[Tex/LaTex] When should we use \begin{center} instead of \centering

horizontal alignment

After reading this question Should I use center or centering for figures?, I want to know the answer of the following.

When should we use \begin{center} instead of \centering?

For example, should we use this one?

<other contents>

or this one?

<other contents>

Best Answer

First of all, \centering needs a \par (or an empty line) before the closing brace


Usually it's used inside some environment that provides the necessary \par, such as minipage or figure. Try

abc{\centering def}ghi

to see the effect.

The main difference with center is that \centering doesn't leave vertical space before and after it: \begin{center} is defined in terms of trivlist.

\def\center{\trivlist \centering\item\relax}

Note that it's an error to use


because this will last “forever” (up to the end of the current group, anyway). The command exists just as a side effect of the existence of the center environment.