In the question Latex Math Symbol: Vitanyi puts a tiny plus symbol over his equals. How do I do that?, there was an answer to how to place additional sign over the equal sign.

And my question is, what if I also want to have some symbol/text under the equal sign? Or if I want to use \stackrel to label my equal sign that follows an tab alignment character (&=)?

  • @user4217 --- I don't understand the second part of your question. Do you mean that you want to have text underneath an equals sign that follows an alignment tab character? May 16, 2011 at 17:04
  • Yes, that's what I mean. Sorry I got it wrong in the question, I've edited it.
    – FloydChen
    May 16, 2011 at 17:52
  • I have edited my answer. May 17, 2011 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


The amsmath package provides the \overset and \underset macros that can be used to place one symbol above or below another. If you want text above and below, you could use \DeclareMathOperator* (also from amsmath).

\underset{b}{=} \quad  \eq^a_b

There shouldn't be any problems using this in amsmath environments such as align.

A  &\eq^b_a B \\
   &\eq^b_a C

However, if you use it in the middle column of an eqnarray or eqnarray* (which are generally considered to be obsolete), then you will need \displaystyle before \eq.

All of the above applies to egreg's suggestion of defining \eq via


which seems to improve the spacing (and may be better in other ways as well).

  • 6
    In this case I would prefer \newcommand{\eq}[2]{\mathrel{\operatorname*{=}_#1^#2}}} to be called as \eq{under}{over}. In this way the symbol will behave like a relation symbol.
    – egreg
    May 16, 2011 at 18:04
  • 1
    \newcommand{\eq}[2]{\mathrel{\operatorname*{=}_#1^#2}}} is not a balanced expression (one too many }). Jul 9, 2013 at 10:39
  • @StevenB.Segletes --- well, that's what I get for copying from egreg's comment! Jul 9, 2013 at 11:41
  • 1
    I suggest modifying egregs command to this form: \newcommand{\eq}[2]{\mathrel{\operatorname*{=}_{#1}^{#2}}} which allows empty strings as its arguments in case one wants text only above or below the operator
    – ted
    Sep 23, 2013 at 12:38

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