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A description of the behavior I would like:

I have a very long list of procedural steps. Each step must have an image and a block of text. Since each step only really needs the half the width of a landscape page, my initial thought was to place this list of steps in a five-column table, where:

  • Step 1 is placed in row 1, columns 1-2 of the five-column table
  • Step 2 is placed in row 2, columns 1-2 of the five-column table
  • ...
  • Step 5 is placed in row 1, column 4-5 of the five-column table
  • Step 6 is placed in row 2, column 4-5 of the five-column table

until the table fills the page (column 3 of the five-column table is simply used to add space between columns 2 and 4). So far, I have this behavior working.

Now, I would like for this table to be able to span multiple pages, and in doing so, the table described above continues with:

  • Step 7 is placed in row 1, columns 1-2 of a five-column table, on the second page
  • Step 8 is placed in row 2, columns 1-2 of a five-column table, on the second page
  • ...
  • Step 12 is placed in row 1, columns 4-5 of a five-column table, on the second page
  • Step 13 is placed in row 2, columns 4-5 of a five-column table, on the second page

and so on for as many pages as needed. There should also be some space at the footer of each page allowing for some brief notes about a given step that appears on that page.

A description of some constraints on the way I would like to input this in the source file:

Since I am using enumerate to number the steps, I would like to write the entire content sequentially in the source file, such that they will appear "snaking" across multiple pages, as described above, in the output. Otherwise, I end up needing multiple \begin{enumerate} ... \end{enumerate} sections, and having to pre-calculate what item numbers to begin with in the last column for every page (i.e. 5 and 12 in the above description), and this becomes extremely tedious when considering many tables, and lots of content to keep updating/replacing.

Can someone help me create an environment that will allow me to make this content, given the above descriptions?

A single page I created to illustrate what one page might look like:

(but here I am still using multiple \begin{enumerate} ... \end{enumerate} sections which is undesirable)

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{longtable}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{todonotes}
\usepackage{pdflscape}
\usepackage{tabu}
\usepackage{fancyhdr}

\topmargin -2cm
\oddsidemargin -0.7cm
\textwidth 18 cm 
\textheight 24cm
\footskip 1.0cm
\pagestyle{fancy}
\fancyhf{}

\begin{document}
\begin{landscape}
\subsubsection{some section name here} \label{somesection}
\thispagestyle{empty}
\begin{center}
\begin{tabular}{| m{2in} | m{2.2in} | m{0.01\textwidth} | m{2in} | m{2.2in} |}
\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} & 
\begin{enumerate}
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
& & \missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} & 
\begin{enumerate}
\addtocounter{enumi}{4}
\item  hi
\end{enumerate}
\\  [4pt]
\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} & 
\begin{enumerate}
\addtocounter{enumi}{1}
\item bla
\item bla
\end{enumerate}
& & \missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} & 
\begin{enumerate}
\addtocounter{enumi}{5}
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
\\  [4pt]
\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} & 
\begin{enumerate}
\addtocounter{enumi}{3}
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
& & \missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{} &
\begin{enumerate}
\addtocounter{enumi}{6}
\item $\dagger$~hi
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
 \\  [4pt]
\end{tabular}
\end{center}
\vspace{0.2in}
$\dagger$~~hello there, some notes here about step 7
\end{landscape}
\end{document}

If this list of steps had more then 8 steps, then the page after this would look very similar, but would not have a section name, would begin with 9 instead of 1, and would proceed down columns 1-2 first, then down columns 4-5.

  • 1
    don't use a table, just use a single enumerate list and put it in a 4-column multicols environment – David Carlisle Dec 9 '17 at 21:50
  • @DavidCarlisle I just tried your multicols suggestion but could not get the desired results. The behavior I see here is that any overflowing content from the first column is simply pushed into the second column. This is not what I want. What I want are pairs of items appearing in columns 1 and 2, and if any element of the pair is to overflow its column, then both, i.e. paired, elements are pushed to column 3-4. Similarly, any overflowing pairs from columns 3-4 should go to the next page in columns 1-2. Perhaps you could provide an example or more instructions? – Raj Setty Dec 10 '17 at 19:36
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I think you are looking for something like

enter image description here

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{longtable}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{todonotes}
\usepackage{pdflscape}
\usepackage{tabu}
\usepackage{fancyhdr}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{enumitem}
\topmargin -2cm
\oddsidemargin -0.7cm
\textwidth 18 cm 
\textheight 24cm
\footskip 1.0cm
\pagestyle{fancy}
\fancyhf{}

\begin{document}
\begin{landscape}
\begin{multicols}{2}
\subsubsection{some section name here} \label{somesection}
\thispagestyle{empty}
\raggedright

\raisebox{-.8\height}{\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{}}\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{\dimexpr\columnwidth-2.2in\relax}
\begin{enumerate}[series=zz]
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
\end{minipage}

\raisebox{-.8\height}{\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{}}\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{\dimexpr\columnwidth-2.2in\relax}
\begin{enumerate}[resume=zz]
\item bla
\item bla
\end{enumerate}
\end{minipage}

\raisebox{-.8\height}{\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{}}\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{\dimexpr\columnwidth-2.2in\relax}
\begin{enumerate}[resume=zz]
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
\end{minipage}


\raisebox{-.8\height}{\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{}}\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{\dimexpr\columnwidth-2.2in\relax}
\begin{enumerate}[resume=zz]
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
\end{minipage}

\raisebox{-.8\height}{\missingfigure[figwidth=2in]{}}\hfill
\begin{minipage}[t]{\dimexpr\columnwidth-2.2in\relax}
\begin{enumerate}[resume=zz]
\item $\dagger$~hi
\item hi
\end{enumerate}
\end{minipage}

\bigskip

$\dagger$~~hello there, some notes here about step 7
\end{multicols}
\end{landscape}
\end{document}
  • Almost perfect, thanks! I still can't fix a few issues (screenshot), probably because I am not so familiar with commands: (1) [resume] argument does not seem to be working; shouldn't the numbers continue sequentially instead of starting with 1 every time? (2) The vertical spacing between images seems to vary on different pages (3) "!" symbols appear next to the images except in col. 1 – Raj Setty Dec 10 '17 at 23:14
  • @RajSetty sorry I messed up the enumitem package resume syntax, try now. – David Carlisle Dec 11 '17 at 0:51
  • This works! For my continued education in LaTeX, were the upside-down exclamation points also removed by this syntax change? They are no longer present and I am trying to understand what fixed this. – Raj Setty Dec 11 '17 at 1:01
  • @RajSetty I had a completely spurious < in the first version (which makes that character in OT1 encoding) I can't guess what I was trying to type just caught the key by accident I would guess:-) – David Carlisle Dec 11 '17 at 9:07

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