How to write a perfect equation parameters description?

Equation's symbols or parameters description are shown below, however, the = and the details of parameter are not aligned. I want to make a parameters list for a equation like this, in which symbols, = and detail information are aligned in terms of vertical position.

where
...
P   =   notional permeability factor
N   =   number of waves
Sd  =   damage level
...

A tabular environment will produce more spacing before and after text. So how to make the = vertical aligned?

The codes is provided:

\begin{equation}
\frac{H_s}{\Delta D_{n50} } = 1.0~ P^{0.13}~ \left(\frac{S_d}{N} \right)^{0.2} \xi_m^P~ \sqrt{\cot \alpha}
\end{equation}
where:

$H_s$ = significant wave height, equal to the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves

$\Delta$  = relative buoyant density, equal to $\rho_r / \rho_w - 1$, where     $\rho_w$ is the water density

$D_{n50}$ = nominal  diameter defined in Equation (2)

$P$ = notional permeability factor

$S_d$ = damage level

$N$ = number of waves

$\xi_m$ = breaker parameter based on mean wave period $T_m$

$\alpha$ = slope angle
• There is a package for that: nomencl. Actually two I know of: nomentbl. Or you could even try glossaries. It really depends on how much effort you are willing to invest (i.e. writing a book vs short paper). – Count Zero Jan 29 '13 at 10:34
• I'd just use align* and \text for the stuff after the = – daleif Jan 29 '13 at 10:34
• @daleif, but how to align = in a fixed vertical position – KOF Jan 29 '13 at 10:37
• Not understood, don't you know align? &= – daleif Jan 29 '13 at 11:13
• @Count Zero what is the advantage of using Glossaries? I thought this is only use at the end of the book. Please correct me if wrong. – Jose Enrique Calderon May 24 at 21:05

Define your own environment for this; here I realize it as a two column alignment; the first column is typeset in math mode, the second one in text mode; the = is added automatically, with the correct spacing.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array}

\newenvironment{conditions}
{\par\vspace{\abovedisplayskip}\noindent\begin{tabular}{>{$}l<{$} @{${}={}$} l}}
{\end{tabular}\par\vspace{\belowdisplayskip}}

\begin{document}
An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
where:
\begin{conditions}
P     &  notional permeability factor \\
N     &  number of waves \\
S_{d} &  damage level
\end{conditions}

\end{document} If your conditions are overlong, then you can use a different environment, that I call conditions*, based on tabularx:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array,tabularx}

\newenvironment{conditions*}
{\par\vspace{\abovedisplayskip}\noindent
\tabularx{\columnwidth}{>{$}l<{$} @{${}={}$} >{\raggedright\arraybackslash}X}}
{\endtabularx\par\vspace{\belowdisplayskip}}

\begin{document}
An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
where:
\begin{conditions*}
P    &  notional permeability factor and something
longer that needs to be taken at the next line\\
N     &  number of waves \\
S_{d} &  damage level
\end{conditions*}

\end{document} Variant for variable symbols

If different symbols are needed instead of = in each line, here's how.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array,tabularx}

\newenvironment{conditions}
{\par\vspace{\abovedisplayskip}\noindent
\begin{tabular}{>{$}l<{$} @{} >{${}}c<{{}$} @{} l}}
{\end{tabular}\par\vspace{\belowdisplayskip}}

\newenvironment{conditions*}
{\par\vspace{\abovedisplayskip}\noindent
\tabularx{\columnwidth}{>{$}l<{$} @{}>{${}}c<{{}$}@{} >{\raggedright\arraybackslash}X}}
{\endtabularx\par\vspace{\belowdisplayskip}}

\begin{document}
An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
where:
\begin{conditions}
P     & =       &  notional permeability factor \\
N     & \sim    &  number of waves \\
S_{d} & \propto & damage level
\end{conditions}

An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
where:
\begin{conditions*}
P     & =       & notional permeability factor and something
longer that needs to be taken at the next line\\
N     & \sim    & number of waves \\
S_{d} & \propto & damage level
\end{conditions*}

\end{document} In order to have no break after “where:”, here's a variant of the first solution:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array}

\newenvironment{conditions}[where:]
{#1 \begin{tabular}[t]{>{$}l<{$} @{${}={}$} l}}
{\end{tabular}\\[\belowdisplayskip]}

\begin{document}
An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
\begin{conditions}
P     &  notional permeability factor \\
N     &  number of waves \\
S_{d} &  damage level
\end{conditions}
Some text after the equation.

\end{document}

The conditions environment has an optional argument for changing the fixed where:; so, for instance, \begin{conditions}[with:] will use “with:”. A different version that allows for longer descriptions that needs to be wrapped across lines:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array,tabularx,calc}

\newlength{\conditionwd}
\newenvironment{conditions}[where:]
{%
#1\tabularx{\textwidth-\widthof{#1}}[t]{
>{$}l<{$} @{${}={}$} X@{}
}%
}
{\endtabularx\\[\belowdisplayskip]}

\begin{document}
An equation just to start
\begin{equation}
P+N=S_{d}
\end{equation}
\begin{conditions}
P     &  notional permeability factor with some more text
so this ends up to break across lines blah blah
blah blah\\
N     &  number of waves \\
S_{d} &  damage level
\end{conditions}
Some text after the equation.

\end{document} • The \noindent is a little bit right aligned, when using \indent it has more spacing compared to the original \indent value. – KOF Jan 29 '13 at 13:54
• I did it on purpose; if you want to have the same indentation, add @{\hspace{\parindent}} at the start of the argument to tabular (or tabularx): \begin{tabular}{@{\hspace{\parindent}>{}l...} – egreg Jan 29 '13 at 14:17 • Besides, how to make the line spacing same as the text line spacing? – KOF Jan 29 '13 at 15:14 • @KOF It is the same line spacing as in the text. – egreg Jan 29 '13 at 15:17 • @Fiztban I added it. – egreg Jan 29 '15 at 13:05 As daleif suggested you could use the align* environment. You get the alignment just like in tables with '&'. Here is an example: \documentclass{article} \usepackage[fleqn]{amsmath} \begin{document} \begin{align*} H_s &= \text{significant wave height, equal to the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves}\\ \Delta &= \text{relative buoyant density, equal to }\rho_r\text{ / }\rho_w - 1\text{, where }\rho_w\text{ is the water density}\\ D_{n50} &= \text{nominal diameter defined in Equation \eqref{eq:dn50g50}}\\ P &= \text{notional permeability factor}\\ S_d &= \text{damage level}\\ N &= \text{number of waves}\\ \xi_m &= \text{breaker parameter based on mean wave period }T_m\\ \alpha &= \text{slope angle} \end{align*} \end{document} This should work for you. This is the output: If you don't want all equations to be aligned left, you can use the flalign* environment, like suggested here. • thanks Dave, the symbols should be \flushleft though – KOF Jan 29 '13 at 11:30 Another option is to use the tabbing environmnent: \begin{equation} \frac{H_s}{\Delta D_{n50} } = 1.0~ P^{0.13}~ \left( \frac{S_d}{N} \right)^{0.2} \xi_m^P~ \sqrt{\cot \alpha} \end{equation} where: \begin{tabbing} \phantom{D_{n50}\ $}\= \kill$H_s$\> = significant wave height, equal to the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves\\$\Delta$\> = relative buoyant density, equal to$\rho_r / \rho_w - 1$, where$\rho_w$is the water density\\$D_{n50}$\> = nominal diameter defined in Equation \eqref{eq:dn50g50}\\$P$\> = notional permeability factor\\$S_d$\> = damage level\\$N$\> = number of waves\\$\xi_m$\> = breaker parameter based on mean wave period$T_m$\\$\alpha$\> = slope angle\\ \end{tabbing} The first line in the tabbing environment will set the spacing (i.e. tabstop). The \kill command suppresses the line it precedes, otherwise you would have an extra space between 'where:' and the first definition. Alternatively, instead of \phantom{$D_{n50}\ } (the longest item on your list), you can use a fixed width: \hspace{3cm}. I think you can try fairly easy to use alignat environment: \documentclass{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \begin{document} \begin{alignat*}{3} &A &= &e^{\pi} \\ &AB &= &\sqrt{x} \\ &ABC &= & \text{An equation with three letters on the left!} \end{alignat*} \end{document} Resulting in • Note that the spaces around the = sign are much too small. – Hendrik Vogt Jan 29 '13 at 11:25 • @HendrikVogt, You are right! I noticed and searched for the reason. Based on this answer, alignat doesn't add space between the columns. – Pouya Jan 29 '13 at 11:33 • Just write &{}={}& instead af &=& each time to fix the spacing. – Andrew Swann Feb 6 '13 at 11:03 When I've faced this problem, I wrote the package eqexpl (since 14 Nov 2018 it is available on CTAN). With it you could add in preamble \usepackage{eqexpl} \eqexplSetIntro{where:} % set parenthesis in the left of the first item \eqexplSetDelim{=} % set delimiter to "=" and then in document \begin{eqexpl} \item{P} notional permeability factor \item{N} number of waves \item{S_d$} damage level \end{eqexpl} With this in preamble \usepackage{eqexpl} \eqexplSetDelim{=} and this in the document \begin{eqexpl}[25mm] \item{$H_s$} significant wave height, equal to the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves \item{$\Delta$} relative buoyant density, equal to$\rho_r / \rho_w - 1$, where$\rho_w$is the water density \item{$D_{n50}$} nominal diameter defined in Equation (2) \end{eqexpl} you'll get • The eqexpl package is already included in texlive 2016? – KOF Apr 9 '17 at 1:59 • No. I've finished it just a month ago. – Konstantin Morenko Apr 9 '17 at 5:16 • As of today (14/Nov/2018), the package is now available from CTAN – Krishna Nov 14 '18 at 15:56 In this case, where there are lots of text on the right, tabular with symbol separation would have been sufficient (and simpler): \begin{tabular}{l @{$=$} l}$P$& notional permeability factor\\$N$& number of waves\\$S_d$& damage level \\$f(x,y,z)$& distribution \end{tabular} Resulting in It should be possible to replace @{$=\$ } with !{=} since the ! adds space before and after the separator but I can't get it work.

Ps: thanks to siteduzero.com