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I am trying to define an environment in latex that will indent each successive line of a short block of text by a fixed amount. For example, the first line will have no indentation, the second line will have a 1cm indentation, and the third line will have a 2cm indentation, etc. This will be used for short amounts of text that will probably be three lines at most. Anyone know if there is an environment that does something like this or if i can make one? I could not find an answer on here anywhere.

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can use the shapepar package for this. The syntax takes a bit of getting used to, but for simple things like this, it's not too bad:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{shapepar}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\def\truncatedtriangle{%
{0}
{0}b{0}\\ % Start at the top left
{0}t{0}{10}\\ % First line (at y=0) is 10 units wide
{4}t{2}{8}\\ % Last line (at y=4) starts at x=2 and is 8 units wide
{4}e{10} % the paragraph ends at y=4 and x=10
}

\begin{document}
% Use the paragraph shape. 1 unit is 1/10 of \textwidth.
\Shapepar[0.1\textwidth]\truncatedtriangle{Long text. This won't work with lipsum, unfortunately. The more text you have in your paragraph, the better. We'll just add another paragraph, for good measure. There, that's already much better. Another couple of words.}
\end{document}
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thanks! exactly what i was looking for. –  grizzilus Dec 20 '11 at 6:41
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You can also do this using \parshape where you specify the begin and end of each line. Below I have speicfied the 4th line to not be indented. This will also apply to all subsequent lines in case the paragraph has more than 3 lines.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[showframe]{geometry}

\begin{document}
\noindent\parshape=4
0.00\linewidth 1.00\linewidth
0.05\linewidth 0.95\linewidth
0.10\linewidth 0.90\linewidth
0.00\linewidth 1.00\linewidth% All subsequent lines are not indented
Long text. This will also work with lipsum. The more text you have in your paragraph, 
the better. We'll just add another paragraph, for good measure. There, that's already 
much better. Another couple of words.
\end{document}
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should work with \lipsum* –  Yiannis Lazarides Dec 20 '11 at 14:12
    
@YiannisLazarides: Yeah, I should know better to not just cut and paste without reading the text.. Have corrected the text. –  Peter Grill Dec 20 '11 at 14:20
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