I'm having difficulties with the exact spacing in the frontpage matter of my dissertation. I need exactly 2 inches from the top of the page to the page/chapter title. They are close, but not exact. Can anyone help me identify where the inconsistencies are coming from?

Here's an example where I need the space from the margin to the title to be exactly 1 inch (the margin provides an additional 1 inch to bring it to a total of 2 inches).

\usepackage[showframe]{geometry} %page margins
\usepackage{setspace} %\singlespacing, \doublespacing
\usepackage{tocloft} %change formatting of the toc, tot, and tof
\usepackage{titlesec} %change chapter title formatting \titleformat
\usepackage{lipsum} %nonsense text for testing


% To make changing the line spacing easier on multiple pages, I've created a command for each spacing.
\setlength{\onelinespace}{12pt} %should be same value as font size
\setlength{\oneinchspace}{32pt} %not sure why this needs to be 32... but it makes the spaces just below the top margin about 1 inch.

% chapter titles are bold, capitals, and the chapter heading and title are on the same line, and the title is single spaced.
\titleformat{\chapter}[block]{\filcenter\normalfont\normalsize\bfseries\singlespacing}{\MakeUppercase{\chaptertitlename}\ \thechapter:}%
{1ex}%space between the CHAPTER 1: and the name of the chapter

{0in} %left margin
{\oneinchspace} %top margin
{\onelinespace} %space underneath title (one space)

% Try to get consistent vertical spacing


\vspace*{\oneinchspace} %only goes about 0.875 inches below margin

%\hfill on both sides creates centering for title of toc.
\renewcommand{\contentsname}{\hfill\normalsize\textbf{TABLE OF CONTENTS}\hfill} 
\renewcommand{\cftaftertoctitle}{\hfill} %toc should fill entire page horizontally
%This page doesn't need a \vspace  because it is a \chapter* and includes the space automatically. Only goes about 0.945 inches below margin

\chapter{Introduction} %only goes 0.893 inches below margin


Page 1 title only goes about 0.875 inches below margin.

Page 2 title only goes about 0.945 inches below margin.

Page 3 title only goes about 0.893 inches below margin.

They should all be exactly 1 inch.

Also, why does 32pt spacing in my code above create ~1 inch spacing?

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1 Answer 1


If someone would fail a dissertation because a preface heading .055in too high, I think I'd just tell them not to be silly, and that you were not interested in their opinions of your work. But anyway assuming that isn't an option....

If you want exact measurements in inches you will find it more convenient to use in units than pt which are 1/72.27 of an inch.

It isn't clear what distance you are measuring, from the physical top of the page, or from the top of the text area below the page head, and to the baseline of the title, or to the top of the letters in the title?

The spacing is inconsistent as you specified different amounts

page 1

\vspace*{\oneinchspace} %only goes about 0.875 inches below margin

that is 32pt plus the space added by center which is actually a stretchy amount so depends on other items on the page. (use \centering if you want to specify centering without adding vertical space)

At the top of the page is also the height of the (empty) page head, and \topmargin and possibly \topskip etc. so the exact space you need to add depends on several factors.

On page 2 you have

%This page doesn't need a \vspace  because it is a \chapter* 

which is true but it is inside the scope of singlespace so the baseline spacing will be affected.

on page 3 you have


which is not in the scope of singlespace, so spaced differently to page 2.

So I would forget about the weird \oneinchspace length which is set to 0.4428in and instead set the

{0in} %left margin
{.5in} %top margin
{\baselineskip} %space underneath title (one space)

adjust the .5in here so that your \chapter commands staring on page 3 do whatever you want.

then go back to the frontmatter and just measure them and if they are .3in too high, add


at the top of the page, or whatever is needed.

  • I instituted the weird \oneinchspace length and \onelinespace length to make it easier for someone else to change the font size from 12 pt to 10 pt, for example, and not have to manually change a lot of spacing values. Your answer helps me see a better way to do this. Does the {.5in} in \titlespacing measure from the bottom of the \topmargin to the TOP of the line of text? Or does it somehow rely on the font size?
    – jon692
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:56
  • @jkmey well certainly I'd use \baselineskip (or perhaps better \normalbaselineskip rather than \onelinespace the baseline spacing is usually larger than the font size. the \oneinchspace doesn't really help as you have headings of different font sizes and different existing spacing so the corrections you need to add vary (and will vary by different amounts if you change the document fontsize option) as changing from 12pt to 10pt lots of other spaces will change, topmargin, headheight etc. Oct 3, 2017 at 22:02

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