Bottom margin vs. descenders question
Axel E. Retif
axel.retif at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 13:04:45 CEST 2020
On 6/24/20 11:22 PM, Doug McKenna wrote:
> In "official typesetting rules" (TeX or otherwise) are descenders
> supposed to be completely above the bottom margin bounds of a page?
> Or is just the baseline of the bottom line of a full page supposed to
> conform to the margin bounds?
Typographically speaking, what matters is what the eye sees, not what
the rulers tell us.
It all starts with the individual font design (by that I mean the
different fonts even in the same typeface). If you look closely, you'll
see that round letters like «o» and «e» are really a little bit bigger
than letters like the «x». That's what we call in Spanish “la base de la
x” and in English “the x-height”. Otherwise, those round letters will
look smaller to the eye. See this illustrative page:
As I said, this applies to different fonts in the same typeface. See the
Wikipedia page for the Minion typeface:
You'll see that the italic font is really a little bit bigger than the
roman font, and even more so the swash (calligraphic) font, specially
the round letters.
Now to your question of the page: suppose one page has just one
descender (a «p», for example) align to the bottom of the page and the
confronted page has no descenders at all ---the eye will see the page
with the «p» shorter than the page with no descenders.
I have found (La)TeX maxdepth that Carlisle mentions truly amazing
almost always; very rarely I have to make a minor adjustment. For
example, if a display formula ends a page, (La)TeX will lower integrals
a little bit, but not the sums, which have a heavy baseline.
More information about the texhax