If I have a minipage


How can I determine its height and save this value as a length?


2 Answers 2



If you also want to typeset the minipage you may want to save it in a box and instead say


rather than typesetting it twice once just for measuring purposes.

  • Thanks, this seems to work. However, if I use a complicated content in the minipage (a large tikz image), I get a ! TeX capacity exceeded, sorry [input stack size=5000] error.
    – Carlos
    Mar 3, 2013 at 10:27
  • Yes, both versions fail due to the same error but the standalone minipage works. I use this code in a \newcommand environment, so I have something like \newsavebox{\sb}\newcommand{\cmd}[1]{ \savebox{\b}{...minipage{#1}...}\settoheight{\foo}{\usebox{\sb}}\print{\usebox{\sb}} }.
    – Carlos
    Mar 3, 2013 at 10:37
  • the newcommand there will add one extra input stack entry so you could try it without that. On the version that works what is the line in the log (about 8 lines from the end) file that looks like 63i,9n,74p,723b,1727s stack positions out of 5000i,500n,10000p,200000b,50000s in particular what is the first number before i I suspect that you only just made it:-) Mar 3, 2013 at 10:55
  • 5000i,10n,75p,552b,1292s stack positions out of 5000i,500n,10000p,200000b,50000s. Please excuse me blowing up this rather simple question, but there seems to be a problem with the whole \savebox formalism when I use it in a tikz node. Probably my problem is related to that.
    – Carlos
    Mar 3, 2013 at 11:03
  • your tikz code used up the entire save stack 5000 out of 5000 that means you are living on borrowed time, one more newcommand or input or a passing butterfly and your document will fail. Possibly you should ask a tikz specific question with an example and ask why it has eaten so much save stack. Mar 3, 2013 at 11:32

We can also directly use savebox. Note that if you're using this in a command you need to define the box outside of the command. MWE to follow:

        \begin{minipage}{\hintscolumnwidth - \separatorcolumnwidth}

For context, I use this in modern-cv to leave a comment in the left column (the dates column), and that's where \hintscolumnwidth, \hintstyle, etc. come from.

In the above, I've defined the box hintbox outside of the command. I typeset a minipage inside hintbox, and display it using usebox. The whole point is that since I have it in a box, I can now measure its height \ht\hintbox and scale it appropriately to bring up content that comes after the use of the command such that the box doesn't take vertical space.

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