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\documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}

\begin{document}
\listoffigures

\[
    \{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}
\]


\begin{figure}[htb]
\centering
    something here
    \caption[math $x+y$ ]{math $\{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}$ }
    % \caption[math $\{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}$ ]{math $\{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}$}
\end{figure}


\end{document}

I want to use a short caption for \listoffigures. However, the simple math expressions ($x+y$) can work. But a more complicated math expression like

\caption[math $\{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}$ ]{math $\{[\phi(t+h),p(t+h)]_2\}$}

enter image description here

does not work.

Am I misunderstanding something in typing math using latex?

  • 1
    use {$math$} LaTeX can't know here that the closing bracket in your formulae is not closing the optional argument. – Johannes_B Jan 14 '15 at 15:52
  • @Johannes_B Thanks! Straight to the point! Still I am a bit confused why the "simple" case work, but the "complicated"one. – Chen Stats Yu Jan 14 '15 at 15:54
  • See my edited comment. – Johannes_B Jan 14 '15 at 15:55
  • 1
    useful information here: ] inside an optional argument – barbara beeton Jan 14 '15 at 16:01

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