Is there a convenient way to typeset the floor or ceiling of a number, without needing to separately code the left and right parts? For example, is there some way to do $\ceil{x}$ instead of $\lceil x \rceil$?


3 Answers 3


The command \ceil will do; if called as \ceil*{x} it will add \left and \right; you can also call it as

\ceil[\big]{x} \ceil[\Big]{x} \ceil[\bigg]{x} \ceil[\Bigg]{x}

to state explicitly the size of the delimiters.

  • 34
    Even after more than 10 years of LaTeXing one still learns some new tricks!
    – yo'
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:32
  • 24
    Don't tell me! I learn new tricks even after 25 years!
    – egreg
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:34
  • 1
    @jamaicanworm There is, I believe also on this site. But I won't tell you: use \left and \right only when they are really needed.
    – egreg
    Apr 21, 2012 at 17:50
  • 2
    @jamaicanworm Swap definition of starred and non-starred command discusses switching the starred with non-starred version. Nov 11, 2012 at 1:36
  • 10
    To typeset the floor function, just replace "ceil" with "floor". This may be obvious, but it might save you the trouble of consulting documentation. Sep 30, 2013 at 7:19

Here is a simple xparse implementation of \ceil, similar to that provided by mathtools' \DeclarePairedDelimiter:

xparse implementation of \ceil

\usepackage{xparse}% http://ctan.org/pkg/xparse
\NewDocumentCommand{\ceil}{s O{} m}{%
  \IfBooleanTF{#1} % starred
    {\left\lceil#3\right\rceil} % \ceil*[..]{..}
    {#2\lceil#3#2\rceil} % \ceil[..]{..}
\[\ceil[\big]{x} \quad \ceil[\Big]{x} \quad \ceil[\bigg]{x} \quad \ceil[\Bigg]{x} \quad \ceil*[\big]{\frac{1}{2}}\]

The optional argument is ignored in the starred version of \ceil*[..]{..}.

  • 4
    You could eliminate the \IfNoValueTF {\lceil#3\rceil} if you used {s O{} m}. Then the second arg #2 will be defined so only need #2\lceil#3#2\rceil. Jan 25, 2012 at 18:29

You can define your command with a simple single line as follow:

\newcommand{\ceil}[1]{\lceil {#1} \rceil}

The above command definition tells that your command takes one input [1] and uses that input between the predefined commands \lceil and \rceil via {#1}

Hope it helps.

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