I want a 'b' with an arrow on top, enclosed in angle brackets.


gives angle brackets which are far too high.


gives far too much horizontal space between the brackets and the \overrightarrow{b}:


makes that formula look good, but the upper end of the 'b' touches the line above.

So what I want is basically a \smash that only affects the brackets, but not e.g. line spacing. Is this possible?

  • 1
    There is also \vec{b} to make that arrow---perhaps you like it better.
    – Svante
    Mar 21, 2011 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


< and > are less than and greater than. If you use them where TeX expects delimiters (such as after \left, then you get angle brackets instead. I suspect what you want is just


which produces enter image description here


use \big instead of \left/ \right

  • Gives the same result as @TH 's variant, except for the brackets being a bit bigger. Thanks.
    – srs
    Mar 21, 2011 at 18:40

What about


This is probably going to give the same result as TH.'s answer, but it illustrates the technique to get what you want: a b with an arrow on top which is treated for the purpose of expanding delimiters as a plain b.

Edit You are right about the line spacing--the \smashed \overrightarrow{b} will run over the line above. I've added another \vphantom to stretch the line after the delimiter.

  • 2
    not quite. - As the arrow is not considered for line spacing, it can interfere with the above line. (at least it happened to me). Thanks however for explaining the \vphantom command.
    – srs
    Mar 21, 2011 at 18:36
  • @rainmaker: good point. I fixed that. Mar 22, 2011 at 0:12

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