I've noted that professional multicolumn documents usually manage to fit the parallel lines. With that I mean that all the lines of both columns are perfectly at the same height. This is achieved by making the paragraph title spaces + title height a multiple of an ordinary line height.

I've seen that this isn't the case for my document. Now, I could calculate and adjust all the section and subsection heights and spaces which would be a lot of work.

Therefore I wanted to ask if there is a LaTeX package that automatically makes sure that lines of two columns are always perfectly at the same height!

Thanks in advance and best regards

  • 1
    It's actually quite tricky in TeX, but the grid-typesetting tag link I added will give you some pointers Jun 9, 2018 at 14:43
  • Is it tricky to the point where you would recommend not going for such a design for a PhD thesis document design? The document would include a large number of within-column figures. So, spaces before and after these figures should be adjusted such that text of both column is always perfectly at the same height. Nature (the scientific journal) manages to do this, for example.
    – mjbeyeler
    Jun 9, 2018 at 14:50
  • 4
    I don't think I've ever seen a 2-col thesis:-) Up to you, try some of the packages and if they work they work, and if they don't, just use a normal tex setting, the impact on the document markup should be small so not something you need to decide in advance Jun 9, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    the reason why it is tricky is most of tex's layout model is based on its "boxes and glue" paradigm and you can't allow any vertical white space to stretch as that will break the grid alignment, it's easy enough to set space around floats and lists etc to fixed amounts but that makes page breaking harder so it takes more manual control. Nature probably uses something like in-design where everything is visual and manually controlled, but fitting manual control into a batch oriented typesetter like latex is challenging. Jun 9, 2018 at 15:27
  • 1
    In fairness I should probably mention that reports are that context is better at this than latex at the present time (tighter interaction with the lua back end of luatex) Jun 9, 2018 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


As the commenters have noted a fully automated TeX solution is not yet available. As noted the grid package is a step on the way. A Glisterings article in TUGboat gives a couple of other partial solutions. One is concerned with paragraphs that have to be set in a different sized font than normal and the other where different font sizes are used in the same paragraph. You can find the article here https://tug.org/TUGboat/tb35-3/tb111glister.pdf and see sections 5 Line backing and 6 Linespacing.

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