I have an equation for which I would like the sign to be aligned with the numerator without being a part of it. As a rough example,

\[ - \frac{\sqrt{3q\times r^2}}{y \times z} \]


fraction with minus sign aligned with middle of fraction

but I would prefer

fraction with minus sign aligned with numerator

Rationale: While, in the example above, the default layout is actually better, in my actual document the relevant fraction is coming after a new line and the minus sign is easy to miss. Moving it up to the level of the numerator would make it more conspicuous.

  • 2
    \frac{-\sqrt{3q\times r^2}}{y \times z} is more mathematically true. – JouleV Feb 18 at 10:39
  • @JouleV Absolutely! Unfortunately, my example above is meant to be indicative of my problem without containing too much unecessary clutter, and (while a good representation of the question I'm asking) is maybe not a good representation of my actual maths. – owjburnham Feb 18 at 10:42
  • 2
    @JouleV more mathematically true? What does that mean? – JPi Feb 18 at 13:12
  • @JPi I meant that it is true and the OP's is false. But as the OP wants to have the wrong one, I said "more mathematically true". – JouleV Feb 18 at 13:22
  • @JouleV I agree with you in the example I gave. For what it’s worth, my imagined use case was (very roughly) a/b - x/y. In that case, I’d imagine that a/b -x/y (with the sign as part of the numerator) might risk looking like a/b times -x/y. I don’t know whether, in that case, you would agree? – owjburnham Feb 18 at 13:33

I disagree with your rationale.

Anyway, the customer's always right. ;-)

Load mathtools and do

\hphantom{-}\frac{\mathmakebox[0pt][r]{-}\sqrt{3q\times r^2}}{y\times z}

enter image description here

There is a shorthand for \mathmakebox[0pt][r]{...}, namely \mathllap{...}.

  • 2
    thanks for help me to know about the tag \mathmakebox... – MadyYuvi Feb 18 at 11:03
  • Following JouleV's comment ( tex.stackexchange.com/questions/475470/… ), I also began to disagree with my own rationale (in the particular case in which I was asking the question). But I figured that the question was worth letting stand for future benefit ;-) Thanks for the solution. – owjburnham Feb 18 at 11:04
  • 2
    simpler code: \mathllap{-} instead of \mathmakebox – daleif Feb 18 at 14:30
  • @barbarabeeton the only thing I'm replacing in egregs code is \mathmakebox[0pt]{r}{-} the rest is the same including the hphantom. – daleif Feb 18 at 16:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.