Removing vertical stretch—mimicking traditional typesetting with TeX

Kaveh Bazargan
River Valley Technologies
Play (36min) Download: M4V | MP3

One of TeX’s advantages over traditional typesetting systems is the mechanism to stretch horizonal and vertical glue as needed, in order to aid paragraph building and pagination. But all TeX operators involved in day-to-day page make-up know that this inbuilt intelligence is often `too clever’ and frustrating for the user. TeX will not do what you want it to do, and only over many years can operators gain the knowledge that allows them to make just the right change to the source code in order to coerce TeX to produce the desired result.

Recently we have been experimenting with removing vertical stretchability, with promising results. Our approach is to round off the height of all vertical material, including floats and displayed equations, to be an integral number of the leading of the main text. One advantage is that this allows true ‘grid’ setting in double column text. A live demonstration will be presented, showing our latest results.