# How do I put a side brace around several lines in the align* environment?

I would like to put a side brace around several lines in the align* environment, as shown in the comments in the code below:

\begin{align*}
left side & = right side \\
left side & = right side \\  %   }
left side & = right side \\  %   }-  these three lines are important
left side & = right side \\  %   }
left side & = right side \\
\end{align*}

• You can try the cases environment if the direction doesn't matter. – percusse Apr 14 '12 at 0:45

You don't need any additional packages to do this. Here's a way using a regular array:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}% http://ctan.org/pkg/amsmath
\begin{document}
\noindent
\begin{minipage}{.5\textwidth}
\begin{align*}
f(x) & = a \\
g(x) & = ax + b \\
h(x) & = ax^2 + bx + c \\
i(x) & = ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d \\
j(x) & = ax^4 + bx^3 + cx^2 + dx + e
\end{align*}
\end{minipage}%
\begin{minipage}{.5\textwidth}
$\setlength{\jot}{4.5pt} \begin{array}{r@{\;}l} f(x) & = a \\[\jot] g(x) & = ax + b \\[\jot] h(x) & = ax^2 + bx + c \hspace*{3em} \smash{\left.\begin{array}{@{}c@{}}\\[\jot]\\[\jot]\\[\jot]\end{array}\right\}} \\[\jot] i(x) & = ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d \\[\jot] j(x) & = ax^4 + bx^3 + cx^2 + dx + e \end{array}$
\end{minipage}%
\end{document}


On the left is the regular align* environment (from amsmath), while the right should an array. A zero-height 3-row array with only a right \} delimiter is added to the middle equation to group the output.

Another option, this time using blkarray:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{blkarray}% http://ctan.org/pkg/blkarray
\usepackage{amsmath}% http://ctan.org/pkg/amsmath
\begin{document}
\noindent
\begin{minipage}{.5\textwidth}
\begin{align*}
f(x) & = a \\
g(x) & = ax + b \\
h(x) & = ax^2 + bx + c \\
i(x) & = ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d \\
j(x) & = ax^4 + bx^3 + cx^2 + dx + e
\end{align*}
\end{minipage}%
\begin{minipage}{.5\textwidth}
$\def\arraystretch{1.1} \begin{blockarray}{r@{\;}l} f(x) & = a \\[\jot] \begin{block}{r@{\;}l\}} g(x) & = ax + b \\[\jot] h(x) & = ax^2 + bx + c \\[\jot] i(x) & = ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d \\[\jot] \end{block} j(x) & = ax^4 + bx^3 + cx^2 + dx + e \end{blockarray}$
\end{minipage}%
\end{document}


You may have to play around with the vertical displacement, compared to the align* environment.

• +1. In fact I was trying to do without tikzmark. nice work. – user11232 Apr 14 '12 at 2:12

There should be other ways of doing this. But I like the tikzmark way. The references are

Some part of the code is adopted with thanks from reference 1.

I have used different placements depending upon the length of your equations (you choose suitable one or find your own placement hopefully). Here is the MWE.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{decorations.pathreplacing,calc}
\usepackage[showframe]{geometry} % to show the frame
%
\newcommand{\tikzmark}[1]{\tikz[overlay,remember picture] \node (#1) {};}
%
\begin{document}
\hfill\tikzmark{right}
\begin{align*}
left side & = right side \\
left side & = right side  \tikzmark{first}\\
left side & = right side long and very long  long and very long long and very long  \\
left side & = right side  \tikzmark{second}\\
left side & = right side
\end{align*}
%
\begin{tikzpicture}[overlay, remember picture]
\draw [decoration={brace,amplitude=0.5em},decorate,ultra thick,red]
($(right)!(first.north)!($(right)-(0,1)$)$) --  ($(right)!(second.south)!($(right)-(0,1)$)$);
\end{tikzpicture}
%
\begin{align*}
left side & = right side &\\
left side & = right sideE and very long  long long  long long  long &  \tikzmark{third}\\
left side & = right side & \\
left side & = right sidee & \tikzmark{fourth}\\
left side & = right side &
\end{align*}
%
\begin{tikzpicture}[overlay, remember picture]
\draw [decoration={brace,amplitude=0.4em},decorate,ultra thick,gray]
(third.north east) --  (fourth.east);
\end{tikzpicture}
%
\begin{align*}
&& left side & = right side                      & \\
&& left side & = right sideE and very long  long long  long long  long &&  \tikzmark{fifth}\\
&& left side & = right side                      & \\
&& left side & = right sidee                     & \tikzmark{sixth}\\
&& left side & = right side                      &
\end{align*}
%
\begin{tikzpicture}[overlay, remember picture]
\draw [decoration={brace,amplitude=0.7em},decorate,ultra thick,blue]
(fifth.north east) --  (sixth.east);
\end{tikzpicture}
% The simple and using \phantom{}
\begin{align*}
left side & = right side   \\
left side & = right side bigger equation  \tikzmark{seventh}\\
left side & = right side   \\
left side & = right side \phantom{bigger equation}  \tikzmark{eigthth}\\
left side & = right side
\end{align*}
%
\begin{tikzpicture}[overlay, remember picture]
\draw [decoration={brace,amplitude=0.5em},decorate,ultra thick,magenta]
(seventh.north east) --  (eigthth.east);
\end{tikzpicture}
%
\end{document}


EDIT

As suggested by Peter Grill, one can define a macro like

\newcommand{\EmBrace}[3][]{%
\begin{tikzpicture}[overlay,remember picture]%
\draw [decoration={brace,amplitude=0.5em},decorate,ultra thick, #1] (#2) -- (#3);
\end{tikzpicture}%
}%


for marking anywhere in the document repeatedly like

\EmBrace[magenta]{seventh.north east}{eigthth.east}


If the color is not specified, black will be used by default.

EDIT-2:

Next try with an ugly hack of ams cases environment.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
%%-----------------------------------
\makeatletter
\newenvironment{rightcase}{%
\matrix@check\cases\env@cases
}{%
\endarray\right\}%
}%
\def\env@cases{%
\let\@ifnextchar\new@ifnextchar
\left.
\def\arraystretch{1.2}%
\array{@{}l@{\,\,}l@{}}%
}%
\makeatother
%%-----------------------------------
\begin{document}
%%-----------------------------------
\begin{align*}
f(x) & = x^{2} + x +10   \\
g(x) & = \\[-17pt] % Little eyeballing should help to decide this value.
f(x) + g(y)  & =  \begin{rightcase}
x^{2} + x +10 - y^{2} + y\\
x^{2} + x\\
y^{2} + 2y + 10
\end{rightcase} \\[-17pt]
g'(y) & =  \\
f(x,y) & = x^{2} + x +10 + y^{3}
\end{align*}
%%-----------------------------------
\end{document}


If the entire bunch of equations need to be covered, then empheq package must be of interest.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{empheq}
%-----------------------------------
\begin{document}
%-----------------------------------
\begin{subequations}
\begin{empheq}[right=\empheqrbrace]{align*}
a_1(x) &= b_1\\
a_2(x) &= b_2\\
a_3(x) &= b_3
\end{empheq}
\end{subequations}
%-----------------------------------
\end{document}