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With a tall equation like the following, using simple ( and ) gives brackets that are too small, and using \left( and \right) gives ones that are ridiculously big:

enter image description here

a+b\left(\underbrace{\sum_{i=1}^{n}f_i(x)}_{h(x)} +g(x)\right )

I need the brackets to stretch in a way that takes into account my equation may not be distributed evenly across vertical space - e.g. the above case is very bottom-heavy.

How to achieve this?

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Take a look at tex.stackexchange.com/q/1023/86 as I think it address the same problem. Do any of the answers there help? If not, it would help to understand what doesn't work with those. –  Andrew Stacey Jun 7 '13 at 16:23
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Try the \big, \Big, \bigg, \Bigg variants:

\big(\underbrace{\sum_{i=1}^{n}f_i(x)}_{h(x)} +g(x)\big)
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If you do not rely on amsmath package, use nath.

\documentclass[margin=5mm]{standalone}
\usepackage{nath}

\begin{document}
\begin{equation*}
a+b\left(\underbrace{\sum_{i=1}^{n}f_i(x)}_{h(x)} +g(x)\right )
\end{equation*}

\end{document}

enter image description here

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