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How much vertical space is left after the enumerate environment and how much space is the default between the items?

  • I want to be able to use \vspace{ } to create a space equal to space after enumerate – Moz Nov 7 '15 at 2:51
  • Oh. Well, that might be possible. But it is unlikely because it is unlikely that there is any such space. By default, the space will be stretchy. How much space? How stretchy? Well, it depends. You've said nothing which suggests, as of now, that it doesn't depend. In fact, you've told us nothing at all. – cfr Nov 7 '15 at 2:59
  • You're thinking in terms of fixed spacing. But TeX depends heavily, by default, on stretchy spacing. So if you try to get the space at, say, the start of a section or something, there is no such space in the sense that there is no such rigid space. There's stretchy space. But even that obviously depends on all kinds of factors to do with class, options and packages. All the stuff you know and we don't. But if you are looking for a rigid length type answer, there is unlikely to be one which is true. Although it does, obviously, depend. – cfr Nov 7 '15 at 3:02
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    do you really mean "horizontal"? this sounds more like a question about vertical spacing. – barbara beeton Nov 7 '15 at 17:24
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This is a little complicated. If you wish to adjust such settings you are strongly advised to use the enumitem package, as in Vertical space in lists .

The amount of vertical space added after the list depends firstly on which document class your are using and the nesting depth of the enumeration. Usually the relevant value for the final vertical skip is the sum of \topsep and \partopsep. When you are in a particular list you can display the values of these macros via \the\topsep and \the\parttopsep. The actual skip used is \@topsepadd. At a top level in a standard article document one has

Sample output

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\begin{enumerate}
\item \verb+\topsep+: \the\topsep
\item \verb+\partopsep+: \the\partopsep
\item \verb+\@topsepadd+: \makeatletter\the\@topsepadd\makeatother
\end{enumerate}
\end{document}

If you add \showoutput to the above document, one indeed sees

...\glue 10.0 plus 3.0 minus 5.0

after the enumeration. So the equivalent \vspace command would be

\vspace{10pt plus 3pt minus 5pt}

Note that this not a fixed size of 10pt, but something that can stretch or shrink around that value. However, the exact computation of \@topsepadd and other vertical spacing added at this point is more complicated and one has to dig through the details in source2e to get the full story.

Similarly vertical space between items is controlled by \itemsep. In the above example it is again a glue value, this time 4.0pt plus 2.0pt minus 1.0pt.

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