# Aligning an equation at multiple places

I want to align an equation at two places, and I have a code segment that looks like this:

\documentclass[a4paper]{paper}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{amsthm}

\begin{document}

\begin{alignat*}{2}
g_P^x &= 3x_P^2 + a, \quad g_P^y &&= -2y_P, \\
v_P &= 2g_P^x, \quad u_P &&= (g_P^y)^2, \\
v &= \sum_{P \in G^+} v_P, \quad w &&= \sum_{P \in G^+} u_P + x_Pv_P.
\end{alignat*}

\end{document}


And this works to a certain extend, but there is a big gap between u_P and the equal sign. How can I get it closer to the equal sign so it is aligned with the stuff above and below it?

• Why &&? Try putting the extra & before g_P, u_P, and w. – Phelype Oleinik Mar 10 '18 at 19:00
• Because I thought, the first alignment point should be specified with & and the second one with &&. Can you write as answer, what you mean? – pixel Mar 10 '18 at 19:01
• No, each & is an alignment point, just like in tables. Put an & before g_P, u_P, and w to align them too. – Phelype Oleinik Mar 10 '18 at 19:03
• @PhelypeOleinik: I don't interpret &s like that: the first one introduces a new column of alignment,, and the second one marks the alignment point inside this column. – Bernard Mar 10 '18 at 19:06
• @Bernard Hmmm... I didn't know that. Looking at your answer, it makes total sense. +1 :) – Phelype Oleinik Mar 10 '18 at 19:30

You must understand that in an align(at) environment with multiple alignment points, each even order & introduces a new column of alignment, and each odd order & marks the alignment point inside its column . That's why n alignment points require 2n-1 &s.

Applying this rule, and using the \smashoperator command from mathtools to improve the layout of big operators with wide sub/superscripts, you get this code (note you need only one \qquad in a well-chosen row):

\documentclass[a4paper]{paper}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{mathtools}

\begin{document}

\begin{alignat*}{2}
g_P^x &= 3x_P^2 + a, &\qquad g_P^y&= -2y_P, \\
v_P &= 2g_P^x, & u_P &= (g_P^y)^2, \\
v &= \smashoperator{\sum_{P \in G^+}} v_P, & w&= \smashoperator{\sum_{P \in G^+}} u_P + x_Pv_P.
\end{alignat*}

\end{document}