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I am using the letter package to format, as you may guess, a letter. In fact, the letter is a personal one, making it especially awkward if the last page contains only a few lines of text.

What options are available to force some kind of allocation of text to the preceding pages that the last page is unlikely to be more than say, three-quarters empty?

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  • Assuming the final page currently contains just 1 line (or at most 2 lines), have you tried inserting the instruction \enlargethispage{1\baselineskip} or \enlargethispage{2\baselineskip} on the preceding page? Once the final page contains three or more lines, there's no problem, right? – Mico Jan 3 at 9:52
  • @Mico ideally the last page contains more lines than two, but more to the focus of the question is how to achieve the requested behavior through the global document properties, such as a command sequence appearing in the header. – epl Jan 3 at 18:36
  • I simply cannot figure out what it is that you truly want. You've already rejected the approach in @Werner's answer, because you apparently don't want to modify the margin widths. That pretty much rules out any algorithmic approach. Yet your latest comment appears to indicate that you are, in fact, interested in modifying the "global document properties" -- the only sensible ones, AFAICT, being the margin widths. Please clarify. Oh, and please give an example of "a command sequence appearing in the header". (I assume you mean the preamble of a LaTeX document, not the page header, right?) – Mico Jan 3 at 18:44
  • @Mico, sorry for the lack of clarity. The normal effect for preventing widow of orphan lines is to steal a line from a preceding or trailing page. A rule of such kind can be enforced in various ways by setting values in the header, making no change to the body. An acceptable solution for this question, for example, would be one that shortens non-final pages of some number of lines to added to the final page, in the special case that the last otherwise would have very few lines. Alterations to vertical spacing is another approach. – epl Jan 3 at 18:52
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Load the geometry package with an adjustment to the (or new) margin settings. For example, here's a letter without/with geometry:

enter image description here

\documentclass{letter}

%\usepackage[margin=0.75in]{geometry} % Use this to adjust the margins
\usepackage{lipsum}

\begin{document}

\begin{letter}{Some person}
\opening{Hello}

\lipsum

\end{letter}
\end{document}
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    I am not seeking to alter the page geometry, only find whether it may be possible to tweak the vertical positioning of lines, in some sense the way as are avoided orphan and widow lines. – epl Jan 3 at 6:47
  • I guess you could alter the vertical spacing inserted between the date, addressee and opening, and also the paragraph skips. If you have single paragraphs ending with a single word, you could add \looseness=-1 to the paragraph to see if TeX can make it one line shorter (vertically). Other than that, changing the geometry or font are possible alternatives. – Werner Jan 3 at 6:56

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