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Is there some command to wrap around an element \unknown{<element>} that gives a way to place an element, say, 5cm above where it would be placed without the unknown wrapper, even if it overlaps something as a result.

Basically, a command that pushes an element 5cm up in any scenario.

My particular use case is that I want to add an x-label to a graph after-the-fact.

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If you tell us how you do your graph we can give more specific solutions. Shifting the position inside a, say, tikzpicture can be done using dedicated commands. – Martin Scharrer Jan 24 '12 at 10:07
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can raise the text using \raisebox{<amount>}[<set height>][<set depth>]{<content>} and also change its official height and depth. The original dimensions are available as \height, \depth, \totalheight (height+depth) and \width.

So \raisebox{5cm}[\height][\depth]{<some content>} should move it 5cm up, but keep the original dimensions as they are, making LaTeX think the content didn't change.

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What about moving it horizontally? If you wanted to move it 5cm up and then 3cm right/left, what would that be? I tried several combinations but nothing worked. – Alenanno May 24 '12 at 13:06
@Alenanno: Note that normally you don't move text around like this in a proper document. It's not a website etc. You might want to use a tikzpicture instead. Inside normal text you can however use the adjustbox package, it give you \adjustbox{<key=value,...>}{<content>} with a raise key identical to \raise and a lap key which allows you to move text horizontally. Check the manual for more details. If you have problems feel free to post a new question which links back to this one and includes an example text. – Martin Scharrer May 24 '12 at 13:11
I actually used the adjustbox already, I totally forgot about it... Thank you. By the way, I wasn't moving text but a custom element. – Alenanno May 24 '12 at 13:30

There are several ways:

For the more complex examples, you can use the following:

\begin{picture}(0,0) % make a drawing area that takes no place
  \put(5,3){Still, you can put this text 5 cm right and 3 cm above}
  \put(0,0){And another one, placed at the "original point", but occupying no space}

If you want it to occupy its place in horizontal, but to move vertially, you can use

\strut% ensures that the line has the correct height
\smash{% smashes its content verically
  \raise 5cm% move the following box 5 cm up
    \hbox{% horizontal contents
      Foo bar}}

And you can omit all the % and newlines and say just

\strut\smash{\raise 5cm\hbox{Foo bar}}
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Aren't the last two example different? In one you have the equivalent of \hbox{ Foo... and the last one is \hbox{Foo... (leading space deleted?). – Peter Grill Jan 24 '12 at 17:27
Yes, sorry, there should be no space before the percent-sign, corrected. – yo' Jan 24 '12 at 21:24

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