# How to create \topsep when there is no preceding text

The following MWE demonstrates two lists, each of which follows a header. In the first case, the list items are arranged in a single column as usual. In the second case, the list is broken into two columns by way of minipages. Because no text precedes the lists in these minipages, the list parameter \topsep is suppressed, and the lists crowd the header. Is it possible to induce \topsep here in the absence of preceding text? If not, how can vertical space be created to EXACTLY match the \topsep of the first list?

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\noindent
\begin{itemize}
\item First item
\item Second item
\item Third item
\item Fourth item
\end{itemize}

\medskip

\noindent

\noindent
\begin{minipage}[t]{2in}
\begin{itemize}
\item First item
\item Second item
\end{itemize}
\end{minipage}
%
\begin{minipage}[t]{2in}
\begin{itemize}
\item Third item
\item Fourth item
\end{itemize}
\end{minipage}

\end{document}

• Have you tried inserting the instruction \vspace{\topsep}? – Mico Sep 3 '15 at 18:59
• @Mico Yes, but \vspace seems to introduce a new line and I'm not certain how to precisely counteract this. – steven_nevets Sep 3 '15 at 19:03
• Please see the answer I just posted. – Mico Sep 3 '15 at 19:07

Inserting a \vspace{\topsep} instruction between "Header 2" and the start of the minipage should do the job. Note that in the example below, I've switched to a twocolumn layout to ease the visual comparison of the vertical offsets.

\documentclass[twocolumn]{article}
\setlength\parindent{0pt} % just for this example
\begin{document}

\begin{itemize}
\item First item
\item Second item
\item Third item
\item Fourth item
\end{itemize}

\newpage % force a column break

\vspace{\topsep}  % <--- new

\begin{minipage}[t]{1.5in}
\begin{itemize}
\item First item
\item Second item
\end{itemize}
\end{minipage}%
\begin{minipage}[t]{1.5in}
\begin{itemize}
\item Third item
\item Fourth item
\end{itemize}
\end{minipage}

\end{document}

• This works perfectly. In implementing your original suggestion, I mistakenly put the \vspace between the minipage and list. But this created a new line/preceding text which induced and then compounded \topsep! Thanks for the MWE. – steven_nevets Sep 3 '15 at 19:20