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I'd like to use a description environment together with the IEEEtran document class. One of the labels is actually quite long (three words) so I need to use \IEEEsetlabelwidth to avoid having the text and the label overlap. As apparently it determines the indentation of the whole text and not just the text on the first line, I get a skinny column that spans over a large number of lines.

\begin{description}[\IEEEsetlabelwidth{Very long label}\IEEEusemathlabelsep]
  \item[Very long label] this text is spanning over multiple lines.  Since the label was very long and the label determined the indent of the text it really covers a large number of lines.
\end{description}

The result is something like

Very long label   this text is spanning over
                  multiple lines. Since the 
                  label was very long and
                  the label determined the
                  indent of the text it
                  really covers a large 
                  number of lines.

While I would like something like

Very long label   this text is spanning over
    multiple lines. Since the label was very
    long and the label determined the indent
    of the text it really covers a large 
    number of lines.

I don't have specific requirements for the body of the text, but it'd be nice if it was consistent across the several descriptions of the document (it is not the case at the moment). I have tried to read the documentation of IEEEtran, but I'm quite confused.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

You can use the LaTeXdescription environment; compare the result of description and LaTeXdescription:

\documentclass{IEEEtran}

\begin{document}

\begin{description}[\IEEEsetlabelwidth{Very long label}\IEEEusemathlabelsep]
  \item[Very long label] this text is spanning over multiple lines.  Since the label was very long and the label determined the indent of the text it really covers a large number of lines.
\end{description}

\begin{LaTeXdescription}%[\IEEEsetlabelwidth{Very long label}\IEEEusemathlabelsep]
  \item[Very long label] this text is spanning over multiple lines.  Since the label was very long and the label determined the indent of the text it really covers a large number of lines.
\end{LaTeXdescription}

\end{document}

enter image description here

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7  
It's a shame IEEEtran just overrides the description command like that. I dislike all the trickery they do compared to other templates. It feels like a lot of hacking was done, instead of constructive LaTeX programming. –  Ruben Verborgh Feb 8 '13 at 10:45

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