[OS X TeX] Vertical alignment

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Tue Apr 19 02:43:36 CEST 2011

Hi Don,

On 19/04/2011, at 10:17 AM, Don Green Dragon wrote:

> 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!!!!

    is often a better solution.

It results in a page-break only when the material would be near 
the bottom of the page.

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

\goodbreak  is a strong hint, without being forceful.

> 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.

Yes. So that is not a good idea.

The TeX commands  \smallskip  \medskip  \bigskip  are rubber lengths.
THese often help, in places where you think you can accept more
vertical space, but are not sure just how much.

> 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 \begin{equation} 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!

A TeX job is an optimisation problem.
Read about it all in  The TeX Book.

LaTeX tries to hide a lot of this aspect from the author.
But when you really do want fine control, it is worth knowing
a bit about how it all works.

> 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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