[texhax] Line width and 66 characters per line

Ron RJF Fehd ron.fehd.macro.maven at gmail.com
Thu Aug 28 00:22:15 CEST 2014

> Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:25:04 +0000
> From: "Hefferon, James S." <jhefferon at smcvt.edu>
> Subject: [texhax] Line width and 66 characters per line

> 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.

The documentation for the Reference Manual classes, refart and refrep,
mention this issue.


A google of the term: maximum characters per line
returns values from 45--75.

The Line Length Misconception


I really must find my high-school manual on
Learning to Type;
I am sure there were recommendations from the 1950s
about how many characters for pica and elite.

Anyway wikipedia has what I remember


Somewhere I remember reading of a way to calculate
the width, in measurement units, such as inches, cm, etc,
by multiplying phi=1.618 times the width of an alphabet in the font size
under consideration.

Over the years, I have seen the dialog shift from typewritten pages, thru
newspaper column width, to books, recently on-line presentation via html,
and today, the tiny screens on mobile devices.
The range is 35--95.
There seems to be as much dislike for both narrow and wide,
so, it seems to me, that the choice
is really up to the publisher's sense of esthetics.

Off-topic comment
In my programming, I stick to a maximum width of 72 characters per line,
which is not hard, since I also state to begin a statement on a newline.

Ron Fehd  RefManual class user in Atlanta GA
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