[texhax] page layout (breaking) techniques (was Re: orphaned sentence)

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Oct 10 13:53:37 CEST 2007

On Oct 10, 2007, at 6:15 AM, Bert Trüger wrote:

> i have searched the Typo-L mailing list but couldn't find your list of
> manual adjustments. William, would you mind sending it to me / or  
> the list.

Here's the link:


And to foster discussion, the message in its entirety (slightly  
cleaned up w/ some text added):

---------------------- begin TYPO-L message ----------------------
Subject: page layout (breaking) techniques
From: William Adams <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 21:54:38 -0400

I posted this to a rather active discussion on comp.text.tex---for some
reason conversation came to an abrupt hault... I seem to recall having
done something similar in a discussion on comp.publish.prepres (or
maybe it was alt.publish.books... whatever)

Have I really learned all that is learnable on this subject? Do the
basic mechanics of page typography really devolve to so little (or is
it much?)

I ask because I'm currently working on a largish project which is now
critical enough it's starting to affect tempers other than my own here
at work, and if I could eke out even an iota's improvement, that'd be
very welcome.

Subject: page breaking techniques (was Re: License of TeX?)
Date: 23 Aug 2003 03:15:12 GMT

My take on this is that page breaks have to take into account an entire
chapter---if one is doing a book which opens on any page, well, I've on
occasion gone back and re-run a previous chapter to change the opener
of a chapter to tweak a figure placement early on, so ideally for such
books, one wants to consider the entire text.

Here's a description of the technique I'm using at work on my current

   - style the entire chapter, setting the macros appropriately for
anything which doesn't match w/ what the author did. Fix overly wide,
or poorly hyphenated paragraphs at need.

---------------------- added text ----------------------------------
----this includes placing all graphics / figures as floats / in-line
--------------------- end added text -------------------------------

   - flip backwards to the beginning, noting if anything is awkward - if
not, you're done (I think this has happened once for a previous project)

   - make notes on awkward pages and good pages / spreads, esp. noting
bad figure placement

   - from the beginning, adjust to get nice spreads w/ good figure
placement by strategically running spreads long / short (but only
adjusting one increment at a time, so a short spread doesn't back
a long or vice-versa), adjusting paragraph length w/ \looseness,
figure / table placement, creating figure pages at need,
space above heads and around tables and figures &c.

   - if one runs into an intractable problem, back up and try a  
set of long / short and other tweaks---possibly try running the entire
chapter long / short.

   - flip through making sure that no hyphenated words appear at the end
of a recto.

   - as a last resort, adjust leading on pages which can't be made to
come out any other way.

I think I've described this previously here, and asked if anyone could
suggest any improvements....

Anyone? Anything I forgot?


(who has been proselytizing to John Plaice that his multi-dimensional
approach to typography should provide a data structure to enable such a
page-breaking algorithm....)

------------------------ end TYPO-L message ----------------------

I suppose I should enlarge upon this and write it up as an article  
for TUGboat (sometime after I finish up the font specimen article  
I've been working at on/off (mostly off) for Practical TeX....


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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