# Reduce the space between label and item in a description list

I have description lists that I'm using discursively, like

\begin{description}
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{description}


Unfortunately this renders with a space between the label and the item that is larger than the regular space between words on the same line:

Is there anything I can do to make that space between "Video recordings" and "arguably" equal to that between "arguably" and "produced" and so on?

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{enumitem}
\begin{document}

\begin{description}[labelsep=\fontdimen2\font]
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{description}

\end{document}


To control the space between the label and the item, you can change the labelsep parameter of the description list (available from the enumitem package). To obtain the regular word spacing, you need \fontdimen2 (the normal interword space) for labelsep. This is done by passing:

[labelsep=\fontdimen2\font]


as an option to the description environment.

• This will not stretch or shrink, so it won't actually be like the other interword spaces in the line unless the item is just one line long or you're very lucky. – egreg Sep 9 '15 at 20:23

Loading enumitem, you can play with labelsep:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{enumitem}

\begin{document}

\begin{description}[labelsep=0pt]
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{description}

\begin{description}[labelsep=2cm]
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{description}

\end{document}


• Apparently our solutions weren't acceptable ;-) (+1) – user31729 Sep 9 '15 at 20:17
• @Christian Hupfer: What the O.P. wanted was not very explicit, but AboAmmar was smarter than us – he guessed. – Bernard Sep 9 '15 at 20:22
• Yes, the question was not very clear – user31729 Sep 9 '15 at 20:23

It's possible, by stretching a bit the list model; in the case of description it's not really a big problem provided you don't nest enumerated lists inside description.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum} % for context

\makeatletter
\renewenvironment{description}
{\list{}{%
\labelwidth\z@
\itemindent-\leftmargin
\labelsep=\z@
\let\makelabel\descriptionlabel
\let\item\desc@item
}}
{\endlist}
\def\desc@item[#1]{\@item[#1]\ \ignorespaces}
\makeatother

\begin{document}
\lipsum*[2]
\begin{description}

\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.

\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you! Some text that should
make the~text~wrap over a couple of lines

\end{description}
\end{document}


A magnified view (click on it for even higher resolution)

• @ChristianHupfer You need glasses. – egreg Sep 9 '15 at 20:29
• @ChristianHupfer I'll add a high resolution screenshot. – egreg Sep 9 '15 at 20:33
• @ChristianHupfer The distances are supposed to be different! – egreg Sep 9 '15 at 20:39

A mild alternative to egreg's answer if you want to intermix the regular description with a modified bfdesc:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[paper=a6paper,showframe]{geometry}% Just for this example

\newenvironment{bfdesc}
{\begin{description}
\let\olditem\item
\renewcommand{\item}[1][]{%
\olditem% Set old \item without [..]
\hspace*{-\labelsep}% Remove \labelsep
{\bfseries ##1}% Set new \item
\space% Insert space (\ )
\ignorespaces}}% Ignore any following spaces
{\end{description}}

\begin{document}

\begin{description}
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{description}

\begin{bfdesc}
\item[Video recordings] arguably produced the richest part of the data set.
\item[Questionnaires] were no second, mind you!
\end{bfdesc}

\end{document}