I'm assembling my master's thesis in latex, using my university's provided latex style file. They mandate that if you have a long entry in the table of contents / list of figures et cetera, that the resulting multi-line entry be single spaced (vertically) rather than double spaced. Here is the definition for table of contents and the list of figures from their provided style file:

\def\tableofcontents{
\@restonecolfalse
\if@twocolumn\@restonecoltrue\onecolumn\fi
\def\@chapapp{CONTENTS}
\renewcommand{\@chapapp}{CHAPTER}
\@starttoc{toc}\if@restonecol\twocolumn\fi}

\renewcommand*{\l@chapter}     {\@dottedtocline{0}{0em}{1.5em}}


And the list of figures:

\def\listoffigures{
\@restonecolfalse
\if@twocolumn\@restonecoltrue\onecolumn\fi
\chapter*{LIST OF FIGURES\@mkboth{LIST of FIGURES}{LIST OF FIGURES}}
\@starttoc{lof}
\if@restonecol\twocolumn\fi

\def\l@figure{\@dottedtocline{1}{1em}{2.3em}}


I have looked into the tocloft package, but I'm not sure its capabilities address this particular issue. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be very helpful.

• Are you using setspace for the line spacing? If so, could you just put \singlespacing before the tableofcontents etc. part of your thesis? Can you post a link to the thesis class/package? – Alan Munn Jul 18 '11 at 22:33
• Here is the link to the full package. Using \singespacing is forcing the whole table of contents to be single spaced. That has to be double spaced, only single spaced when there is an entry that needs more than one line (don't ask me why...) – Chance Jul 18 '11 at 22:45
• Looking at the example doc source, it seems that the author has put an very ugly hack to achieve what you want: they have repeated the long heading in the optional argument of \subsection and added \protect\vspace{-2ex} and \\. It works, but it's certainly not the best way. So you are right: your problem isn't solved by the package – Alan Munn Jul 18 '11 at 23:37

if you're using setspace you could add two lines to the toc file. before the subsection with the long title, add this line to the main file:
\addtocontents{toc}{\singlespacing}

and then, after that subsection heading is safely out of the way (probably best at the next paragraph break) add a similar \addtocontents{toc}{...} that restores the previous spacing.