# [OS X TeX] Question: adjusting spacing in the enumerate environment

Chris Goedde cgoedde at condor.depaul.edu
Mon Mar 21 11:12:42 EST 2005

I haven't followed this whole discussion, but ...

If you want to affect the spacing before the first item of the list,
then \itemsep is the wrong thing to play with; it doesn't affect that
at all.

The important parameters are \topsep, \parskip, and \partopsep.
\parskip is the usual inter-paragraph spacing. \topsep is the "space
between first item and preceding paragraph," while \partopsep is "extra
space added to \topsep when environment starts a new paragraph."
(Quotes are from the invaluable LaTeX Companion.) The space before the
first item in the list is the sum of these (modulo TeX's varible
gluing).

So you need to monkey with \topsep and/or \partopsep to achieve what (I
think) you want. BTW, these will also affect the spacing after the last
item.

I  think you're best off making a new environment. As an example, I use
the environments below for numbered lists. You can add extra
\setlengths to change things as you like.

\newcounter{topicnum}
\newcommand{\mylabel}[1]{\hfil\mbox{\textbf{#1}}}

\newenvironment{compactnumbered}%
{\begin{list}{\arabic{topicnum}.}{\renewcommand{\makelabel}{\mylabel}%
\usecounter{topicnum}%
\setlength{\parsep}{0pt}%
\setlength{\topsep}{0pt}%
\setlength{\labelwidth}{0.5in}%
\setlength{\leftmargin}{\labelwidth}%
\setlength{\itemsep}{0pt}%
}}{\end{list}}

\newenvironment{numbered}%
{\begin{list}{\arabic{topicnum}.}{\renewcommand{\makelabel}{\mylabel}%
\usecounter{topicnum}%
\setlength{\topsep}{0pt}%
\setlength{\labelwidth}{0.5in}%
\setlength{\leftmargin}{\labelwidth}%
}}{\end{list}}

--
Chris Goedde

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