[texhax] could someone give me an explanation as to why fontsize fails with an overfull box

Carlos linguafalsa at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 02:53:06 CET 2019

On Sat, Jan 26, 2019 at 10:48:48PM +0000, Peter Flynn wrote:
>On 26/01/2019 13:19, Carlos wrote:
>> Peter, thank you for your timely response in breaking down the
>> explanation for me... I was going to reply earlier, but I got caught up
>> in a few errands and now I'm getting an error with the same file but
>> running under plain TeX- admittedly thankfully to the DVI previewer, or
>> else I wouldn't have noticed it. The error came  with the following lines
>> xdvi: File corrupted (will try to reload) ...
>> xdvi: File reloaded.
>I haven't used xdvi for many years but I think that is purely
>incidental, caused by xdvi trying to re-read the document to update the
>display, and accidentally accessing the file while it was being written.
>I think you can ignore it.

Hello Peter. Perhaps it was just incidental.

>> The two plain TeX files have the same contents.
>Then they will produce identical results. If the results are not
>identical, then the files are not the same. You can test this with the
>diff and file commands.

I would have expected plain TeX to return after \tracingall a similar

>> But putting aside the above, and going by the plain TeX file in
>> question, what I currently have is
>> \tracingall
>> \hsize=-2in
>What is a negative \hsize for?

I would have expected plain TeX to have different output results from
the log files. But you're correct. In both instances there are
\overfull boxes all over, regardless whether the \hsize is set to
negative values or not, and not \underfull boxes, as I wrongly assumed
it would have been the case with a negative value in place.

take care Peter.

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