This is somehow a follow-up question to this one.

I've got the following math expression: \nabla_y u_0^{(i)}\nabla_y v^{(i)}

However, no matte, whether I enclose the v in curly brackets or not (as indirectly suggested in the linked question), the last superscript ((i)) is always on a lower vertical position than the first superscript ((i)).

What is the optimal and advised method for ensuring that the superscripts are always on the same vertical position throughout my whole document?

Thank's to karlkoeller's anwser, I ended up using two custom commands:


The first is used when no sub-script should be printed and the latter is used for all combinations of super- and subscripts. E.g.

u\subp{\varepsilon}{(i)} \nabla v\supp{(i)}

1 Answer 1


This is because the first term has a subscript and the latter not.

One solution is to put a "phantom" subscript in the second term:

\(\nabla_y u_0^{(i)}\nabla_y v_{\phantom{0}}^{(i)}\)

enter image description here

  • Thanks a lot. Now I only have to write a macro for automatically adding that phantom subscript.
    – Torbjörn
    Jul 14, 2013 at 6:59
  • Something like \newcommand{\pha}[1]{_{\phantom{#1}}} if you want to specify the subscript: \pha{0} or something like \newcommand{\pha}{_{\phantom{0}}} if you don't want to specify the subscript: \pha Jul 14, 2013 at 7:10
  • Ok, a last little follow-up question: How can I ensure, that the subscript \varepsilon has the same hight as a number as 0? When using \varepsilon as a subscript, the superscript is still as low as without a phantom-subscript.
    – Torbjörn
    Jul 14, 2013 at 7:37
  • I can not confirm this, the superscripts have all the same height. Jul 14, 2013 at 7:52
  • 1
    I didn't meant the height of the _super_scripts, but the subscripts. The number 0 has the same hight as \phantom{0}. Anyway, I fixed this problem by using \vphantom{0} for all subscripts. This ensures a consistent hight of the subscripts and consistent vertical positioning of the superscripts.
    – Torbjörn
    Jul 14, 2013 at 8:06

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