[OS X TeX] Minipages and altering \mathindent

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Thu Apr 5 05:51:44 CEST 2012

Hi Don,

On 05/04/2012, at 1:37 PM, Don Green Dragon wrote:

> Hi All,
> In an attempt to place three minipages on a single line, I was thwarted by the large indent that the environment 
> \begin{align*} ... \end{align*}
> imposes. So I applied the command
> (A)	\setlength{\mathindent}{0pt}
> and subsequently matters worked out nicely. However, I did not want to maintain the setting (A) since that could interfere with who know what, so I commented (A) out and issued
> (B)	\the\mathindent
> and the reply from (B) was
> (C)	39.37506pt minus 39.37506pt
> Therefore, after the minipage code I reset with
> (D)	\setlength{\mathindent}{39.37506pt}

Just do:

    \setlength{\mathindent}{39.37506pt minus 39.37506pt}

> However, upon reissuing the command in (B) the response was
> (E)	39.37506pt
> which differs from response (C). Is the difference significant?

Yes, it is.

> I don't really understand reply (C).

The length need not be exact, but apply to a whole range
of possible values.

   39.37506pt minus 39.37506pt

means the range from  0 to 39.37506pt  as required,
but favouring the longer end.

So an indent of 39.37506pt  is used, unless the contents
of the environment doesn't allow this much, in which case
it will be less, but as much as is needed to still fit the page.

Only when the amount of room is negative --- that is, the
contents are just way too wide, does TeX start to complain.

Many lengths in (La)TeX are such "rubber lengths".

> Don Green Dragon
> fergdc at Shaw.ca

Hope this helps,


Ross Moore                                       ross.moore at mq.edu.au 
Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-419      
Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8114

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