I am in the final stage of formatting my thesis and still have to tweak the page layout in several places. LaTeX does generally a good job but some pages come out unsatisfactorily, with widows/orphans, footnotes that continue on the next page, sections that start at the bottom of a page etc. I allow all these in general, but sometimes I would prefer to adjust the text with rewording or with \looseness to get a smoother output. Is there an overview that lists some of the possible manual methods in this last stage of polishing?

I have a specific question that concerns the gap/distance/separation between the text body and the footnotes area. I defined this with \setlength{\skip\footins}{1cm} but I would be open for this length to be flexible in cases where a bad layout could be easily prevented. I looked in vain for ways to set it flexible. Is this because it would be bad typographic practice? If yes, why?

I work with \raggedbottom, which may be relevant. See also Automatically make footnote-carrying pages vertically stretchable and a related discussion in German: https://komascript.de/node/1239

Am I actually just looking for a stretchable length like 1cm plus 0.5cm? Does LaTeX then choose a length for the best-looking option?

  • Have you tried loading the footmisc package with the option bottom? From section 1.8 of the package's user guide: "[The bottom] option forces footnotes to the bottom of the page; this is only noticeably useful in case that \raggedbottom is in effect, when LATEX would normally set the footnotes a mere \skip\footins distant from the bottom of the text."
    – Mico
    Oct 15, 2021 at 11:31
  • Thank you, I indeed use \raggedbottom. But loading \usepackage[bottom]{footmisc} does not change my output.
    – johnny7
    Oct 15, 2021 at 11:56
  • Sadly, but probably not surprisingly, my psychic divination skills are absolutely rubbish. Since you‘ve provided no actual example of a problem involving the placement of footnotes, I‘m simply not in a position to provide useful advice. My abject apologies.
    – Mico
    Oct 15, 2021 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


Is that what You want? (taken from here)

enter image description here

\addtolength{\skip\footins}{2pc plus 5pt}
  • 1
    Thank you! I wasn't aware of the possibility to give a flexible/stretchable length with plus. This works also with \setlength. If I want the footnotes to sit at the bottom without using the package footmisc (because it changes my footnotes layout) I can use \renewcommand*\footnoterule{\vfill}.
    – johnny7
    Oct 21, 2021 at 9:07
  • @johnny7: Thanks; I used this to implement footmisc's bottom option to avoid the problem here.
    – user21820
    Mar 23, 2022 at 18:47

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