This is a general question really, on finding a good layout for a very dense text which I'm going to reformat.

There are illustrations, but it's mostly text (see screen capture), with tables here and there (some of which span three or four full width pages), and, as you might guess, a very large table of content + index. In its LibreOffice version, the book is between 300 and 400 single-spaced pages.

I've looked at the Tufte design, which is lovely, but would create a really long document since it only has a single column. I've looked (and am working on) a book design with two columns, but I'm struggling with the sort of margin I should give it, etc.

So, before going any further, I though of asking around: would any of you have a suggestion on the sort of layout or template I should look into for this sort of dense text? The original is hard to get through, because of the information it covers, but also because of its horrible layout, which, obviously, I'd like to improve.


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  • 3
    this is certainly going to be subjective, but here are some things i'd do. i'd try to avoid very short last lines of paragraphs (a recent question covered that). i'd leave a blank line before section headings; a whole line, to keep baselines aligned across columns. i'd consider adding "informative" running heads, so that a reader can find pages more easily. you really don't want to made the columns narrower; line breaking would be more difficult, and more likely to result in uneven spacing. – barbara beeton Feb 9 '17 at 23:23
  • Thanks Barbara. Subjective is good! No other sort of answer possible anyway. In my current design, the columns are narrower, and you are correct: the line breaks don't look so good. I guess I'll just have to accept the overall wall-o-text feel this imparts. And it'll be footnotes, period, as there won't be any room for margins. As for columns proportions, I'll take a peek at layout proportions. Octavo might be a good one to look into actually, as this exchange suggests: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/55502/… Thanks again. – CyanideBaby Feb 10 '17 at 7:57
  • Actually, Octavo is not good: too small! Onward. – CyanideBaby Feb 10 '17 at 8:11
  • Related answer: tex.stackexchange.com/a/72785/11604 – Fran Feb 12 '17 at 2:43
  • About last lines: tex.stackexchange.com/a/185536/11604 – Fran Feb 12 '17 at 2:47

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