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I'm using the following settings for fancyhdr in a two-page book-derived documentclass:

\fancyhead[LO]{\sffamily \footnotesize \rightmark}
\fancyhead[RE]{\sffamily \footnotesize \leftmark}
\fancyfoot[LO]{\footnotesize \thepage~{\color{red}\vline}}
\fancyfoot[RE]{\footnotesize {\color{red}\vline}~\thepage}
\fancypagestyle{plain} {
 \fancyhf{} % get rid of headers on plain pages
 \renewcommand{\headrulewidth}{0pt} % and the line
 \renewcommand{\footrulewidth}{0pt} % and the line

But, somehow, the page number on even pages gets slightly below those on odd.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm not quite sure the reason for your problem, but it goes away if I change to \textcolor{red}{\vline} instead of {\color{red}\vline}.

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This is a known problem: \color doesn't switch to horizontal mode (it doesn't "start a line"). So if you are in vertical mode (as you are e.g. at the start of a \parbox) the following text which starts horizontal mode is forced on a new line. You get this effect e.g. in \parbox or in p-cells of a tabular. The solution is either to use \textcolor as already suggested or to quite vmode before the color command.

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