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I'm trying to make a list of symbols and I have something like this

P --- pressure

eta --- viscosity

lambda(P,T) --- thermal conductivity


I need to align this list with dash symbol. I tried to make it with nomencl package and tabbing but it didn't help me.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can capture this using table. See below:

$P$ &---& pressure\\
$\eta$ &---& viscosity\\
$\lambda(P,T)$ &---& thermal conductivity\\

Note: I have edited the answer to include p{<width>} for long sentences.

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Thx for the answer, I used the variant with tabular, and it works well for short descriptions. Unfortunately I have a long sentences and it doesn't fit to the page and some of them are staying to far from the first symbol. How can I move part of this senteces to the new line with no indent? – anatoly Jul 19 '13 at 11:48
@anatoly you'll need for example a p{<width>} type column, see the array documentation for details. – clemens Jul 19 '13 at 11:50
@cgnieder: I have updated the answer as well. – Jagath Jul 19 '13 at 13:06
Thank you very much indeed – anatoly Jul 20 '13 at 14:56

The KOMA-Script classes have a list that basically does what you want:

\begin{labeling}[<separator>]{<widest label>}

This evironment can be used with the standard classes, too, by loading the scrextend package. The list would then maybe look like:

  \item[$P$] pressure 
  \item[$\eta$] viscosity
  \item[$\lambda(P,T)$] thermal conductivity

You can probably make nomencl use the list and you can definitely customize acro or glossaries to use it. Here's a way with acro:

enter image description here

\usepackage{scrextend}% only if you don't use a KOMA-Script class

  {\labeling[---]{\hspace*{4em}}}% choose length for widest label

  short = \ensuremath{P} ,
  long  = pressure ,
  sort  = pressure
  short = \ensuremath{\eta} ,
  long  = viscosity ,
  sort  = viscosity
  short = \ensuremath{\lambda(P,T)} ,
  long  = thermal conductivity ,
  sort  = conductivity thermal


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There are many ways, the following uses a simple tabular (for more than one page, package longtable can be used):


\begin{tabular}{@{}>{$}l<{$}@{ --- }l@{}}
 p & pressure \\
 \eta & viscosity \\
 \lambda(P,T) & thermal conductivity \\



  • The dash symbol is added in the tabular's preamble between the first and second column.
  • Math mode is enabled for the first column with the help of package array and its specification with > and >.
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You should probably use p{<width>} column type if you have quite long descriptors. – Martin - マーチン Jul 19 '13 at 10:17
@Martin: Or X of package tabularx (or its combinations with longtable. – Heiko Oberdiek Jul 19 '13 at 10:33

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