I’ve looked for an answer to this question for a long time, but I haven’t been able to fine one: what character or symbol should I use for “x” in the expression “9x5”? As in, “Use a 9x5 inch loaf pan for this recipe” or “That table measures 36x72 inches.”

I’m stumped. I hope you can help.

multiplication sign

http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/d7/index.htm

Or you can use 9-by-12

Many thanks. I suspected as much (for both answers), and that’s what I’ve been doing. I wondered if there was a specific character for that function.

I suspect that few people would notice if you used an ordinary x, but when I've worked with copywriters they specified the multiplication sign for that usage.

I would suspect that a lower case x is also in common usage as well as James points out.

Notice that 9x5 and 9×5 are most likely spaced differently; there was no space typed before or after the multiplication symbol ×, it is the font Georgia that does the job.

Some copywriters I've worked with requested no spaces on either side of the multiplication sign, so maybe that accounts of the difference in spacing you mentioned. (But I think some space makes it more readable.)

Here is the (default) spacing I get if I typeset as a mathematical formula 9×5 with [La]TeX using the (default) Computer Modern font:

Well, of course spacing will be different in setting a math formula compared to running text or tabular data.

For running (and tabular) text I think spacing should be related to that used for %, for en-dashes used for ranges, and, of course for + and − signs.

And, if you need to use a |x|, at least set it in a sans serif typeface!