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In this two-column document, the "thanks" note is placed below the right column even though there is enough space below the left column, and a lot of space is inserted around the heading of the first section.

If some of the text of the first section is removed, the note fits on the left, as expected. However, if text is added (!) to the first section, the note is also placed on the left (see the comments in the document).

The same thing is true for changing the "thanks" note itself - both making it shorter and making it longer will move it to the left column. The floating figure seems to be a relevant factor - I haven't been able to reproduce the problem without a figure (or a table).

I tried the bigfoot package which in fact moves the footnote to the left column, but also inserts some space before the abstract and additionally leaves just the heading (without any of the text) of the second section in the left column, directly above the footnotes. Additional space is indesirable because the conference paper length is limited, and the heading without text seems like exceptionally bad layout to me.

In another question, \makeatletter \@doclearpage \makeatother is suggested for footnotes. I have been able to reproduce the same problem with a footnote instead of a "thanks" note, and this solution seems to work in this case. However, I haven't been able apply it to a "thanks" note.

\documentclass[12pt,letterpaper,twocolumn]{article}
%\usepackage{bigfoot} % Moves the note to the left, but messes up the layout
\begin{document}

\title{Lorem ipsum}
\author{John Doe\thanks{
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed eiusmod tempor
    incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis
    nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi
    consequat. Quis aute iure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum
    dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non
    proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
    % Enable the following lines and the note fits in the left column.
    %Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit...
    }}

\maketitle

\begin{abstract}
Lorem ipsum
\end{abstract}

\section{First section}

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed eiusmod tempor
incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud
exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequat. Quis aute
iure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla
pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident.

% Remove the first line, and the "thanks" note fits in the
% left column. Enable the second line, and it fits as well (!).
Duis autem
%vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit...



\section{Second section}

\begin{figure}
A figure
\end{figure}

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed eiusmod tempor
incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud
exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequat. Quis aute
iure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla
pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident.

\end{document}

Version is MiKTeX 2.9, the problem is identical for LaTeX and pdfTeX.

share|improve this question
    
This may be a very specific where things "don't work out" and could pertain to a number of things: large footnote (yes, \thanks is also a \footnote, hence being able to reproduce the problem with a \footnote); specific column breaking to avoid orphans/widows (hence an improved layout with the addition/removal of text). I doubt whether this is the case in you actual paper, right? My suggestion would be to leave such layout tweaks for final production. –  Werner Feb 3 '12 at 17:12
    
i suspect that the problem is in the handling of floats, but don't have hard evidence to back that up. try moving the input location of the figure down a paragraph so that latex doesn't try to fit it into the first column. if you really need it in the first column, don't code it as a float, but put it in-line and use a caption package if you need to have a caption with a label that you can refer to elsewhere. –  barbara beeton Feb 3 '12 at 17:23
    
The behavior of the actual paper is very close to that of this minimal example. Specifically, the behavior when adding and removing of either paragraph text or footnote text, and the effect of the bigfoot package are the same. Also, we're alreadly in the "final production" phase, just before submitting the paper to the conference. –  Martin Herrmann Feb 3 '12 at 17:24
    
As for avoiding orphans - this does not explain (a) why the footnotes are moved to the right (with lots of empty space around the heading of the first column, rather than a small empty space at the end of the first column, right before the footnotes), and (b) why, with bigfoot, the heading of the second section is placed on the first column without any text (which seems much worse than an orphan). –  Martin Herrmann Feb 3 '12 at 17:36
1  
@barbara yep you are right, it is the float. But the simplest solution is not to "unfloat" it but to either add a helping \pagebreak in the right place and/or not to place a float directly after a section heading which is a very bad place ... guess i should add this to my monster entry on float placement :-) –  Frank Mittelbach Feb 3 '12 at 17:41
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Without having this evaluated fully so far, it looks to me like a (known) deficiency in the LaTeX2e footnote handling if floats are part of the picture. The problem is that there is enough free space in the first column for LaTeX to read on until after the second section and the float flollowing it (without finishing the first column).

Now when LaTeX looks at this float it find that there is not enough space to put it into the first column. So it puts it on the deferlist and puts the text back to main vertical list for reprocessing. And there is the catch: The footnotes ended up a single box by that process (well here is only one, but assume you have several ones from several places on the page) Now these are reinserted as well but at the end of the accumulated text not in their original place. LaTeX makes the assumption that all the material it has seen will have space on the current page and will end there. This is normally true but not in your specific scenario.

In your case the the section 2 heading plus a line would fit into the first column, however only 1 line! But LaTeX prohibits breaking after the first text line after a section. So normally LaTeX would find out that it is not possible to put section2 + 2 lines into the first column and therefore would break before the section.

However, before LaTeX can detect this it sees your figure (directly after the heading) and therefore tries to place that figure and that moves the "thanks" after the section 2 heading. Only then it goes back and tried to typeset the first column and the section still doesn't fit with two lines after it, so it break before it but now your "thanks" are moved.

You can verify this by placing a \pagebreak into the first line after the section2. then this moves into the first column.

Alternatively, move the placement of the figure a bit after the heading. It is in fact not a good idea to have it directly after \section because of the special processing that the heading tries to do to the following paragraph.

Now this "is" a deficiency, but the 2e algorithm is so delicate that modifications here are not advisable.

share|improve this answer
    
Moving the figure down changed the layout in an unvavorable way (in the actual paper), but moving it up, right before the \section, worked. Still does not explain why bigfoot leads to an 'orphan heading', that is, without any lines of text, but I guess that's a different question. –  Martin Herrmann Feb 3 '12 at 18:13
    
@Martin I can only guess here, but normally a float intruces a break point at the point it is encountered (even if there isn't one before). However, it obeys the @nobreak switch set by a heading, which is why you see the behavior as explained. Somehow bigfoot must alter that delicate balance and a breakpoint gets introduced when the float is processed. –  Frank Mittelbach Feb 4 '12 at 11:15
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