I'm a newbie in LATEX. I like to eliminate any extra typing for syntax, partly because I'm not accustomed to LATEX syntax and partly because I'm lazy.

I know that my way is not a recommended way, but I prefer to write all the equations between ONE \begin{gather} and \end{gather}, so I don't need any & sign, $ sign, \begin{align}, etc. (And I don't like center-aligning. In this way I have to write space in text using \ instead of ' ', but usually most of the things I write is just equations, so that doesn't matter much.) so my code is like this:


\large\textbf{Advanced Plasma Physics}
\\Homework2 \hfill heptacle
(1)\ \phi=-\frac{z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\frac{e^{-t^2}}{t-z}dt\\
=\frac{\phi}{z}+\frac{2z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\frac{te^{-t^2}}{t-z}dt\ (integration\ by\ part)\\
\therefore\ \phi'=(\frac{1}{z}-2z)\phi+2z\\

But the problem is that I wanna align equations on the equal sign so they would be more clear. But I coulnd't find any way for alinging in special position on gather environment. & sign doesn't work. Or is there a way to left align all the equations in the align environment without & sign?

  • 2
    gather is specifically for non-aligned equations so asking to align in gather can ot work, making = auto-align would be theoretically possible but many "equations" are not = they may be inequalities or just long expressions that need to be split so using a single & to mark the alignment point is far more robust Feb 12, 2018 at 8:38
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    Welcome to TeX SE! Your example didn't compile as it was, there was a blank line inside your gather environment. Also, each piece of coding, even inline should be enclosed between single quotation marks. As for your problem, I can't see any solution without using any align environment of its likes. Feb 12, 2018 at 8:40
  • @FranckPastor Thank you for correcting my code. That is another annoying problem for my way, that my code should not include any blank line. OK maybe I should switch to align environment. This may sound as a too basic question, but I'm not quite sure how to left align eqn.s in align environment. fleqn alone doesn't work. Where should I plug in & signs? (forgetting about aligning on equal sign for a while)
    – Septacle
    Feb 12, 2018 at 8:45
  • 1
    To left-align equations in an align environment, simply put the ampersand symbol at the very beginning of each equation. Feb 12, 2018 at 8:51
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    shouldn't \large\textbf{Advanced Plasma Physics} be a heading such as \section{Advanced Plasma Physics} ? Using \large in that way makes the text in the entire document large. Feb 12, 2018 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


I propose you this layout:

\usepackage{amsmath, amssymb, graphicx}
\usepackage[margin=.5in, showframe]{geometry}
\title{Advanced Plasma Physics}
\preauthor{\noindent\large Homework2\hfill}


\phi & =-\frac{z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\frac{e^{-t^2}}{t-z}\,dt\\
 \phi ' & =\frac{\phi}{z}-\frac{z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\!\frac{e^{-t^2}}{(t-z)^2}\,dt\\
 & =\frac{\phi}{z}+\frac{2z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\frac{te^{-t^2}}{t-z}\,dt & \quad & \text{\footnotesize(integration\ by\ parts)}\\
 & =\frac{\phi}{z}+\frac{2z}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_{\infty}^{-\infty}\Bigl(1+\frac{z}{t-z}\Bigr)e^{-t^2} dt\\
 & =\frac{\phi}{z}+2z-2z\phi\\
 & =\frac{\phi}{z}+2z(1-\phi) \\
  &\boldsymbol{\therefore} & \phi' &=\Bigl(\frac{1}{z}-2z\Bigr)\phi+2z


enter image description here

  • Thanks! Can you explain the last line, &\boldsymbol{\therefore} & \phi' &=\Bigl(\frac{1}{z}-2z\Bigr)\phi+2z , please? I'm not sure what each & means.
    – Septacle
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:48
  • @Septacle. Oh! yes, naturally. An aligned environment, with several alignment points, is organised in columns. Inside each column, the alignment point is specified by a &, and each column (except the first, which doesn't need it) is introcuced by another &. So nalignment points requires 2n – 1 &. So the theredore (in its bod version) is aligned with the = signs, and in the final formula $\phi'=.\cdots$ (which is is in the 2nd column), the = i aligned with the beginning of the comment 4 lines above, so that it looks approximately centred and is more visible as a conclusion.
    – Bernard
    Feb 13, 2018 at 10:12

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