In a comment, I wrote:

Absolutely 0ms isn't possible with any circuit.

Here, in a question, you can see a slight difference between the zero and the o: 0o. But in a comment you can't: 0-10 second on-time with a potentiometer

Can we please have a font that shows the difference between o and 0 in both questions/answers and comments? It's very important for our users, I believe.

I've read this old answer on meta that states the same. You can see there that this can be workarounded with either \$\LaTeX\$ or code digits, but I'd say that's overkill for simple things like "0ms".

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The convention that I learned to avoid confusion is to put a space between the value and unit (e.g. 0 ms, or even 0.0 ms). \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 6:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's possible, but still isn't that neat, is it? \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 6:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ OT for here but actually 0 ms would be possible with some circuits in the context of the original question. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


Very few fonts give an unambiguous distinction between 'o', 'O', and '0'. The only one that I've seen is basically a monospaced font, the same one seen in the edit window and in c0de blocks.

I believe that this is a communication issue and not so much a font issue. We have been dealing with how to clearly and accurately convey engineering terms and quantities for a long time, and there are a few guidelines to ensure that people correctly interpret what was written. These have been reasonably standardized by the primary organization for EE's, the IEEE. This style guide gives guidelines for clear and unambiguous writing so that you can be understood regardless of the font choice.

To pull out and summarize a few relevant points from section 13.2:

  • Separate the quantity from the units with a space. ( 73 ms )
  • Add a leading zero when the magnitude is less than one. ( 0.25 ms )
  • Ranges should never have a dash because it may be confused with subtraction. ( 0 ms to 10 ms )
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. But some people in turn seem to forget it is a styleguide, it is good practise, not mandatory. So editing answers/questions that are clear but just to follow the style guide, in my opinion, is a waste of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 7:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie: What's clear for one person isn't necessarily for another. Editing questions and answers to make them more clear for all readers, even if it's already clear for some, is always welcome. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie The context for this question is that the OP felt that their writing was not clear. I think writing advice is perfectly suited for when the author wants to improve the clarity of their writing. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 15:45

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