I am using the quotchap package to format chapter headings in a document. Is it possible to change the default font size for the chapter headings? For example, in the document.tex file at the above URL, what would need to be changed to make the title smaller?

I could of course just use

\chapter{\small Quote to be quoted}

but this messes up things like tables of contents and running headers, and the font size applies to those too.

Thanks for any help!

  • Using quotchap, there might be an intervention necessary if you wish to align the number and the heading on the right side.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 0:36

3 Answers 3


quotchap uses this command to specify the size of the chapter heading:


In your document, after loading quotchap, you could to the same but with another font size command, for instance:


You have to write \makeatletter ... \makeatother around the command to be able to use the @ sign in the command name.

If you would like to adjust more than just the size: quotchap calls a macro \sectfont that may be redefined to switch to a certain font family, shape or weight. For instance, regarding Levs answer concerning a condensed version, using condensed Helvetica could be done by

\usepackage{helvet}% if desired

\sectfont is used automatically for all quotchap chapter headings.


Stefan already answered how to set the default size, but I'll point out that you can use \chapter{\small Quote to be quoted} in a way which doesn't mess up the running headings and the table of contents. The \chapter command has an optional argument, which is used for the Table of Contents and running headings, so you could use:

\chapter[Quote to be quoted]{\small Quote to be quoted}

or, as I've sometimes done when my documentclass uses a font that comes in both regular and condensed versions (eg, Helvetica) as the chapter typeface: for a problematic chapter with a long title, I've switched to the condensed version for that chapter only:

\chapter[Shorter version of long title]%
  {\fontseries{mc}\selectfont Very very long title}

This is not great, because breaks the consistency of the document design, but only in a fairly subtle way, and sometimes it is the lesser evil.

  • Good general addition! I would go a bit further and define the heading font already once in the preamble and use that macro later like \chapter[Shorter version]{\chapterfont Long version}. For this, I'll edit my answer above regarding quotchap features specifically.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 23:18
  • I didn't write it very clearly, but the situation I'm thinking of is one where I've already globally set Helvetica (regular, non-condensed) as the font for all chapter headings, but for a specific extra long chapter heading I "cheat" by using the condensed version. I don't want to set \fontseries{mc} for all chapters, but nor do I want the table of contents line for that chapter to be condensed. I edited my answer to try to clarify.
    – Lev Bishop
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 1:56
  • Fine, it's clear now.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 10:59

Stefan's answer is direct and as always absolutely spot on. Of course, if you do decide to change quotchap's heading size, you might now want to alter the "aesthetics" of the whitespace on the page, relocating the heading placement up or down. If so, then try this, experimenting with the numbers as you go...

\renewcommand*{\chapterheadstartvskip}{\vspace*{-0.5\baselineskip}} % quotchap default is 2.3; some negative amount will place you at the very top of the page
\renewcommand*{\chapterheadendvskip}{\vspace{1.3\baselineskip}}     % quotchap default is 1.7

Just for fun, here's some code to change the volume of whitespace around quotchap chapter headers in non-mainmatter parts of your document (\frontmatter, \appendix, \backmatter)...



Happy TeXing, astrofrog!

  • Very good addition! KOMA-Script classes support those commands as well, it's good that quotchap provides the same.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 0:33
  • A very useful answer... to a different question. :p Maybe I should ask "How do I change the amount of whitespace in quotchap headings?" just so this answer can be accepted in the right place?
    – Warrick
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 14:23

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