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I am having a strange problem with a document I write. When I insert a table latex produces huge white gaps between the text lines and sends the table to the next page. I thought two possible solutions, either make some minor modifications (to the text or the table) so the table can be fitted to the desired page or force the table to go to the next page by the means of the \newpage command.

My question is more theoretical than practical although if someone has a better solution that would be very nice! So the actual question is :

"Does latex automatic changes the vertical space between line breaks as it does for the horizontal space between the text?"

If it does, it seems strange to me that this is the first time I noticed but maybe this is because I rarely use tables. A minimal example would be this:

    \documentclass{book}
    \usepackage{float}
    \usepackage{tabularx}%expands the tabular environment } 
    \date{}
    \author{Me!}
    \title{Some Book}
    \begin{document}
    \frontmatter%
    \maketitle
    \mainmatter%
    \chapter*{The First Chapter}
    \section*{The first section}
    Some text some text some test Some text some text some test Some    
    some text some test Some text some text some test Some text some text  
    textSome text some text some test Some text some text some test Some 
    text some text some test Some text some text some test Some text some
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    Some text some text some test Some text some text some test Some text 
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    Some text some text some text


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    some text some test Some text some text some test Some text some text 
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    some text some textSome text some text some test Some text some text 
    some test Some text some text some test Some text some text some test 
    Some text some text some text 


    \section*{Some text}

    \large{\begin{center}\begin{tabularx}{\columnwidth}{|c|c|X|}
    \hline
    \textbf{Some text}      &\textbf{Some text} &\textbf{Some text}\\
                               \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline                      
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
                                        \hline
    Some text               &Some text      &Some text\\
    \end{tabularx}
    \end{center}}
    \backmatter%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    \end{document} 

Thanks in advance for any responses!

  • Additional extra space between text and tabular definitely comes from the \begin{center} ... \end{center} An another tip: You can use \usepackage{blindtext} and the \blindtext command to add some dummy text automatically, instead of Some text ;-) – user31729 Apr 18 '14 at 11:06
  • 2
    \large doesn't take an argument. Everything after your tabularx will also be large. Try {\large\centering\begin{tabularx}{...}...\end{tabularx}\par} – Nicola Talbot Apr 18 '14 at 11:28
  • Thanks for the tips! @Nicola I thought that with the brackets I could define the range of the \large command but this apparently is wrong. The mystery remains though :-) – remilt Apr 18 '14 at 12:16
  • The font changing commands are divided into "text block" commands (such as \textbf) that take an argument and "declarations" (such as \bfseries) that act as a switch. The standard font size changing commands are all declarations with no text block equivalents. – Nicola Talbot Apr 18 '14 at 16:32
6

It isn't directly related to tables other than that is a large unbreakable box. The extra white space on page 2 is not inter-line space but inter-paragraph space. In the book class that is 0 but slightly stretchy. book class defaults to \flushbottom so it tries to bring the last line to the bottom of the page, and on that page the only stretch glue is the paragraph skip. You can add \raggedbottom to the preamble (or anywhere before that page) and then the page will be allowed to be short without stretching the space. Of course it is to avoid these problems that it is normal to put large tables and images into a floating environment such as table so that LaTeX can move the table to avoid problems with white space at the page break.

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! I had a hunch that something like that was happening, I am wondering which is the "set" of commands that control the amount of stretching. By the way I thought tabularx was floating but with a quick search in the manual from 1999 haven't found any clue for this. Seemed like a good choice 5 years ago, for a table environment since it had some cool tweaking gadgets, is there a more complete and modern alternative? – remilt Apr 19 '14 at 9:06

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