Not a question about LaTeX per se, but more about typographical norms. I've decided to ask here anyway, because I typeset all my math using LaTeX.

I have a bunch of inline equations inside an enumerate list, like this

\item $a=b+c$
\item $c=d+e+f+g$
\item $f(x)=g(x)-ax^2$

What are some of the common guidelines for (manually) spacing such sets of equations horizontally, in an aesthetically pleasing way? I'm not really interested in having the equal signs line up or anything fancy like that. Besides, using amsmath's align environment is out of the question anyway, because that doesn't work across the \item lines.

By the way, I just realized that this is basically equivalent to typesetting lines of poetry, which also have variable lengths and which also aren't supposed to be flush left (in general).

Any insights much appreciated, and if someone can think up a way of letting LaTeX do this automatically after all, be my guest.

Edit: The enumerate environment really is necessary, because I sometimes have long stretches of text between the equations; more than the \text command in math mode can handle anyway.

  • 2
    personally I'd do it as you have it, or (depending on the context) set the whole thing as an align not as an enumerate with left equation numbers instead of the enumerate labels. I would never "manually" adjust horizontal position, that way lies pain:-) Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:13
  • 1
    \intertext can take paragraphs of text between the equations, should you use align rather than enumerate. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:15
  • also I don't understand your comment about poetry, most poems are set flush left aren't they? (perhaps with a large left margin but the left margin is usually straight) Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:17
  • I meant to say that each poem in a book of poems seems to have a different sized left margin (depending on its longest line perhaps). I'm curious how this margin is calculated (or maybe merely eyeballed). Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:20
  • 1
    probably done by eye in some books but centering on longest row is also easily done (and of course that is exactly the default arrangement of align) Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Just for fun. Note that every second & expands like \hfill, so I used a \rule to push the equations more to the left.

\usepackage{showframe}% debugging tool
\quad\bullet&& a&=b+c &\rule{0.6\textwidth}{0pt}\\% trial and error
\quad\bullet&& c&=d+e+f+g\\
\quad\bullet&& f(x)&=g(x)-ax^2\\


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