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Why is there ugly whitespace in the first column? How do I remove it?

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{multicol}

\begin{document}
    \begin{multicols}{3}
        \begin{align*}
            a = b
        \end{align*}
        \begin{align*}
            a = b
        \end{align*}
        \begin{align*}
            a = b
        \end{align*}
    \end{multicols}
\end{document}
share|improve this question
    
Since there's no alignment happening inside the equations, it's syntactically cleaner to use the gather* environment instead of the align* environment. Better yet, use the equation* environment as it uses less vertical spacing than either align* or gather*. Best, of course, use the solution provided by @MarkSEveritt. –  Mico Nov 6 '11 at 12:39

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you're trying to put three equations on a line, then multicol isn't necessary. For example,

\begin{align*}
    a&=b &a&=b &a&=b
\end{align*}

produces output that looks like what you want from your MWE, and works for multiple lines of equations like usual for align. If that doesn't answer your question, then the problem was indentation. The following fixes your code.

\begin{multicols}{3}
    \noindent
    \begin{align*}
        a = b
    \end{align*}
    \begin{align*}
        a = b
    \end{align*}
    \begin{align*}
        a = b
    \end{align*}
\end{multicols}

i.e. you needed the \noindent to avoid the indentation from a new paragraph.

share|improve this answer
    
Wow, thanks a lot! –  Mehrdad Nov 6 '11 at 18:50
    
You're welcome! –  qubyte Nov 7 '11 at 1:15
    
Out of interest, which one did you use in the end? –  qubyte Nov 12 '11 at 7:05
    
Definitely \noindent -- my example was just to illustrate the problem, not the actual equation I was trying to type -- there was a whole page's worth of equations, divided up in 2-column chunks. :) –  Mehrdad Nov 12 '11 at 7:06
    
Cool. I had the feeling that the MWE really way minimal! –  qubyte Nov 12 '11 at 7:10

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