This must have been asked somewhere here before, but I cannot seem to find it.

I am using \left( and \right) around an xymatrix, but the parenthesis are far too big; enter image description here

with the following code;

            \left(\xymatrix{ A \ar[r] \ar[d]    & B  \ar[d] \\
                      X     \ar[r]_f    &   Y}\right)

1 Answer 1


This is caused because the \xymatrix{ } sets the first line of the matrix on the baseline, the lower line goes beyond the baseline resulting in a large depth. The \left and \right macros are always centered on the baseline, and therefore are extended upwards as far the matrix goes down. Use the \vcenter macro to push the matrix up.



    \vcenter{\xymatrix{ A \ar[r] \ar[d] & B \ar[d] \\ X \ar[r]_f & Y}}
  • Great, two birds with one stone.
    – BBischof
    Jul 11, 2011 at 16:55
  • small nitpicking: \valign isn't a macro, it's a primitive.
    – morbusg
    Jul 11, 2011 at 17:03
  • @morbusg: I'm actually using \vcenter not \valign, but both are indeed primitives ;-) Jul 11, 2011 at 17:53
  • 2
    A "pure LaTeX" solution is to enclose \xymatrix in a gathered environment. Using \vcenter in other cases can lead to surprises and head scratching; for example, TeX is not in math mode inside a \vcenter. Here it doesn't matter, since \xymatrix can be used in text mode and, most importantly, it builds a box.
    – egreg
    Jul 11, 2011 at 18:10
  • :-O facepalm
    – morbusg
    Jul 11, 2011 at 18:53

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