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Two related questions:

I think atm I feel that the best and easiest way to avoid widows and orphans is to let the affected pages differ a little in size. Almost no one would recognise it and -- even if -- it might look better than having empty space because of breaking the page earlier to get yet another line on the next page etc.

  1. So what are the arguments against this approach?
  2. Notwithstanding these arguments, how could I automatically achieve it? Maybe even by a global command in the preamble?

marked as duplicate by Joseph Wright Aug 12 '13 at 19:55

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  • I can't tell from your write-up if you've already set the parameters \clubpenalty10000 and \widowpenalty10000? Conversely, do you have a reason for not setting these parameters to (essentially) infinity? – Mico Apr 9 '13 at 6:55
  • Somewhere -- I think probably even here on tex.sx -- I've read a very convincig comment beginning with "do you really know what you do when you use these commands??" and ending with "they should at any rate be avoided, if you want a good result!!" Thus, I am looking for alternatives. Besides, if these commands were the answer to everything regarding widows and orphans, they would probably be more automatically employed. – ClintEastwood Apr 9 '13 at 7:04
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    @ClintEastwood setting the penalties doesn't move any text it just makes it infinitely bad to break at at that point. what else happens depends on other things such as available stretchy glue on the page. As Yiannis indicated if you use raggedbottom then pages will be allowed to run short which is actually the same as your request of allowing them to run long if you increase the default length. – David Carlisle Apr 9 '13 at 8:32
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    \addtolength\textheight\baselineskip changes the default and \enlargethispage{\baselineskip} changes one page – David Carlisle Apr 9 '13 at 10:18