I am writing a lot of documents mostly with mathematics in them.

I personally leave 1cm space between sections/subsections etc and the text below them and a 0.7cm space between text and math formulae. Also an 0.3cm space between paragraphs. I have adjusted these values only because I like the output.

There are a lot more customizations that I use for example I always use \displaystyle (although there are a lot of you that have warned me against it and I believe that there is a good reason for it, but I really like it), also I don't want to mix text and math so I generally place math in a new line (with a space of 0.7cm as I said).

Sometimes I make up my mind and I change the spaces I use or some of the other customizations...

So I would like to ask all of you writing documents (books included) is there any special way or special rules that someone must follow for the size of the formulae or the spaces or generally for the output? Are you following any guidelines? When someone is being given a manuscript to typeset does he do whatever he likes based on the output or is he following some rules?

For instanse when I want to write different sentences I leave a space of 0.3cm as you can see:

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  • 5
    I suggest using just basic LaTeX with NO special formatting whatsoever. The thing is that you can customise as much as you like but when you publish it then the journal will make it conform to their style, undoing all of your much loved personal settings. Ultimately, it is a waste of time to worry about these things.
    – user30471
    Oct 20, 2014 at 5:33
  • 1
    Your question is complex and difficult to answer categorically in a few lines. First your question implies a not very common orthotypographical domain in mathematics. I don't remember seeing many books about it, I know of one that can come in handy and help dispel doubts just I don't remember the title name right now. You'll have to wait until tomorrow I can go to the library and see. Secondly, your question has to do with style conventions that may vary from country to country, or from language to language, not to mention from publisher to publisher.
    – Aradnix
    Oct 20, 2014 at 5:45
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    My suggestion: if it works do not fix it. TeX was created by someone with a pretty good typographic culture, although it is not perfect, he was careful to take care of the proportions between the different elements that compose it refers to mathematics rather than precise dimensions in these items.
    – Aradnix
    Oct 20, 2014 at 5:46
  • 4
    There should be no explicit spacing within the document, the layout decisions of the type you mention should be specified in the document class and therefore be easily changed when changing document class (eg to submit to a journal using a specific design). LaTeX documents with explicit spacing are far less useful (and often need to be completely re-keyed if submitted fro publication) Oct 20, 2014 at 8:27
  • 1
    well again that is just zero parindent and non zero parskip, I hope you are not adding space explicitly between the paragraphs with \vspace etc? the paragraph space should be set globally (or in the definition of an environment) Oct 21, 2014 at 1:19

1 Answer 1


Quite a bit of guidance is provided by Mathematics into Type, by Ellen Swanson and published by the American Mathematical Society: http://www.ams.org/arc/styleguide/mit-2.pdf

There is also some information in the Chicago Manual of Style.

Those are both American references. I assume the ISO-80000-2 standard is preferred in Europe. You can find a list a references related to the ISO standard at the end of isomath.pdf, which is the documentation for that package and should be included in your Latex distribution if you use Texlive or one of its derivatives. On my system, I found it at (installation-dir)/texmf-dist/doc/latex/isomath/isomath.pdf.

  • This is one of the rare cases where I think ISO goofed. There are pretty much useless claims in those standards that nobody uses. And also it is a matter of taste so these sources are just pushing one type of notation to everyone as writings on the stone.
    – percusse
    Oct 20, 2014 at 20:27

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