How do I get curly braces to show in math mode? When I write this:

$ K_1 = {s_1}, K_2 = {s_2, s_3, s_4} $

the braces disappear in the output.


Use \{…\}. But, as the contents inside the braces may vary in size, it would be better to use the DeclarePairedDelimiter command from the mathtools package:


This defines a \set{…} command, which accepts an optional argument: \big, \Big, \bigg, or \Bigg, which implicitly adds a pair of \bigl…\bigr, &c. in front of the braces. Example: \set[\big]{...}

A \set*{…} variant becomes available for free, which adds implicitly a pair of \left…\right.

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  • Mathtools is a relatively new package, so if \usepackage{mathtools} generates 'package not found' error in MiKTeX, you may need to synchronize mpm's repository catalog. The instructions here resolved the issue for me. – Assad Ebrahim Apr 2 '16 at 2:36
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    The main point is it's not installed by default in a basic installation of MiKTeX. – Bernard Apr 2 '16 at 8:54

You need to escape the braces like \{ and \}.

$K_1 = \{s_1\}, K_2 = \{s_2, s_3, s_4\}$
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