Different equations have different lengths, so when I use the align environment, their columns don't line up. How do I get a particular column across different equations to line up? Specifically I want to do this to line up steps between separated by sentences.

What I have now is something like

stuff &= stuff &(1)
As you can see, stuff clearly equals stuff.
long stuff &= long stuff &(2)
And at this step, we derive long stuff equals long stuff.

In this instance you can see the "(1)" and the "(2)" don't line up even though I want them to. Nope, don't tell me to put the text inside of the equations themselves because that gives me less flexibility and changes their style, I have it set up exactly as I want except where the labels for the steps don't align.

  • I think the correct thing to do is to use \intertext{} or \shortintertext{} (assuming you load mathtools. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "less flexibility and changes their style"? Also, are (1) and (2) representing equation numbers? If so, you really should not be manually placing or numbering them. – Peter Grill Aug 2 '18 at 8:29
  • shortintertext just gives me an error even though the ams math package is loaded. Intertext almost works except it forces me to put the label above or below the particular step of an equation which isn't the intention. I don't really know how there could be any way to explain less flexibility, it's just a plain and simple fact that a specific align environment has less options than the entirety of latex itself, so there's no point prematurely locking text inside of an align environment and then changing all of the rest of the entire document around that one tiny detail. – John Joe Aug 2 '18 at 8:35
  • \shortintertext is defined in mathtools (an extension of amsmath. Did you load it? Also,, how many ‘columns’ of alignment do you want to have? – Bernard Aug 2 '18 at 8:58
  • Well the default should be 3 columns, but as you can see from the text I only use 2 with the steps. – John Joe Aug 2 '18 at 16:47
  • the reason that (1) and (2) don't line up is that they are not within the same align environment. each align environment is processed separately. (and that's another reason why someone else already asked if (1) and (2) were meant to be equation numbers.) – barbara beeton Aug 3 '18 at 18:56

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