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I'd like to left align my entire document (latex default seems to be center justified). Is there a simple way to do this?

I'm trying to use

\begin{flushleft}
...
\end{flushleft}

but really don't want to have to do that on a paragraph by paragraph basis (and when I try to simply add that to the start and end of my document I get an error.

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2 Answers

Just use:

\raggedright

right after \begin{document}

The flushleft environment effectively sets text in a ragged right list environment. It is defined as:

\def\flushleft{\trivlist \raggedright\item\relax} 
\def\endflushleft{\endtrivlist}

The \raggedright command does the actual work:

\def\raggedright{%
   \let\\\@centercr\@rightskip\@flushglue \rightskip\@rightskip
   \leftskip\z@skip
   \parindent\z@}

Setting text this way will lead to some ugly looking lines. The ragged2e package provides the \RaggedRight command (and corresponding) FlushLeft environment that solves some of these problems. I would recommend using it instead of just \raggedright.

To see the differences between \raggedright and \RaggedRight here's a small sample document:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}
\usepackage{hyphenat}
\usepackage{ragged2e}
\usepackage{blindtext}

\begin{document}
\begin{minipage}[t]{.4\textwidth}
\textbf{raggedright with no hyphenation}\par
\raggedright
\blindtext
\end{minipage}
\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{.4\textwidth}
\textbf{RaggedRight with hyphenation}\par
\RaggedRight
\blindtext
\end{minipage}
\end{document}

output of code

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1  
Can the same result be achieved by completely disabling hyphenation? –  ℝaphink Aug 8 '11 at 21:52
    
@Raphink same result as what? Disabling hyphenation with justified text will just lead to ugly interword spacing, but still justified, not ragged right text. Turning off hyphenation with \RaggedRight will get you the same as \raggedright. –  Alan Munn Aug 8 '11 at 22:11
    
thanks, that answers :-) –  ℝaphink Aug 9 '11 at 5:43
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You need to use \raggedright to have a flush left typesetting:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}% dummy text
\raggedright% flush left alignment
\begin{document}
\lipsum[1-10]% 10 paragraphs of summy text
\end{document}​​​​​​​​​​​

Ragged-right aligned document

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