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What is the best way to globally change the amount of vertical space between items in list environments?

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up vote 143 down vote accepted

The easiest way to do this is to use the enumitem package.

\usepackage{lipsum} % for dummy text
\setlist{nosep} % or \setlist{noitemsep} to leave space around whole list

\item foo
\item bar

The enumitem package also allows you to set the list spacing for a particular type or level of list, or for any particular individual list:

\setlist[2]{noitemsep} % sets the itemsep and parsep for all level two lists to 0
\setenumerate{noitemsep} % sets no itemsep for enumerate lists only
\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep] % sets no itemsep for just this list

The nosep parameter removes all vertical spacing within and around the list; the noitemsep parameter removes spacing from items but leaves space around the whole list.

The package also allows complete control over all other aspects of the list formatting too.

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This is probably the best package for the job. It accepts key value arguments so you could say \begin{enumerate}[itemsep=1pt, topsep=12pt, partopsep=0pt] etc, maybe you should expand a bit in your answer. – Yiannis Lazarides Feb 9 '11 at 16:01
@Yiannis The question did ask for a global change. But I've added some other examples along the lines of what you suggest. Thanks. – Alan Munn Feb 9 '11 at 16:11
Without using this package I can specify the type of item numbering as an optional parameter, e.g. \begin{itemize}[(i)]. How do I do this while using enumitem? Right now I get an error: missing endcsname. – Will May 23 '12 at 4:00
@Will The syntax you suggest is that of the enumerate package. You can emulate that package with enumitem by loading it with the [shortlabels] option (i.e. \usepackage[shortlabels]{enumitem}) But the recommended way is to use the label key: \begin{enumerate}[label={(\roman*)}]. See the enumitem documentation for more information. – Alan Munn May 23 '12 at 4:06
Perfect, thank you! – Will May 25 '12 at 2:13

the least demanding way to do it (no further packages or whatsoever needed) is to define your own environment like this ...

{ \begin{itemize}
    \setlength{\parsep}{0pt}     }
{ \end{itemize}                  } 

... and use it like this ...

  \item one 
  \item two 
  \item three 
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This works nicely with the moderncv package. (unlike the enumitem solution, where distances are changed even by just loading the package) – rainmaker May 18 at 15:30

You can use paralist package and use any of its 'compact' lists (compactitem, compactenum, compactdesc).

    Regular itemize
       \item First
       \item Second
       \item Third

        \item First
        \item Second
        \item Third
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Load package paralist and set


or load package enumitem and \setlist{nosep}

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