I use \fontsize{18pt}{20pt}\selectfont comand because I want 18pt fontsize. Does rule fontsize+2 always apply? Say for 20pt font leading will be 22, 32 for 30 and so on.

  • 2
    It's too tight. I wouldn't stay below 24pt for the baselineskip, but it depends also on the font you're using.
    – egreg
    May 14, 2012 at 21:27
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    Note that with 10pt font, the baseline skip is 12pt, that is, "font size + 20%", not "font size + 2pt". For 11pt, baseline skip is 13.6pt (font size + 13%). For 12pt, its 14.5pt (font size + 21%).
    – Werner
    May 14, 2012 at 21:32
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    Isn't this more of a design than a TeX question: borderline for on/off topic?
    – Joseph Wright
    May 14, 2012 at 21:47
  • @JosephWright For me it is not offtopic: I am required to use strict font sizes 14, 16 and 18, and they must look exactly like Microsoft Word's one (though now I understand that it is impossible due to other problems). I figured out how to set up fontsize, but I saw that there is second param which should be input by user. In the samples on the internet there is only basic case 10,12. So it wasn't obvious for me.
    – Nik
    May 14, 2012 at 21:50
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    @dig Normally 18 x 1.2 they are multipliers = 21.6pt,however this might be too tight anything from 1.2-1.5
    – yannisl
    May 14, 2012 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


The answer depends on the font: the size of ascenders and descenders. Fonts with larger ascenders/descenders require larger leading, fonts with smaller ones require smaller one.

For Computer Modern size12.clo recommends 22pt leading for 17pt font and 25pt leading for 20pt font, so for 18pt I'd take 23pt leading. These numbers would probably work for Times as well. For other fonts you need other adjustments.

However, a fine tuning of leading requires a real expertise in font and typography design, so if you have any specific recommendations for the font you use by the font author, you'd be better off following them.

Update: I was asked for other point sizes, so here I plotted the LaTeX values as defined in classes.dtx:

enter image description here

I was also asked for the skip/size vs size plot. Here it is, again for CM:

enter image description here

And here are data (in points)

x_size baselineskip
5 6
6 7
7 8
8 9.5
9 11
10 12
11 13.6
12 14.5
14 18
17 22
20 25
25 30
  • 1
    I agree it depends on the font. But rather the other way. If a font has a small x-height, it will need less not more leading, because the ascenders and descenders appear to add white space. It also depends on line length. May 15, 2012 at 7:58
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    It depends a little bit on the language, too. German has a lot of capital letters and needs, therefore, a different approach than English.
    – Andy
    May 15, 2012 at 10:13
  • @Boris Can you give an advice on leading size for Computer Modern sizes 14 and 16 too?
    – Nik
    May 15, 2012 at 17:17
  • 1
    @dig Please see update
    – Boris
    May 15, 2012 at 18:30
  • @Boris: A plot of "ratio skip/size" vs. "size" would be just marvelous here -- we could infer if and how this ratio changes for different sizes. Do you still have the data?
    – krlmlr
    Jan 28, 2015 at 20:40

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