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My thesis use a page size that is exactly 34 line of text tall. (10pt text + 33 * 18pt \baselineskip = 9in plus 2pt, which looks like 1in margins on an 8.5x11" page). Some pages contain pretty much solid text, with some footnotes, which makes them have zero vertical stretchability. The footnotes, though, don't work out to a height that's a multiple of \baselineskip. As a result, LaTeX complains about lots of underfull \vboxes.

Is there a way to make the vertical gap between the last line of text on a page, and the top of the footnotes area, stretchable? I don't want to make my pages use \raggedbottom directly, because then the footnotes slide up to the bottom of the text, leaving a (surprise!) ragged bottom to the page. I want the footnotes to be flush-bottom, and I'd like there to be roughly 1 \baselineskip of stretchable space between the text and the footnotes, so that TeX stops complaining :)

My current attempts, in case this helps: In the thesis class file, it defines \footskip as


So I tried playing games like

\addtolength{\footskip}{0pt plus 18pt}

But that outputs 0pt with no plus 18pt... Is \footskip not stretchable? Or is this the wrong page dimension to be tweaking? Or is there simply a better way to be doing what I want to do?

share|improve this question
\footskip is a rigid length, despite its name. – egreg Jun 28 '11 at 21:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

After a bit more searching (thanks @egreg for helping me cut off a fruitless avenue of hacking), it turns out there exists a package that does exactly this:


Good to know :)

share|improve this answer
The name of the parameter to act on is \skip\footins; \footskip is used in a very different context and has nothing to do with footnotes, but rather with the page footer. Unfortunately the LaTeX developers never felt the necessity to give \skip\footins a sensible name; all that's needed would be a simple \skipdef\footnoteskip=\footins and \footnoteskip would behave like a normal parameter; alas, it's perhaps too late for changing the LaTeX kernel, even though this addition wouldn't do any harm. – egreg Jun 29 '11 at 20:16

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