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Problem Description

TeX seems to adjust the vertical space in a 2-column document, even though I have specified that no stretching or shrinking is to occur using \titlespacing. A short visualization is given under (a) in the Figure below:

(a) Minimal Working Example showing that \titlespacing..{12pt}{0pt} is not applied (b) Real case in which this occurs, not included as source.

Even though I specify e.g. \titlespacing{\section}{0pt}{**12pt**}{**0pt**}, there seems to be a vertical layout that will stretch out the spacing between headings, which is unacceptable, at least for the specific conference style I have to fulfill.


Can I get rid of this "vertical justification"? Any possible explanations are more than welcome. Here is my MWE that reproduces the behaviour (Note: I am using xelatex, but using latex yields the same behaviour):

% ----important----
% -----------------
  \title{Foo Bar 2013: A personal journey through a typographic nightmare.}
  \author{Waldorf A. and Stattler B.}
  this would in fact be longer, thus we make a space here
  \section*{first order heading}
  All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost. The old that is     
  strong does not wither.
  \section*{first order heading}
  \subsection*{second order heading}
  Deep roots are not reached by the frost.  
  \section*{first order heading}
  \subsection*{second order heading}
  From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadows shall spring. Renewed 
  shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king.
  \section*{first order heading}
  \subsection*{second order heading}
  \subsubsection*{third order heading}
  Not all that have fallen are vanquished. A king may yet be without crown. A blade 
  that was broken be brandished. 


I have seen questions that deal with the topic, but none that really helped:

  • What is Glue Stretching says that "any glue is composed by a fixed part, a stretchable part and a shrinkable part. Each of these parts can be zero ... expressed via <fixed part> plus <stretchable part> minus <shrinkable part>. Tried that, but no luck - problem persists.

  • Read somewhere (I don't exactly recall where, to my shame!) that you should try specifying e.g. -0 as "space after", i.e. \titlespacing{\section}{0pt}{12pt}{-0}. No luck.

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Oh, and forgot: under (b) in the above Figure you can see a full-fledged layout, with red bars to indicate where the spacing is "wrong". Just for completeness. – Gabriel Apr 2 '13 at 10:27
See a related question tex.stackexchange.com/questions/101545/… for issues on glue when using the titlesec package. – Steven B. Segletes Apr 2 '13 at 10:43
Thanks @Steven B. Segletes, that totally answered the question. – Gabriel Apr 2 '13 at 10:56

Thanks to Steven B. Segletes and his pointers in the comments above, I have found a way and want to share it here:


and maybe also


yielded the intended (and arguably boring) layout:

no glue, yipee

thank you!

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