# [texhax] value of \baselineskip in LaTeX

Uwe Lueck uwe.lueck at web.de
Sat Jun 25 11:51:30 CEST 2011

"Vafa Ariobarzanes Khalighi" <vafa018 at gmail.com> wrote 25.06.2011 04:11:34:
> Does LaTeX have some algorithm to calculate the right value for \baselineskip
> based on the used font

Of course not, because in general one font is scaled for varying sizes,
Rather, when you load a font, you name the size that you want to use it for.
So at best, there could be a mechanism to choose an approptiate
baseline skip for that size. But this is, in the first instance,
a matter of design, of art, or of the "house style" of a publishing company
or a journal (the baseline skips being part of the "corporate identity").

Plain TeX tries to do ensure a "minimum" baseline skip at least,
based on the preset values of \lineskip and \lineskiplimit, TeXbook p. 78,
but this may not really be "appropriate" according to good taste,
and it can be overridden, and sometimes this is done deliberately indeed,
for composing something. (You could produce wonderful patterns
of unreadable text by overlapping lines, just to express overwhelmedness
by the myriads of lines that have ever been printed or even will be printed,
or I am just writing.)

> or this should be done manually?

At least LaTeX provides \fontsize for declaring font size and baselineskip
with a single command. The standard classes define the font commands
\normalsize, \small, \footnotesize, ... using \fontsize. So they choose
pairs of font sizes and baseline skips, just some choices the authors of
LaTeX considered appropriate, I don't know why (LaTeX's corporate identity).

Cheers,

Uwe.