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I've been using Latex for about 2 years now and I'm really enjoying it. I was just wondering if there is some package or code out there that can help me suppress indents at natural breaks. With natural breaks I mean at the end of pages, after tables, after images, white spaces, etc. Using indents can really help dividing a large text into more manageable chunks, but I really don't see the point of using them when there is already a clear natural separation. It just looks silly to me.

Love to hear some suggestions!

Cheers, Ian

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  • that would be very unconventional and confusing for your readers. How can you tell where paragraphs start if you do not indent? (it would actually be very hard to do in tex but are you sure you want this??) May 8 at 20:44
  • I see your point, especially with the "end of the page one". But for the other ones, I do stand by it. Just my personal preference ofc. Especially after using a \bigskip I really don't also wanna use an indent. Thank you for telling me it would be hard to implement though. Guess I'll just be using \noindent then :) May 8 at 21:01
  • I added vertical space with suppressed indentation to my answer May 8 at 21:10
  • By far more clear allow paragraph separations without any indentation. This is a conventional format that will not confuse any reader, and it will not produce the effect of a misaligned left margin. The easiest way to obtain this is just load the parskip package.
    – Fran
    May 8 at 21:41
  • What LaTeX does is follow centuries of typographic convention. Paragraphs, except after sectional headings, have the first line indented so the reader can tell if it is a new paragraph of the continuation of a paragraph "interupted"by an image or other thing. It is not a good idea to replace the indent by extra space between paragraphs because of problems when a page break comes between the paragraphs. May 9 at 16:47
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Breaks that are part of the logical structure like section titles typically are not followed by indentation. The text is always a new paragraph. But page breaks and inserted floating tables etc are "unnatural" breaks forced by the physical page size, they may occur between paragraphs or mid-paragraph and are unrelated to the logical structure of the text.

Technically in TeX this pagination and float insertion happens after all the linebreaking has laid out the paragraphs into a sequence of lines with a paragraph indent and it is not possible to go back and re-flow the lines based on the page breaking. It is probably possible to implement some complicated multi-pass system that records paragraph starts in the aux file and tries to change the line breaking on the next run.

Such a scheme though would be confusing for readers. In a document using paragraph indentation you should be able to look at any part of the text and know if it starts a paragraph. With the proposed scheme it will be impossible to tell if the first line of the page starts a new paragraph or the page broke in the middle of a paragraph. Well you may be able to tell from the actual text, but the typography is supposed to help not make that harder.


Note the above comments apply to automatic page breaking. It is possible to have vertical spaces forcing logical breaks in the text, you may view such a break as an empty unnumbered section title and handle the (non) indentation in the same way, using the \@afterheading command that LaTex internally uses after section headings:

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}

\makeatletter
\newcommand\myspace[1]{\addvspace{#1}\@afterheading}
\makeatother

\begin{document}

\section{zzzzz}

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aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 

aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 

\myspace{1cm}

aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa 

\end{document}
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  • Thank you for your response. You are making much sense and I'm inclined to agree with you. Guess I should put many indents back in... May 9 at 9:38

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