TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a very long equation that must be separated into two lines, and it has several pairs of nesting \left \right delimiters. Unfortunately, it seems that they need to be on the same line in order for them to work.

Also I'm using the align environment because I need the aligning functionality. Is there a way to have the size of delimiters automatically adjusted over multiple lines?

share|improve this question
up vote 24 down vote accepted

The breqn package allows for automatic line breaking of equations, and for having \left and \right on different lines.

share|improve this answer
Is it compatible with amsmath and amssym? – Tobias Kienzler Oct 13 '11 at 9:10
@TobiasKienzler Judging from the manual, yes, but load breqn after any other packages dealing with math, such as those you mentioned. – Torbjørn T. Oct 13 '11 at 9:16

You can't.

You can use some thing like \biggl, \biggr, or \left.\vphantom{...}\right). For example:

a &= \left( \frac12 + \frac13 + \frac14 \right. \\
  &\quad \left. {}+ a + b + c \vphantom{\frac12}\right)
share|improve this answer
Note that the alignment points (the &s) have to be outside the \left/\right. – Lev Bishop Jun 22 '11 at 3:30
Could one modify \left and \right to include \vphantoms of all the lines in between? – Tobias Kienzler Oct 13 '11 at 9:12
@TobiasKienzler: It's not easy to determine what to put in the \vphantom. TeX cannot understand the meaning of the equations. Anyway, you can use breqn. – Leo Liu Oct 13 '11 at 13:14
Do you know whether it is possible to get this kind of pre-formatting from Mathematica for large system of equations? More here. – hhh Oct 14 '12 at 1:19
@hhh: breqn package should be useful. (See above) – Leo Liu Oct 14 '12 at 1:39

Have a look at the nath package.

share|improve this answer
Is it compatible with amsmath? – Tobias Kienzler Oct 13 '11 at 9:08
@Tobias: No. As I know, it is uncommon to use nath. – Leo Liu Oct 13 '11 at 13:12
@Tobias: nath is incompatible with amsmath; it does provide some support for multi-line display, and lot of nice features like automatic scaling of delimiters (no need for \left ... \right) that also works across line breaks, ignoring the height of the subscripts and superscripts (of operators like \sum) when calculating the scaling of delimiters, smart display of \frac, amongst others which do are cumbersome when using amsmath. – Aditya Oct 13 '11 at 16:34

The solution for me was to use virtual dot delimiters

\frac{\partial F}{\partial x} &= \left[ \frac{\partial y}{\partial z} \right. \\
                              &* \left. \frac{\partial z}{\partial x} \right]

which was the comment posted by percusse in this question which was marked as a duplicate.

The virtual dot delimiters are in Leo Liu's answer above, but a TeX n00b like me wouldn't have seen it.

FYI Sphinx-1.1.3 already supports multi-line math with the math directive using the AmSMath LaTeX package, i.e. breqn is not necessary.

share|improve this answer
This doesn't give the right sizes if the material on the first and second lines have different height. Leo Liu's answer corrects for this by adding the \vphantom. – eldering Nov 13 '12 at 23:09
Thanks eldering, that's very good to know! – Mark Mikofski Nov 14 '12 at 6:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.