I want to add three braces to a xymatrix in a xypic environment. Here's how I got so far.

\documentclass[11pt]{article} % use larger type; default would be 10pt

 & A_1\POS*\frm{^\}},+U*++!D\txt{A to B} & B_2 & C_3 \POS*\frm{^\}},+U*++!D\txt{C to D} & D_4\\
 & E_5 & F_6 \POS*\frm{_\}},+U*++!D\txt{F to G} & G_7 & H_8


current output

Now there are two issues:

  1. I want the braces to span from A to B, C to D and the one at the bottom from F to G. At the moment, they only embrace a single element. How can I do this using the xymatrix [rr] syntax?

  2. I want to add the label for the bottom brace from below. At the moment, it is still displayed on top.

I appreciate any comments on this issue!

  • Welcome to TeX.sx! You don't have to sign with your name since it automatically appears in the lower right corner of your post.
    – lockstep
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 11:33
  • Please give a completely compilable example. A screenshot would also be helpful, but as you don't have enough reputation, somebody else can do that then.
    – bodo
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 11:52
  • @canaaerus: I added the package definitions required to compile. I would appreciate if anyone could make a screenshot.
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


If using another package is an option, I would suggest you to use PGF/TikZ, perhaps in combination with tikz-cd (based on TikZ and specialized to commutative diagrams); here's a little example using a matrix of math nodes and the brace decoration from the decorations.pathreplacing library:



\begin{tikzpicture}[commutative diagrams/every diagram]
\matrix[matrix of math nodes, name=m,inner xsep=0pt] 
A_1 & B_2 & C_3 & D_4 \\
E_5 & F_6 & G_7 & H_8 \\
  (m-1-1.north west) -- (m-1-2.north east) node[midway,auto] {$A$ to $B$};
  (m-1-3.north west) -- (m-1-4.north east) node[midway,auto] {$C$ to $D$};
  (m-2-2.south west) -- (m-2-3.south east) node[midway,auto,swap] {$F$ to $G$};


enter image description here

  • Thanks a lot for this. Tikz is what I'm usually using for these kinds of tasks, but I need to alter a present \xypic figure from a paper. Nevertheless, this is a pretty good example.
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 8:35

Ross Moore kindly responded to my problem in the \xypic mailing list. Here's his solution:

You can add those decorations afterwards, using the implicit names of the matrix cells. e.g.

\xymatrix "M"@C=10pt@R=20pt{
 & A_1 & B_2 & C_3 & D_4\\
 & E_5 & F_6 & G_7 & H_8
 \POS"M2,2"."M2,3"!C*\frm{^\}},+U*++!D\txt{A to B} 
 ,"M2,4"."M2,5"!C*\frm{^\}},+U*++!D\txt{C to D} 
 ,"M3,3"."M3,4"!C*\frm{_\}},+D*++!U\txt{F to G} 

output of above code

With this, you probably do not need the row-spacing to be as large as you made it ( @R=20pt ).

In the above coding below I added a name "M" for the matrix. This isn't necessary here, but would be if you wanted to draw connections between the cells of 2 or more matrices, so it is a useful technique to know about.

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