Sometimes I encounter this single word widows instance very often, please find the right hand page, topline scoundrel. My design strategy is to leave enough white space at the bottom margin, so when it does happen, the code \enlargethispage{\baselineskip} will apply to the left hand page to enable the scoundrel slot back to place.

Of course, controversially, one can apply it manually through out all the instances, I wondered if there is an automatic way of doing this?

I am using the document class of—Book "COMA-SCRIPT"

ps. I also applied \pretolerance=5000 \tolerance=1000 in the Preamble, not sure what they do, was told it can prevent instances of widows and orphans...

widows example


Without an example it is hard to say but if you add


Then TeX will try as hard as it can to avoid widows. The tolerance settings probably are not doing very much in your case as with such short paragraphs there is very little flexibility in line breaking anyway.

If there is any vertical stretch in your page (as in the default parskip spacing in standard classes) then probably preventing widows will pull the last couple of lines over to the next page. If there is no vertical stretch then you will get an underfull page on the previous page, in which case you could potentially detect that in the output routine and put the text back after enlarging the page but such interactions are very delicate and depend greatly on the content you have as it's very hard to make things work in general.

  • it works very well indeed. It seems to mitigated all widows. However, I found it actually confused with diagrams. I tried to reduced the number to 8000 or 5000, doesn't do much. I don't mind widow lines that much in this book, since it is a play, one or two line over the other page doesnt matter that much—just single-word widow that is unforgivable. Is it possible to detect them? It is likely to be the combination of "single word + punctuation. " – Shi Yuan Jan 30 '13 at 16:27
  • 2
    Diagrams shouldn't normally show up as widows (normally they would be distinct paragraphs (unlless yo go text text \\ \includegraphics{...}) tex does line and page breaking at different times so detecting a one word widow is hard – David Carlisle Jan 30 '13 at 16:40
  • But can we have the solution of increasing the text height temporarily be automatically applied? – Micah Walter Sep 29 '14 at 18:52
  • @JohnPeyton not easily (you'd have to make major changes to latex's output routine, anything's possible of course but..) – David Carlisle Sep 29 '14 at 19:04

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