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I use the Latex templates from Springer for a project, and to my surprise, the description environment doesn't work correctly - the item labels are not bold.

I don't know where this is customized in the templates, but would like the old (standard) behaviour. How can I redefine the redefined description environment to achieve this?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You may copy the environment's definition from book/report/article into your preamble. (I use \let\descriptionlabel\relax in case your custom class doesn't feature this command.)

\makeatletter
% Instead of \newenvironment
\renewenvironment{description}
               {\list{}{\labelwidth\z@ \itemindent-\leftmargin
                        \let\makelabel\descriptionlabel}}
               {\endlist}
% Instead of \newcommand*
\let\descriptionlabel\relax
\newcommand*\descriptionlabel[1]{\hspace\labelsep
                                \normalfont\bfseries #1}
\makeatother

I'm not sure which version of svmono you're using, but as an alternative it might work to add the following to your preamble (and hereby keep the other enhancements to the environment):

\renewcommand*\descriptionlabel[1]{\hspace\labelsep\normalfont\bfseries #1\hfil}
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Thank you very much, your second (one-line) proposal does make the labels bold, but the indentation and the (exaggerated) distance between label and text make the description blocks still look weird. Your first proposal fixes that too and solves my problem perfectly - thanks again. –  user17106 Aug 8 '12 at 21:38
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