# How can I make text appear correctly in an equation? [duplicate]

The basic outline of the equation below is correct but how can I make the text appear correctly right now it appears scrunched up?

\documentclass{report}
\begin{document}
\begin{align*}
\left.
k_S

= \left\lbrace
\begin{array}{l}
k_{LW}    \text{if} k_{ICOMP}<k_{LW} \\
k_{ICOMP} \text {otherwise}
\end{array}
\right.
\end{align*}
\end{document}

• You didn't include the amsmath package, as it is needed for your use of align*. Moreover, you don't need align for this equation, since an equation* environment would do just as well. Finally, your construction is also made simple using the cases environment (also supplied by amsmath).
– Werner
Sep 24, 2014 at 19:30
• ...also see In “math-mode line” non-math type.
– Werner
Sep 24, 2014 at 19:34
• using \text{} doesn't work? Sep 24, 2014 at 19:34
• Okay, then you need to provide more information as to "why" it doesn't work. Just saying that doesn't help.
– Werner
Sep 24, 2014 at 19:34
• see the edit above I tried doing it with the \text{} but the text still looks terrible Sep 24, 2014 at 19:40

Maybe this? Note I made the subscripts upright, since they seemed to be acronyms of some sort, rather than indices or variable names. I also adjusted \arraycolsep from its default, to tune the gap between the left brace and the following content.

\documentclass{report}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
\begin{align*}
k_S
= \left\{
\arraycolsep=1pt\relax
\begin{array}{l}
\text{$k_\text{LW}$    if $k_\text{ICOMP}<k_\text{LW}$} \\
\text{$k_\text{ICOMP}$ otherwise}
\end{array}
\right.
\end{align*}
\end{document}


Why no use cases of the amsmath package?

\documentclass{report}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
\begin{align*}
k_S=\begin{cases}
k_{\text{LW}} & \text{if } k_{\text{ICOMP}}<k_{\text{LW}} \\
k_{\text{ICOMP}} & \text{otherwise}
\end{cases}
\end{align*}
\end{document}


• Or cases* from mathtools: the 2nd column will then be in text mode. Sep 24, 2014 at 20:13