I was wondering whether it is possible to add some comment on top of the \approx symbol in a similar way that the command \xrightarrow{text} produces an arrow with text over it.


3 Answers 3


You can use the \stackrel{}{} for this:

        A \stackrel{\text{text}}{\approx} B
        A \approxtext{test} B

Or a small wrapper: \newcommand{\approxtext}[1]{\ensuremath{\stackrel{\text{#1}}{\approx}}}. Result:

enter image description here

  • The text above the symbol should probably treated as text, not as math. What's the purpose of the additional braces?
    – egreg
    Mar 15, 2013 at 10:33
  • Thanks for such a detailed explanation However, I don't see the difference between the different approaches? I found that I can also accommodate math in the text above by the usual prescription $mathtext$
    – pablo
    Mar 15, 2013 at 10:54

You can use \stackrel{a=b}{\approx} or if it is real text \stackrel{\text{your text}}{\approx} if your text is not too long. The \approx symbol is rather small, so I wouldn't add too much on top to keep your equations readable.

  • That's working perfect! Thanks for the quickness! Just to know, which package does it comes from this? ams math?
    – pablo
    Mar 15, 2013 at 10:53
  • 1
    @pablo: Actually, you don't even need amsmath for this. But amsmath has two more commands: \overset and \underset. The former does basically the same as \stackrel
    – Anke
    Mar 15, 2013 at 11:13
  • What is the text is long? What command is to be used then?
    – user82588
    Nov 27, 2015 at 18:56

As already mentioned \stackrel can be used for it. I'd just recommend adding \scriptscriptstyle or, say, \tiny if it is just text, plus \smash. Otherwise one often ends up having a combined symbol that mess with the line spacing if used in the text.


Small size to reduce the height
\smash to remove the height completely (the small size then help us not to overlap too much with the line above)

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