# [OS X TeX] Overfull \hbox errors

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Tue Oct 25 18:13:23 EDT 2005

On 25 Oct 2005, at 23:56, Damon Muller wrote:

> On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 20:05:06 +0200, "Maarten Sneep"
> <maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl> said:
>
>> Alternatively, you can figure out which word doesn't want to break
>> for you, and insert optional hyphens where you want a word to break
>> (\-). Remember that words that have a hyphen in them will not break
>> any further.
>
> Yes, this is what I was trying to do. But hyphens do not look right in
> all words - especially short ones (which you'd hope LaTeX would be
> better at wrapping anyway).

Ah, yes. By default TeX doesn't even consider breaks in words with less
than 6 letters (I think, I'd have to look it up, it might very well
be language
dependent).

> I think I may have been premature to blame APACite - it's just that I
> had two paragraphs in a row which didn't justify properly which both
> began with in-text citations. However I also had problems in other
> places without citations as well, so it probably wasn't (just)
> APACite.

TeX shows what hyphens it tried before giving up. Any specific word
that cause trouble or non-breaking hyphens that are in the stream
should be visible there.

> And just to clarify, it wasn't in the bibliography that the problem
> was.
> APACite does in-text citations, and a few lines which began with the
> in-text citations were ones which didn't justify properly.

Ah, that yucky style. I think most styles like this insert a non-
breaking
hyphen between the year and the author, making TeX's job a lot harder.
Fortunately (for me, anyway) I'm unfamiliar with these styles, but there
may be options to omit some of those non-breaking hyphens.

> Anyway, it seems to have resolved itself now. I used the microtype
> package to make the document a little prettier and either that, or
> a few
> more iterations of pdflatex, seems to have sorted it out. Whilst there
> were still a bunch of overfull \hbox errors, there wasn't anything
> that
> you could actually notice looking at the right margin of the document.

For the very final version of the document, you can try to enlarge or
shrink
certain (troublesome) pages by a small amount. Not enough to be visible,
but enough to affect the line-breaks. I would advise to find the largest
overful \hbox, and print it at final size. Ask someone else to
pinpoint the
offending line, and if he/she fails, don't bother trying to get it
right. I think
for me the threshold was about 2 pt, YMMV.

Maarten
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