[texhax] Line width and 66 characters per line

Peter Wilson herries.press at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 27 20:49:01 CEST 2014

The traditional length of a line was between 60 and 70 characters (see 
Robert Bringhurst, `The Elements of Typographic Style', Hartley & Marks 
--- my typographic bible).  My `A Few Notes on Book Design' (texdoc 
memdesign) discusses this; there is also further information in the 
memoir manual (texdoc memman). The ideal length of a line is one which 
is easy to read but this must be balanced with the number of columns, 
the width of the page and the page margins to get a harmonious looking 

Peter W.

On 27/08/14 16:25, Hefferon, James S. wrote:
> I've often heard that when laying out a document we should try to set the line length so the number of characters per line comes out close to 66.  For each of the entries on the page with fonts having LaTeX math support http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/mathfonts.html I produced a sample document using that font. Each has its line width set so that with this font, lines average 66 characters.
> But these graphics all look way too narrow to me.   In particular, I note that the Computer Modern Roman line width I found of a bit less than 300pt is a lot less than the default LaTeX line width or 345pt, which looks about right to me.  So that folks can see what I mean without making an overlong post here I put up a temporary page at http://joshua.smcvt.edu/linewidth .  It has graphics of all the font samples and some more explanation of what I did.
> I'd be grateful for opinions: Do the samples all look too narrow to others? Or is my judgement just not good?  (Of course, I apologize if this is widely known.  I've not heard it discussed before but I may have just missed it.  I also apologize if I've got something wrong, and if so I'd appreciate being corrected.)
> Thank you,
> Jim Hefferon
> ---------------------------------------------------
> He's had a rough summer.
>                      -- Theresa Lisbon
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