context that more than a rare few would have any trouble with it at all. Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 16:19
• Hi @PaulSinclair, thank you! The option with the minus-sign was actually supposed to represent an en-dash, but the latex syntax (--) is not correctly interpreted here, so I went with $-$ instead. I guess that's what I will stick with then.
– mapf
Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 16:25
• FWIW, an en-dash is gotten with $0$--$2$. (The "--" construct must be in paragraph mode, not math mode.) <> If we're nitpicking, a range to me is a noun, so interval notation is appropriate, while inequality notation, a condition specifying bounds, is a small stretch. Separately, it's worth considering whether reporting redundant information (range, as well as min/max values) is clarifying. Finally, this seems not to be your situation, but an interval $[x_0-r, x_0+r]$ centered at $x_0$ might usefully be denoted "$x_0\pm r$." Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 17:23