I'm new to LaTeX and I'm getting a bit annoyed at the way stuff is just shoved where ever LaTeX feels like sticking it. I'm also enamoured with some of the other things the programme has done, so I'm not running off yet.

I'm curious though how others work with this - do people find that they spend a lot of time at the end arranging things that LaTeX has got wrong or do people just accept it?

I've read that it's a different way of working, and that LaTeX knows best. But some of the things that It's chosen to do are (in my opinion) objectively wrong.

  • Splitting an itemized list across a page - surely that's not done?

  • Having images a chapter after the section they're relevant to - must be wrong (though hard for an algorithm to catch)

I'm curious how others work with this, I'm currently working on something that has a lot of images, I have many screen-shots to display how to make a table in Access (woo!) and the whole thing is rather tricky.

Cheers all.

  • 2
    (1) You can avoid splitting of a list across a page boundary and yes, this is done; (2) Having "images a chapter after the section they're relevant to" means you're doing something wrong. In answer to your general question: There are some things that is left for end-of-production, yes. In the meantime, you leave those things to the end.
    – Werner
    Dec 21, 2014 at 3:50
  • 1
    Using the placeins package you can force figures into the same section.
    – Juri Robl
    Dec 21, 2014 at 8:45
  • 2
    Let me ask: Do you tend to inserts lots of [h] location specifiers when creating figure and table environments? For an in-depth explanation of how LaTeX places such environments, see the posting How to influence the position of float environments like figure and table in LaTeX?
    – Mico
    Dec 21, 2014 at 8:50
  • 5
    In most document classes floats will not float past a chapter end so if they are doing so for you then probably you are doing something wrong but if you don't show any code it is hard to guess. Dec 21, 2014 at 14:33
  • 1
    frank mittelbach reformulated the material in the post cited by @Mico for tugboat. the article will be accessible electronically only to tug members until late next year, 2015, so i'm linking the contents for that issue, 35:3; the article begins on p.248. Dec 21, 2014 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


To address your questions in order:

  1. LaTeX has a formal algorithm for how it handles floats. It cannot, for example, fit a figure where there is no space. You can alter the parameters which affect these calculations (see http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=floats)
  2. Most people ignore the placement while developing the document, allowing LaTeX to put the figures where it wants for the moment, and only look at changing things once development of the text is complete. Never hard-wire the placement of a float too early in the timescale, as the Fates will ensure that you edit the text later, and invalidate what you have done :-)
  3. It's very common to split an itemised list over a page boundary, especially if it is long (I use a rule-of-thumb of five items). If it's very long, you probably can't avoid it taking more than one page anyway. I would be interested to know where you read that it wasn't done. What should be avoided is having the first item alone at the bottom of a right-hand page, or the last item alone at the top of a left-hand page (for double-sided work; any page in respect of single-sided).
  4. LaTeX will not place figures in a chapter after the one in which they they occur in the code, so I'm not clear what your question refers to. LaTeX will gather all figures together at the end of a chapter if it encounters an insoluble placement problem earlier in the chapter: this is a signal to you to fix the problem. If figures are being placed after the section in which they occur, move them earlier in the code.
  5. The specific problem of documentation, which has huge numbers of screenshots and very little text, is sometimes not solvable with the standard floating mechanism, which relies on their being a good chunk of breakable text between figures. In this case, use the float package, which has a placement parameter H which creates a non-floating figure. Don't use regular floats in combination with this, though, as it will break the floating mechanism and your figures will appear out of order. Probably better not to use floats at all for tech doc, but a properly-designed environment that keeps the image and the text together on the page.

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