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I would like to change my abstract's text width. For now I have something like this:

\begin{abstract}
\lipsum
\end{abstract}

I have tried wrapping my text with

\begin{minipage}{0.85\textwidth}
...
\end{minipage}

But then : I don't know if that's the correct way + the problem is with centering this text after resizing it.

EDIT

The beginning of the document:

\documentclass[a4paper,12pt]{article}
\usepackage{times}          % Use the Times font.
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}    % Check that ÖÄÅöäå come out ok!
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{epsfig}         % If you embed EPS pictures.

\setlength{\parindent}{0mm} % Do not indent the 1st line of a paragraph.
\setlength{\parskip}{3mm}   % Add space between paragraphs.

% Save some paper by stuffing more text on each page:
% A4: 210mm x 297mm, approximately 35 mm margins on every side.
\addtolength{\topmargin}{-18mm}    
\addtolength{\textheight}{30mm}    
\addtolength{\oddsidemargin}{-6mm} 
\addtolength{\textwidth}{14mm}     

\begin{document}
...
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1  
The width of the abstract, with those settings, is 86% of the text width. Changing to 85% doesn't seem so important. As an aside: don't load epsfig, it's an obsolete package that exists only for compatibility. If you're using a template for submitting your paper, you shouldn't change the setup, of course. –  egreg Dec 28 '13 at 17:37
2  
If you want 35mm on every side, just call \usepackage[margin=35mm]{geometry}, which avoids guessing at the parameters. Don't use times, but mathptmx or, better, newtxtext and newtxmath. –  egreg Dec 28 '13 at 17:48
    
@egreg What should I use for \includegraphics then (since I have removed epsfig and now I get errors) - is graphicx ok ?. And where should I put this \usepackage[margin=35mm]{geometry} since I only want to change the margin of abstract bit? –  Patryk Dec 28 '13 at 18:24
    
Yes, graphicx is the package to load. How would you change the abstract? –  egreg Dec 28 '13 at 18:28
    
@egreg I just wonder if it's possible and if it is then how can I change the width of abstract. –  Patryk Dec 28 '13 at 18:28

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The standard abstract environment, when the titlepage option is not given, just calls for a quotation environment.

You can redefine the environment and use a customized list environment instead.

The standard definition is equivalent to

\newenvironment{abstract}
 {\small
  \begin{center}
  \bfseries \abstractname\vspace{-.5em}\vspace{0pt}
  \end{center}
  \quotation}
 {\endquotation}

(unless the twocolumn or titlepage options are given).

For example, in order to have an indent by 5mm on each side, you can do

\renewenvironment{abstract}
 {\small
  \begin{center}
  \bfseries \abstractname\vspace{-.5em}\vspace{0pt}
  \end{center}
  \list{}{%
    \setlength{\leftmargin}{5mm}% <---------- CHANGE HERE
    \setlength{\rightmargin}{\leftmargin}%
  }%
  \item\relax}
 {\endlist}

Here's a complete example, where I also changed some of your calls.

\documentclass[a4paper,12pt]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[margin=35mm]{geometry}% <-------- CHANGE HERE for the global margins
\usepackage{mathptmx} % for Times

\usepackage{graphicx} % for embedding pictures

\usepackage{lipsum} % just for the example

%\setlength{\parindent}{0mm} % Do not indent the 1st line of a paragraph.
%\setlength{\parskip}{3mm}   % Add space between paragraphs.

\renewenvironment{abstract}
 {\small
  \begin{center}
  \bfseries \abstractname\vspace{-.5em}\vspace{0pt}
  \end{center}
  \list{}{
    \setlength{\leftmargin}{.5cm}%
    \setlength{\rightmargin}{\leftmargin}%
  }%
  \item\relax}
 {\endlist}

\begin{document}
\begin{abstract}
\lipsum*[2]
\end{abstract}
\lipsum[3]
\end{document}

You shouldn't use epsfig, but graphicx. Also geometry is better than guessing at the page shape parameters. With this setting you get 35mm at each side of the paper, change to suit. Much more customizations are possible, see the manual.

Instead of times (which is obsolete), call mathptmx. For better results with math formulas, the combination

\usepackage{newtxtext,newtxmath}

might be preferred (I recommend it, instead of mathptmx).

Please, don't do \setlength{\parindent}{0pt} and \setlength{\parskip}{3mm}; to begin with, the 3mm value is arbitrary and not tied to the font parameters. But the most important aspect is that these settings add white horizontal bands to each page that make it awful. And less legible.

enter image description here

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Perfect answer, yet I cannot use \usepackage{newtxtext,newtxmath} since I use Ubuntu I haven't found a way to install those packages yet. –  Patryk Dec 28 '13 at 19:47

Try the following code.

It redefines the quotation environment locally inside the abstract environment, and you can change the amount of \leftmargin, so to change the margins of the abstract.

\documentclass[a4paper,12pt]{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\let\oldabstract\abstract
\let\oldendabstract\endabstract
\makeatletter
\renewenvironment{abstract}
{\renewenvironment{quotation}%
               {\list{}{\addtolength{\leftmargin}{1em} % change this value to add or remove length to the the default
                        \listparindent 1.5em%
                        \itemindent    \listparindent%
                        \rightmargin   \leftmargin%
                        \parsep        \z@ \@plus\p@}%
                \item\relax}%
               {\endlist}%
\oldabstract}
{\oldendabstract}
\makeatother

\begin{document} 
\begin{abstract}
\lipsum[1]
\end{abstract}

\lipsum[1]
\end{document} 

Output

enter image description here

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