[OS X TeX] Vertical space

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Sat May 26 15:36:04 EDT 2012

Thank you very much!!!

I was not expecting this but I will study it --- and order the TeXbook.

I have the "TeX and MetaFont" book and Clark's A Plain TeX Primer but  
never took the time to read either one. This time, as a big chunk of  
the Magnum Opus is done, I will.

Very grateful regards

On May 24, 2012, at 9:00 PM, Ross Moore wrote:

> Hello Alain,
> On 25/05/2012, at 9:34 AM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> Where can I find some information about the way to control vertical  
>> space? (I cannot predict the effect of the various commands I use,  
>> in particular \\[length]?)
> \\[length]  such as  \\[4pt]  adds the *extra* 4pt to what would be  
> the normal
> line spacing *within the same paragraph*.
> It should *not* be used to place vertical space between paragraphs,
> or disparate blocks of text whose content bears little logical  
> relationship
> to each other.
> For example:
>  .. some random words in one sentence\\[15pt]
>  And now a few more words after the blank line
> will cause a warning message:    Underfull hbox, badness = 10000
> (or similar).
> This is because you didn't have any material to finish the paragraph,
> following the  \\[15pt] .
> The amount of space that this will actually produce is not specified,
> cause you have broken the rules concerning 'horizontal' and  
> 'vertical' modes.
> Your input is ambiguous, and TeX cannot tell what you really want.
>> I have looked in Companion II which does not seem even to mention \\ 
>> [length], and googled some. I found some interesting sites, e.g. < http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/LaTeXPrimer/WhiteSpace.html 
>> > and <http://www.personal.ceu.hu/tex/spacebox.htm> but, that I can  
>> see, none mentions \\[length] nor do they quite explain the  
>> differences between requiring a particular vertical space, say,  
>> after a paragraph, after an item in a list or after a table, etc  
>> which I suspect is of the essence.
> Within lists, you have the parameter  \itemsep  to specify
> how much space between items.
> In tables, there is  \usepackage{tabls}  which defines a length  
> \tablinesep .
> This is on p.269 of Companion II.
> After a paragraph, your are in "vertical mode".
> There are  \smallskip, \medskip, \bigskip  which give increasing  
> amounts
> of space, but are "rubber" lengths which can shrink a bit, if  
> necessary.
> Otherwise, you have LaTeX's  \vspace{...}  command, which allows  
> specific
> amounts of vertical space.
> BTW, \vspace  is a vertical mode command, so do *not* put it
> *inside* a paragraph. It will then migrate to the end of the  
> paragraph,
> so the space will not occur where you think it should.
>> I am really not asking for an explanation because I can always  
>> fudge something so that there is no emergency of any kind but  
>> whether anybody knows of some explanation, somewhere because it  
>> annoys me having to resort to blind experimentation and not really  
>> knowing what I am doing.
> Keep your input modular, and within well-defined environments
> or paragraphs. If you do this, then there will be few problems,
> as LaTeX then has a good idea of your document's structure and
> can translate that internally into the required TeX constructions.
> If you want to do other things with the layout, then
> you really need to understand a bit about TeX itself.
> e.g. read (at least) chapters 13-15 of The TeXbook
> --- maybe 11 & 12 also, concerning boxes and glue.
> All of us experiment a bit.
> But in my experience, when you don't know what you are doing,
> it is usually because you haven't thought properly about
> the structure inherent in what you are trying to represent
> on the page, and the intention of the LaTeX environments that
> you are using.
>> Curious regards
>> --schremmer
> Hope this helps,
> 	Ross
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Ross Moore                                       ross.moore at mq.edu.au
> Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-419
> Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850  
> 8955
> Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850  
> 8114
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