[OS X TeX] Vertical alignment

Don Green Dragon fergdc at Shaw.ca
Tue Apr 19 02:17:36 CEST 2011

HI All,

I use TeXShop to create source files, then typeset with LaTeX.

Often I'm bedeviled with LaTeX placing far too much or too little vertical whitespace on a page -- in my opinion.

At the bottom of a page:
========================
Often there will be one or two lines hanging at the bottom of a page, and they simply have to be pushed to the next page. As a last resort, \newpage is envoked but because that is such a poor solution, I mark each such line within something like:

\newpage	% DANGER!!!!

Upon revision, those \newpage's are sure to cause unwanted page breaks, although they are easy to spot.

A somewhat better --- perhaps worse --- solution is too add vertical whitespace with \vspace{24pt}, and similar ilk, but such insertions can be harder to spot on subsequent revisions where they create whitespace gaps which are undesirable and have to be rooted out. Sometimes, I'll pad the paragraph above with extra lines which may solve the formatting problem, but throwing in extra words is less than a blessing.

From the way it behaves, when I'm trying to finesse at the bottom of a page, I suspect that LaTeX is trying to keep the height of each page the same, or close to the same. Is there some "rubber" length that one can redefine so that LaTeX is not so picky about each page being of the exact same height?

How do other writers handle this bottom-of-the-page problem?

Near the top of a page:
=======================
Sometimes when I use \begin{align} or  or ..... LaTeX places an absurd amount of whitespace above or possibly below, or possibly both. Too often I end up with stuff like

\ \\[-36pt]

to pull the following lines up and close a whitespace gap. Of course, a page break in an unexpected place can play havoc with such a solution. I'm wondering if there is a better way!

Don Green Dragon
fergdc at Shaw.ca