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[LaTeX] Delimiters

category: Writing | course: LaTeX Math | difficulty:
IN PRINT
QUICK CONTENTS:Intro
1. Custom Sizes

Lots of mathematical formulas have their components grouped, or have a useful shorthand notation that requires a part to be enclosed within so-called delimiters. The regular symbols, such as parentheses ( () ) and braces ( {} ) work, but don’t scale with the equation – a fraction, for example, is much taller than the symbols surrounding it, which looks ugly and messy.

To solve this, LaTeX provides the \left and \right commands. These need to be used together, always, and both need a certain delimiter right after it. In between them, you are allowed to use as many \middle commands with delimiters as you like. The possibilities are:

Left

Right

Description

Common Use

(

)

Regular parentheses

Grouping equations

[

]

Regular brackets

Alternative to grouping equations

\{

\}

Regular braces

Denoting sets

\langle

\rangle

Arrows

Intervals or dot products

|

|

Vertical lines

Determinant or absolute value

\|

\|

Double vertical lines

Norm

.

.

Empty delimiter

Displays nothing

\lfloor

\rfloor

Box with open top and gap in bottom side

Rounding a number down

\lceil

\rceil

Box with open bottom and gap in top side

Rounding a number up

\ulcorner

\urcorner

Smaller version of the previous command

Rounding a number

\begin{equation*}
    \left( \frac{2}{3} \right)
\end{equation*}
\begin{equation*}
     \left| x+y \right|
\end{equation*}
\begin{equation*}
    \left\{ x \in \mathbb{R}^3 \middle| x \not= 2 \right\}
\end{equation*}
LatexMathDelimiters

Custom Sizes

If you’re not satisfied with LaTeX stretching your delimiters to the correct length automatically, you can use the special symbol-sizing commands:

Command

Description

\big

Slightly bigger than normal

\Big

Even bigger

\bigg

Even bigger

\Bigg

Biggest

These also work for most other symbols, which you’ll learn in a later chapter. Note that these should be used instead of the \left and \right commands.

\begin{equation*}
    %Yes, this looks awful, it's just for demonstrative purposes
    \Bigg( \frac{2}{3} \big)
\end{equation*}
LatexMathDelimiterSizing
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