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I'm helping my girlfriend with her thesis - she wants to eliminate the gap between section headings and the following text. I tried loading the titlesec package, but I get an error if I do:

Error: Entered in horizontal mode.

I've traced the error to the section heading definition in the custom class file we're using. It specifically seems to be the call to #1, but that is pretty crucial...!

MWE:

\documentclass[12pt]{mwe}

\setlength{\parskip}{2ex}

\usepackage{titlesec}
\titlespacing{\section}{0pt}{1.0ex plus -1ex minus -.2ex}{-\parskip}

\begin{document}

\section*{Abstract}
I want this text to be up against the section heading

\end{document}

And this is the problematic excerpt from the cls:

\newcommand{\sect@format}[1]{%
  \noindent\protect{%
    \@tempdima=\hsize
    \parbox{0.99\@tempdima}{%
      \smallskip\section@font%
      \textcolor{\section@colour}{#1}\smallskip
    }%
  }%
}%
\sectionfont{\sect@format}

The class file is one I was given for own thesis some time ago, and not something that desperately needs to remain unaltered if there is a better way.

  • Just noticed that the cls file contains the following caveat: % We have to do it this way because pdflatex sometimes screws up the colour of text if we do it the sensible way. – etiene Jul 6 '18 at 10:22
  • Welcome to TeX SX! What is the .cls file really used? – Bernard Jul 6 '18 at 10:24
  • Thanks. It's a Cambridge University Engineering Department one, but not the one that can be found online. Not sure where I can put the whole thing - hence the extract. I've managed to recreate mostly with the titleformat command now - can't get the colour to change though, and haven't found the right option to put the section number in the margin as was done by the above. – etiene Jul 6 '18 at 10:55
  • You could use, if allowed by your uni to make it public, e.g. pastebin – nox Jul 6 '18 at 10:58
  • It's not a university affiliated one, AFAIK - pastebin.com/ZGM7Puwi – etiene Jul 6 '18 at 11:03
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Well, I haven't solved the conflict between the cls file and titlesec, per se - but I have managed to get what I want with the removal of the excerpt quoted above and the addition to the cls file of:

\usepackage{titlesec}
\titleformat{\section}{\normalfont\selectfont\large\color{CambridgeDeepBlue}}{\llap{\hspace* .   {-\mylen}\thesection\hfill}}{0em}{}[]
\titlespacing{\section}{0pt}{1.0ex plus -1ex minus -.2ex}{-\parskip}

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