There are (at least) two packages you can use to balance a two-column document's column length on the last page: balance and flushend.

Other than the superficial difference of balance requiring an explicit \balance command to be invoked - what are the differences between these two packages? Why was the later package (flushend) conceived when the earlier one exists?

  • Balance: In order to balance the columns on a page, \balance must be given somewhere within the first column. To turn off the feature, give \nobalance. One has to look at the unbalanced text first to decide where best to place \balance.
    – Saravanan
    Aug 3, 2018 at 5:03
  • Flushend: Balanced columns on last page in twocolumn mode.
    – Saravanan
    Aug 3, 2018 at 5:03
  • @Saravanan Do you want to write up an answer?
    – Bobyandbob
    Jan 27, 2019 at 10:53
  • This is a duplicate of tex.stackexchange.com/a/5817/1340. (La)TeX doesn't support a robust way to do the task. Neither package always works, and flushend can also make lines overlap sometimes. Jun 22, 2019 at 10:56
  • 1
    @Blaisorblade: It's a related question, not a duplicate. If you could describe how the packages act different in different situations, that would be a good answer for this question - though perhaps not so much for the other one.
    – einpoklum
    Jun 22, 2019 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


An important difference between the two packages is in the handling of footnotes on the last page. Neither shines at the job, but flushend issues a decent result when balance's is incomprehensible. I think It's better to use the former.

The same two pages using the two packages. First with flusheend.

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Second with balance.

enter image description here enter image description here

The code

\documentclass[11pt, a4paper, twocolumn]{article}
\usepackage[top=105pt, bottom=75pt, left=75pt, right=75pt]{geometry}
\usepackage{amsmath, amssymb, amsthm}

% \usepackage{balance}


\title{A twocolumn document}
% \author{balance}



\section{Using either \texttt{balance} or \texttt{flushend}}



Consider the following drawing\footnote{\lipsum[21]}.
    \draw[thick, fill=blue!50] (0, 0) rectangle (3, 8);
    \draw[thick, fill=orange!70, rotate=10] (0, 0) rectangle (3, 8);
  \caption{Rectangles and colors}


% \balance

As a consequence, we have\footnote{Well, well!  It appears in an
  unexpected place.}



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