I have read a few posts about the changes to LaTeX in the upcoming "version", are there planned any changes to how LaTeX renders typography? Regarding kerning, spacing and all the "fancy" things microtype does today. I know that LaTeX has some problems with rivers and lakes today, and I do not know if those are possible to fix. But in that regard does LaTeX3 do anything different, for improved typography? This is not a critique, just a question from a curious user. If there are any improvements, a list and some examples would be much appreciated.

  • 1
  • 1
    I would consider the ongoing development of packages (which makes doing things easier) as typographical improvements. But maybe that's off the mark of what you are asking. Jun 22, 2013 at 16:50
  • IMHO none of the problems you mention (e.g. rivers and lakes) can be changed at the macro level - unless one takes the ConTeXt approach and reimplements parts of TeX in Lua (e.g. the parbuilder). AFAIK this is not planned for LaTeX3 as LaTeX tries to be engine-agnostic. Jun 22, 2013 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


The purpose of LaTeX3 is to enable typographical improvements rather than to provide them.

The stable bits (, , , among others) have so far provided more flexible ways to program LaTeX. Next on the agenda (according to this thread on the LaTeX3 list) is the template concept, since

the output and galley ideas need template, template needs xparse and xparse needs expl3.

The template concept (see Using LaTeX3’s xtemplate ) or the proposed CSS-like “LaTeX Database (LDB)” are still works-in-progress, but it is there that many typographical improvements will become possible. (Others will require the output and galley ideas, which are further yet from reality.)

But these all relate to making accessible what TeX already makes possible. Things like microtype or river-detection require modifications of the engine itself. This has been done—the additions of microtype in PDFTeX and XeTeX are examples—but the easiest way to implement such changes is to use the hooks LuaTeX provides.

I hope that a LaTeX3-based format, being more modular and having a better separation of responsibilities, will allow for “cleaner” Lua-based changes to the typesetting process, but that would be the extent of LaTeX3’s involvement in these changes.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .