{lengths} is for questions dealing with measurements in TeX. If your question is about the spacing between document elements, use {spacing} instead.

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263
votes
4answers
113k views

Difference between \textwidth, \linewidth and \hsize

The three lengths \textwidth, \linewidth and \hsize seem to all hold the width of the current line. At least I never saw some real difference between \textwidth and \linewidth in my code. Both seem to ...
140
votes
2answers
122k views

Lengths and when to use them

There are many lengths in LaTeX. For instance, \enskip, \enspace, \quad, \parskip, \smallskip, ... Some of them are mostly used for vertical spacing, some others are mostly used for horizontal ...
10
votes
1answer
183 views

Measuring align

From what I read it seems that align environments are processed twice: the first time for measuring, the second time for actual typesetting. My question is whether one can get access to these ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

How to preserve the same parskip in minipage

I have following structure: \begin{document} Paragraph1. Paragraph2. \begin{minipage} Some paragraph1. Some paragraph2. \end{minipage} \end{document} How can I make the same spacing between ...
91
votes
3answers
25k views

Get width of a given text as length

Is there a TeX command that returns the width of a given text as length value, so that I can use the result directly as a length argument of another command? I mean, I would like to have a command \...
41
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there a \show for lengths?

The \show command is extremely useful for figuring out what's going on with a particular macro. Similarly, using \the can tell me the value of a counter. I'd like to know if there's something ...
32
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a picture showing all the lengths used in lists?

I want to adjust the length parameters in a list (happens to be to make it more condensed, but that's not relevant). I do this infrequently enough that I don't remember all the lengths that are ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

A line of length \textwidth in TikZ

Why does the following latex document: \documentclass{minimal} \usepackage{tikz} \begin{document} \noindent \begin{tikzpicture} \draw (0,0) -- (\textwidth,0); \end{tikzpicture} \...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

Getting length as number?

I have probably formulated the question wrong, as I don't know the Tex internals - but this is what I mean; consider this example: \newcommand{\myNum}{2} \newlength{\myLength} \setlength{\myLength}{\...
9
votes
1answer
406 views

How to compute exact width added by \left. \right

I have defined macros to produce resizable brackets that also work across line breaks. This necessitated the use of and additional set of \left. and \right. which add a bit of horizontal space. Now,...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a command to convert cm to bp?

I want to convert a length in cm (centimeter) to bp (big point). Is there a command to convert cm to bp?
39
votes
2answers
65k views

What is the difference between \hspace*{\fill} and \hfill?

In the memoir manual on page 183 ,this example is given: \begin{figure} \centering \hspace*{\fill} {ILLUSTRATION 1} \hfill {ILLUSTRATION 2} \hspace*{\fill} \caption{Example float with two ...
23
votes
3answers
7k views

How do I get the exact dimension of a picture in LaTeX?

This question is pretty simple: I'd like to have the possibility to get the exact size of a picture in LaTeX with, for example, the macro \the. In fact, I've founded the way \settoheight{} and so on, ...
38
votes
5answers
13k views

How can I change the indentation in quote and quotation environments and commands?

I need to change the indentation that the quote and quotation environments and commands employ. I assume that there is some length I need to set, but I've googled around, and cannot find what I am ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Push/Pop or save a length/dimension?

Is it possible to push or pop a length like parindent? I want to change it temporarily but reset it soon after. I have a solution but looking for something a little nicer. I'll post it as an answer.
18
votes
2answers
683 views

How to have a precise control on the size of each page?

I would like to produce a pdf document whose pages have various lengths and fixed widths. An easier situation The easiest case would be for instance: the first page has a length of 10cm all the ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Conversion pt to mm or cm

Is there any way how to convert pt to mm or cm in plain TeX?
8
votes
3answers
332 views

Defining a Length that Scales with Fontsize Changes

I noticed a behavior regarding lengths under fonstsize changes, which I'm hoping there is a way to circumvent. Consider this MWE: \documentclass{article} \begin{document} \newlength\mylength \...
27
votes
2answers
4k views

What are the differences between \newdimen, \newskip and \newlength?

What are the differences between \newdimen, \newskip, and\newlength? When should I use each of them? Please give me a non-trivial example for each case.
8
votes
4answers
986 views

Function determining the length of text, usable where something with internal units (e.g. “em”) is expected

Is there a way to define a function \horizontallengthof returning the length of a piece of text in internal units? I would like to be able to use it anywhere where something of that sort is required, ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Why doesn't \settoheight of \parbox work?

Consider the following code: \documentclass[a4paper]{letter} \usepackage{calc} \usepackage{printlen} \newsavebox{\foobox} \newlength{\fooboxheight} \savebox{\foobox}{ \parbox[t]{\textwidth}{...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Settting PGFplots axis environment options by means of \newcommand and {\newlength,\setlength}

Because I often use the same options for multiple axes in my LaTeX documents, I use the following code to simplify my life. \documentclass{article} \usepackage{pgfplots} \newcommand{\linecolora}{blue}...
11
votes
3answers
470 views

Making register declarations local, Undefining a register (count, toks, etc.)

Is it possible to make \newcount, \newtoks, etc. respect grouping, so that, e.g., \newcount\temp\temp=2{\newcount\temp\temp=1}\showthe\temp gives 2 (instead of 0)? Relatedly, is it possible to ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Length parameter for vertical skip space in a math environment?

I learned here that I can use \\[<len>] to explicitly set the vertical skip space between lines, e.g., <len> set to 3ex. I'd like to set <len> to, say, 2-times the normal length in ...
34
votes
2answers
773 views

What is truecm?

In examples found around the web, some people specify lengths such as width=5truecm with \includegraphics or the geometry package. How is this different from regular 5cm?
12
votes
1answer
719 views

How does PDF or PDF Viewer define a rounding rule for stroke thickness?

I defined a sequence of line segments of different thickness each as follows. \documentclass{article} \usepackage{multido} \parindent=0sp \begin{document} \multido{\dx=0sp+1000sp}{100}{\rule{0.01\...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Where is the left-hand margin?

I'm working on the TikZ-from-TeX-SX package, specifically developing the code for putting equation numbering at places within a tikzpicture environment. To do this, I need to know where the text ...
24
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between \def and \newlength?

I wrote the following LaTeX documents. \documentclass[11pt]{book} \newlength{\mywidth} \newlength{\myheight} \setlength{\mywidth}{85mm} \setlength{\myheight}{112mm} \newcommand{\setpagesize}[2]{% ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

Get current font size as length

I understand from THIS question that the current font size can be determined. But how can I convert this to a length value? \documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{article} \newlength{\mytextsize} %This ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How to enable use of minus and plus in tex documents?

I see many cls files using plus and minus operators to set lengths. How can I use these operators (or some equivalent macro(s)) to do something like the following? \setlength{\lengtha}{.5\textwidth} \...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do \setcounter and \addtocounter commands have global effect, while \setlength and \addtolength commands obey the normal scoping rules?

The \setcounter and \addtocounter commands have global effect, while the \setlength and \addtolength commands obey the normal scoping rules. Why were they designed like this? Why are \setcounter ...
11
votes
2answers
358 views

Compute remaining horizontal space in align environment

I use align* often and sometimes it is preferable to add text to the right hand side of an equation instead of using \intertext, or \shortintertext, which tends to interrupt the math flow. This is ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

Minimum length for \xrightarrow

I want to place text over arrows. The obvious choice is to use the amsmath command \xrightarrow{#1} However, sometimes the text above may be a single digit: %Example 1 \xrightarrow{1} other times ...
6
votes
1answer
282 views

Usage of a saved dimension in another saved dimension in a \pgfdeclareshape command

I have a question about \saveddimen usage inside of a \pgfdeclareshape command. My code is as follows: \documentclass{article} \usepackage{tikz} %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% % \...
11
votes
2answers
538 views

Convert from physical dimensions to axis cs coordinate values

In answering PGFPlots: Howto draw a label at a zero of a function?, I got stuck on converting a length in pt to the actual coordinate value in the axis cs system. Here I only need the x value, but ...
5
votes
2answers
677 views

How to use \textwidth (or any variable) in a picture environment

I don't understand why this doesn't work. I am getting a compile error. Am I missing something? \documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{article} \begin{document} \begin{picture}(0,0) \linethickness{1....
22
votes
5answers
400 views

Test if a given control sequence is a length register

I'm in need of a macro which receives a control sequence as argument and needs to branch if this macro is actually a length (of any kind, e.g. dimen, skip etc.) or "just" a normal macro (including one ...
19
votes
1answer
550 views

Is there an `ex` unit equivalent for the capital 'X' in LaTeX

In LaTeX, the ex unit represents the height of a lowercase 'x' in the current font. Is there a length in LaTeX that represents the height of a capital 'X'?
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Tikz - move/reposition arrow decorations (arrowhead length/size)

I'm trying to build a 'dimension line' macro for Tikz: \documentclass{article} % note: with \documentclass{minimal}, this example fails with: % ! Undefined control sequence. % \pgf@lib@dec@computed@...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a way of limiting the scope of \newlength?

Is there a way of limiting the scope of \newlength? I'm using the same name in many TikZ picture but each with different value, and I don't want it to live on between the pictures as it's not intended ...
12
votes
1answer
8k views

How to fix TikZ node's height with \heightof?

I can use \widthof{text} to fix a minimum width of a TikZ's node. I would like to use \heightof{text} to fix its minimum height but it doesn't work. I just want to fill my nodes with one word but I ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the plain TeX equivalent of \settowidth?

The \settowidth command, which sets a width equal to the width of some text, is described at Get width of a given text as length and How to set the width of the label of a description to the width of ...
21
votes
2answers
716 views

Which is better: a dimension or a macro?

When messing around with TikZ/PGF then I frequently find myself wanting to store a length for later use. By "length" here, I mean the word in its non-TeX meaning. As I'm doing stuff in TikZ/PGF then ...
19
votes
4answers
545 views

Scaling a glue in TeX

is there a possibility to scale a glue in TeX? Consider the following example: \newskip\foo \newskip\bar \foo=10pt plus 2pt minus 3pt \bar=2.5\foo\relax \showthe\foo \showthe\bar \bye When ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I know the default PGF line width?

Is there some macro that will tell me what the default PGF line width is? I have tried creating my own macro by cloning \pgflinewidth before it has been modified, i.e. \let\defaultlinewidth\...
16
votes
3answers
344 views

How to print a length accurately and with user-controlled rounding?

Tried the printlen package, but it seems to not understand what 2.5in means: \documentclass{minimal} \usepackage{printlen} \uselengthunit{in} \begin{document} \newlength{\advertwidth} \setlength{...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

How to use \widthof as parameter to \kern

I sometimes encounter a problem when I attempt to use \widthof from the calc package, and don't know why. In the past I have just worked around it using a two step process of defining a \newdimen{} ...
12
votes
3answers
649 views

Measure the length of the lowercase alphabet

In the memoir manual speaks about measuring the length of the lowercase alphabet in order to decide the numbers of characters per line. Can this be done with LaTeX?
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between \fboxsep=1cm and \setlength{\fboxsep}{1cm}?

Question has been written above.
8
votes
1answer
8k views

How do you increase headrule length in fancyhdr?

It's pretty well-known how to increase the headrule width, but how do I increase its length (i.e. let it run into the margin).