I have a LaTeX document (compiling with pdflatex), with the multicols and microtype package enabled.

The document is using two cols using the \begin{multicols}{2} ...\end{multicols} environment.

microtype already does a great job with kerning. But still I have quite a lot of hyphenated words. Often times I have three or even more hyphenated 'lines' in a row.

Is there a way to add a penalty in LaTeX, to only have two hyphenated 'lines' in a row?

1 Answer 1


Since you did not post MWE, just a general advice


sometimes helps. Unfortunately there is no primitive \triplehyphendemerits, which would help in your case.

  • 2
    Isn't \doublehyphendemerits=10000 already the default in (plain) TeX?
    – Mico
    Nov 1, 2011 at 20:29
  • It is in plain and latex. However, without MWE I cannot be sure that some package did not change it at some point...
    – Boris
    Nov 1, 2011 at 20:38
  • 3
    Declaring \sloppy is like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Many hyphens may give a bad result, with \sloppy you're certain to get it. If the columns are narrow, hyphens are a necessary evil.
    – egreg
    Nov 1, 2011 at 20:41
  • I agree with you about the problem caused by the lack of an MWE. Some class files, e.g., suftesi.cls and kluwer.cls, set the \doublehyphendemerits parameter to 100000 and 640000, respectively. On the other hand, the widely-used apa.cls sets this parameter to a fairly permissive 5000. Makes me wonder just how important this parameter is in practice...
    – Mico
    Nov 1, 2011 at 20:43
  • 2
    @Mico Demerits are in units of "badness squared", so the value should be pretty high (100000 is high) in order to give visible results. The difference between 5000 and 10000 is not that significant, then.
    – egreg
    Nov 1, 2011 at 20:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .