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I'm formatting a translated book. There is a section where there is a poster that consists of two columns of related text. The various paragraphs, or in some cases, groups of paragraphs, match up with each other. The differences have a comic effect.

------------------------------ -------------------------------

Fred's tomatoes are the best!! Fred's tomatoes are poisonous!!

Some of the matching paragraphs and parts are very long, some very short. Some are very different from the part they match to, in syntax, language and formatting. Also, the intended comic effect is enhanced by fussy, inconsistent, and ugly formatting of the poster. (Font size, justification, italic, bold, etc.)

I've tried making a sequence of matching two column \tabular tables, or \longtable tables. The problem is, that these won't split a table cell over a page, so that I end up with very large blank spaces, even if you have multiple \parbox elements in the table cell.

I've tried \multicol, but of course, the text just flows from one column to the other, not two side-by-side matching columns.

Then, \parcolumns doesn't allow formatting, specifically, no centering of paragraphs inside a column.

I tried \paracol, this is nice, but if I try to use \hfill inside it, it jumps the right aligned text fragment partially or wholly to the next line, and then left-aligns it. In \tabular, I get the same problem with \hfill.

And, incidentally, there is a section where each column needs to be split into a kind of backwards definition list: a long multiline term, and a short definition. That's what I was trying to use the \hfill for.

I have the text in a text file. I have the intended appearance in the original language in a printed book.

What would you suggest as a way of displaying this?

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Okay:

I mainly used a plain sequence of:

\noindent\begin{tabular}{@{}cc}
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\centering {\footnotesize first column\\
 second line }}
&
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\centering  {\footnotesize second column \\
second line \\
third line }}
\end{tabular}

which actually works, and you can align the text inside the parbox. Note that \parbox overrides any alignment setting of \tabular, although it seems to work best with \tabular{c}, rather than with l, or r.

I also had to rearrange the \hfill problem -- I didn't find a solution for that. (The "definiiton list" was actually a Dramatis Personae.) So I put the last part on a different line, like this:

\begin{samepage}
\noindent\begin{tabular}{@{}cc}
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\footnotesize {\em Old Witch}: }
&
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\noindent {\footnotesize {\em Kind old lady}: }}
\end{tabular}

\noindent\begin{tabular}{@{}cc}
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\raggedleft {\footnotesize Mrs. {\em Mayer}}}
&
\parbox[t]{4.6cm}
{\raggedleft {\footnotesize Mrs. {\em Mayer}}}
\end{tabular}
\end{samepage}

The obvious problem with that, is that it is two separate tables. It looks okay on the page, but \begin{samepage} and \end{samepage} doesn't seem to join two tables together or avoid a page break. I'll worry about that if it becomes a problem.

Thanks for looking at it though. What I did was an awful time-wasting kludge, so if you have better solutions, I would be happy to hear them.

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