As opposed to this question: Squeezing scientific paper to fit within page limits, I would like to find as many ways to make a document become longer without adding any real text.

The motivation for this is that for example a mathematical thesis is usually very thin and it might not look good. The "rules" are following:

  • The document should still "look good" (I mean, triple line-spacing or \textwidth=0.3\paperwitdh are not the options).
  • The typography should be correct in the final document.

I would like the ideas to be accompanied by a package name or a code snippet that allows them.

I know that the question might be vague and allows lots of "stupid" solutions. But I hope that everybody feels what they would use and what they would not.

  • 8
    @tohecz The goodness of a mathematics thesis is normally inversely proportional to the number of pages. A "thin" thesis generally is a good thing if it covered the subject adequately. May 3, 2012 at 10:32
  • 1
    Full ACK to what @YiannisLazarides says: Maths is the only subject where it is a special mark of honor to submit a thesis with less than 10 pages consisting of a single theorem and proof. May 3, 2012 at 10:37
  • 1
    @YiannisLazarides -- You make an excellent observation. However, I believe, the intent of the OP's posting is orthogonal to your point. I see it, rather, as a tongue-firmly-in-cheek way of aiding reviewers in spotting thinly (and even not-so-thinly) disguised attempts to make a paper that's thin on substance look like there's more to it than there is to it. As such, the uses of this sort-of guide may lie more outside the field of mathematics.
    – Mico
    May 3, 2012 at 10:38
  • 2
    I don't know how precisely to achieve this, but use \raggedbottom and some penalty tweaks to push TeX into "always" ensuring page breaks between, and not within, paragraphs. May 3, 2012 at 10:49
  • 1
    @Mico Good point:) Although reviewers should read the thesis and not judge it by its thickness or typography. May 3, 2012 at 11:08

5 Answers 5


These are some additional ideas, assuming that you do not need to abide by a standard layout.

  1. Use something like the tufte-book class (it has a very wide right margin, you can make it a bit wider as well) and it still looks good.
  2. Have full page epigraphs to separate chapters from other text and possible full page pictures. (Tufte does that at the beginning of his books).
  3. Index almost any word you can think of.
  4. KILL justification. All the document must be typeset ragged right.
  5. Adjust lists and all vertical spacing.
  6. Increase the interword spacing.
  7. Increase the spacing after stops.
  8. Have all sectioning at larger sized fonts.
  9. Section the document down to paragraph (and modify) the sectioning command to start on a new line rather than as a block.
  10. Use toc levels 7
  11. Input chapter 3 again as the chapter before last and if anyone notices blame it on the typographical devil or the TeX engine.
  12. If you have any computer code, include it as an appendix
  13. Have a colophon explaining the use of LaTeX to typeset the thesis and import the source and the log as a listing.
  • 9
    +1 just for number 11 (though I personally wouldn't try it)
    – ienissei
    May 3, 2012 at 12:30
  • Thanks for the seriously meant ones! I especially like 2,3,5,8,9,12. On the other hand, especially 10 is really rude, and 6,7 will make the document un-readable if you modify by "more than nearly nothing".
    – yo'
    May 3, 2012 at 12:54
  • 1
    @tohecz I am sorry if I offended you, nothing was meant to be rude, but rather to provide a bit of a lighter moment. May 3, 2012 at 13:09
  • I'm not offended, it was just an opinion. I can imagine using most of them at some occasion, but not #10 (or not to "make it longer", it might still be useful e.g. for dictionaries/reference books)
    – yo'
    May 3, 2012 at 13:12

Not yet mentioned has been the role of choosing the "right" font:

  • Choose a wide, but still aesthetically pleasant font (CM is pretty narrow). In my experience this can extend the number of pages by up to 20 percent. Take a look at The LaTeX Font Catalogue.
  • Do not use microtype, as its better spacing often reduces the number of pages (around five to ten percent).
  • +1 for a font change, I did not think about that at all!
    – yo'
    May 3, 2012 at 13:36
  • You can abuse microtype, actually: \usepackage[expansion=false,tracking=all,letterspace=30]{microtype} ;-)
    – Robert
    May 5, 2012 at 1:00

Some additional ideas:

  • Replace inline lists of thoughts -- especially those in which each item contains only a handful of words -- with bulleted and/or numbered lists.

    • Use nested itemize environments to further break down lists of any length into sub-lists.

    • This also applies to enumerate environments.

  • Increase the left- and right-hand indents of "bulleted" and numbered lists as well as the offset between the "bullet"/number and the hanging paragraph.

  • Increase the indentation of the first lines of each paragraph, e.g., with

    \setlength\parindent{2.5em} % you don't want your deviousness to be too obvious...

    and also increase the spacing between paragraphs, e.g., with


My ideas so far are:

  1. Make the document one-sided and not two-sided (default for report, need to add [oneside] to \documentclass for book). I you have to be two-sided, then make all the part and chapter titles on the right-hand page (by using [openright] option to the document class).

  2. Use 12pt base font size (done by \documentclass[12pt])

  3. Typeset \chapters' titles on a seperate page (like \part is typeset in multi-part documents). This can be done e.g. by the following snippet added by the end of document header (a package titlesec can be used for further changes of the chapter title.)

  4. Add "inspirational quotes" / "epigraphs" to the chapters, see “Inspirational” quote at start of chapter

  5. Add "unnecessary lists and information", like Index, List of notations, Glossary, List of figures / tables, Colophon, Dedication etc.

  6. Use booktabs for tables (everybody should do that, no matter how long you want your document to be, but it makes the tables a bit higher).

  7. Set some linespacing, e.g. by putting \linespread{1.2} into your preamble.

  8. Make floating objects (figures etc.) boxed. Print the captions in a "nicer" way with a larger font, make the captions narrower (so that they occupy more lines). Prefer [p]age placement of floats (even thought it does not look good IMHO).

  9. Modify the page geometry (package geometry). The lines should have 66 character in mean, which is pretty narrow on standard papers (a4, letter). If you add headers to every page, it does not look that bad if you make the page shorter (less high), package fancyhdr provides a good tools for modifying headers and footers.

  10. Since the thickness of the final document is the issue, the document can be printed on a thicker paper (e.g. 120g/m^2 as opposed to standard 80g/m^2).

  • Nice list! Regarding your first bullet point: Did you mean to write [oneside] for book document classes?
    – Mico
    May 3, 2012 at 13:37
  • If [oneside] is not allowed by style guide, always open part, chapter, section,... on an even (or always odd) numbered page, which will add a blank page before at least some of them.
    – Stephen
    May 3, 2012 at 15:59
  • @Stephen Actually, my thesis is two-sided and I have it exactly that way! Anyways thanks, I forgot to include that.
    – yo'
    May 3, 2012 at 16:45
  • Footnotes might be another idea: instead of a short "(comment)", use a footnote, which will result in some blank vertical space, a footnote rule, and the footnotemark and footnotetext (few words) will take up another complete line. And, of course, print footnotes in normal size instead of footnotesize, which is too small for good readability anyway. ;-) Using continuously numbered footnotes instead of footnotes-per-page will result in two-digit-footnotenumbers, which will add some additional characters.
    – Stephen
    May 6, 2012 at 17:40

Also another small but a wee bit useful tip is: use natbib package and use \citep* instead of \cite

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