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I am typesetting a document in LaTeX for which I have been given exact specifications that are intended for an MS Word-processed document (single-sided, single-spaced, 0.75 inch margins, no more than 60 lines per page, no more than 15 characters per inch (including punctuation, spaces, and symbols), 12 point Arial or Helvetica). I need to adhere rigorously to these guidelines and to make the document look reasonably "Word-like". I have little experience setting these parameters in LaTeX as the default typesetting scheme is nearly always satisfactory. I've been a bit overwhelmed by the degrees of freedom available in LaTeX; for instance, to set margins with the geometry package, the parameters that can be defined include hscale, vscale, width, height, lines, left, right, top, bottom, hmargin, vmargin, etc., and it is not entirely apparent which of these settings will give 1 inch marigns as defined by MS Word.

The following settings represent my initial attempt to ensure rigid conformity to the specified guidelines:


Could anyone tell me if the above are good solutions to margins, font face (Arial), and font size (12 pt)? I do not know if LaTeX 12 pt is equivalent to Word 12 pt -- I have read that the two metrics are non-equivalent. I do not know how to ensure the requirements for cpi (without verifying with a ruler), lines per page (without counting), or single spacing (this implies Word-defined single spacing). Lastly I wish to avoid the large size of and whitespace surrounding section headers. Essentially, I need to typeset a document that looks Word-like, but do not have Word nor do I wish to use it..

I would appreciate guidance on how to typeset my document. The ideal solution would be specific enough to this question that I successfully meet the aforementioned guidelines, and general enough that others who have a similar question in the future are able to adapt the response to their own formatting requirements. Cheers.

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(1) Use \usepackage[margin=0.75in]{geometry} since it is equivalent to your individual margin settings; (2) LaTeX optimal settings for MS Word-like document, Setting a document in MS Word-12pt (12bp), Change section fonts, all MS-Word related posts that should help. – Werner Dec 29 '11 at 7:20
(3) The typearea package has some discussion on specifying the number of lines per page. See p 37 of the typearea documentation. – Werner Dec 29 '11 at 7:27
Thanks Werner, I will check these out. – user001 Dec 29 '11 at 7:27
Does MS Word insert glue (rubber, stretchable space) between section headers? I would think not, but I can't answer for sure, as I don't have it. If not, you may want to try some form of grid typesetting by redefining the spacing around sections. The grid package does that, if you need sample code or want to load it. – ienissei Dec 29 '11 at 8:51
Related question: LaTeX optimal settings for MS Word-like document – Martin Scharrer Dec 29 '11 at 8:59

There is wordlike.

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Thanks; this was also mentioned in the comments appended to my question. I would prefer to set parameters individually rather than use this package. But thanks again for the suggestion. – user001 Dec 29 '11 at 11:43

I wrote a LaTeX template to imitate the features I use most often in Word. The code is below, and here's a blog post I wrote about it, which includes a sample PDF.


% Emulate MS Word

% One inch margins

% Remove footnote indentation

% Add extra blank line between paragraphs, and remove paragraph indentation
\parskip = 2\baselineskip

% Double spacing

% Header
\lhead{Header line 1\\Line 2\\Line 3\\Line 4}

% Add space between text and footnotes section

% Add a space before the footnote mark

% Don't justify along the right margin

% Generate placeholder text


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.\footnote{Curabitur 
molestie nisl at turpis pretium facilisis.} Nunc ullamcorper turpis sit amet 
ipsum elementum ultricies. Nam venenatis leo id nunc consequat elementum.  
Donec consectetur velit vel felis aliquet et iaculis nunc euismod.  Etiam sed 
nibh nulla. Fusce tortor elit, laoreet vitae pellentesque 
consectetur.\footnote{Feugiat in nulla.}


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Welcome to TeX.sx! – mafp May 7 '13 at 23:40
I'd suggest using the ragged2e package instead of \raggedright. – mbork May 7 '13 at 23:49

For Arial, just use XeTeX + fontspec. You should be able to screw around with typesize using a cople of options, but I can't remember them off the top of my head and they might not use pt.

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