Setting Bracket Clearance Spacing in the Equation Editor

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 26, 2013)


Mathematical equations can get complex, at times, and they often use exotic symbols to express relationships between portions of the equation. For instance, it is not uncommon to use brackets within an equation. The Equation Editor allows you to control the clearance between the equation and the overhangs of the square brackets surrounding the equation. These square brackets are sometimes referred to as fences. Setting this clearance value is done as follows:

  1. Choose Spacing from the Format menu. The Equation Editor displays the Spacing dialog box.
  2. Click on the Fence overhang box (you will need to scroll down some in the list of spacing settings). The Equation Editor changes the Spacing dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spacing dialog box.

  4. Enter a clearance value in points.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (946) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is five less than 8?

2015-11-03 20:57:48


A workaround for Word 2010 Equation Editor.

Use a vertical 3 row Matrix placeholder inside your brackets. Put your expression in the middle placeholder and hide the empty placeholders.

The over sized expression will be inside larger brackets.

2014-04-17 07:41:06


You are right. Notice that this article is for older versions of Word, up through Word 2003. It will work for those versions (as stated).

The Equation Editor, as talked about here, was done away with in later versions of Word.


2014-04-16 23:37:06

Frustrated User

This is a great article, except that there is absolutely no "Spacing" option on the Format ribbon in Word 2013.

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