Since I am lazy, and I don't want to write


all the time, I thought I could have renewed the command into


but I failed.

Why? Does someone know how to do it properly?

  • 11
    with the standard definition that should work, but is usually considered to be a bad idea as it greatly obscures the document structure. If you have loaded amsmath then it is explicitly documented that you can not replace the environments by command forms. (although you presumably would use \newcommand not \renewcommand unless those names have been defined previously) Dec 19, 2016 at 16:21
  • 3
    Can't you make (or don't you have) shortcuts in your editor?
    – Bernard
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:24
  • 5
    Since \beq is not defined, you should use \newcommand. But don't, you'll soon regret having done it and having littered your document with obscure markup.
    – egreg
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:26
  • 1
    for the ams versions see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/100138/… Dec 19, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    Its better to configure your editor to insert the \begin{equation}...\end{equation} for you (I just type eq<tab> using snippets in vim). Using macro short-hands when you collaborate isn't really possible and journals don't like them either. If you intend to never show you documents to anyone else, and always work alone, this is of course fine.
    – user30471
    Dec 20, 2016 at 3:22

2 Answers 2


While the code you showed works without problems, provided you use \newcommand rather than \renewcommand, I can't recommend doing so.






enter image description here

Why do I recommend the fully spelled out version? There are several reasons, but here are the main ones.

  1. \begin{equation}...\end{equation} can easily become \begin{equation*}...\end{equation*} for the unnumbered version (and conversely

  2. You can look for environment nesting without distinguishing special cases

  3. The code with explicit \begin and \end tag is more prominent when skimming through the typescript

  4. Such shorthands cannot be used for align and the other amsmath display environments.

Littering a typescript with obscure markup is a bad thing. Really. Laziness can be implemented through the shortcuts provided by your text editor: every text editor provides them or, at least, a way to define new ones.

Personally, I don't even use shortcuts: typing \begin{equation} is as easy as remembering a shortcut.


This is what I have personnaly used for years:

  • 12
    Look at the comment with the most upvotes by our highest ranking user. You should not do this.
    – Johannes_B
    Mar 7, 2017 at 13:08

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