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## Spacing

In LATEX input, words are separated by spaces, and paragraphs are separated by blank lines. However, adding extra spaces will not increase the space between words in the output, and adding extra blank lines will not increase the space between paragraphs. Spaces at the beginning of a paragraph are ignored--paragraph indentation is inserted automatically whether there are spaces in the input or not.

There are commands that you can use to insert extra space in the output. To insert some extra vertical space, for example between paragraphs, use the commands \smallskip, \medskip, and \bigskip. There is a \medskip just before this paragraph, so you can get an idea of the size. You can insert a specific amount of vertical space with a command such as \vskip{0.5 in} The units of measurement--which can be in for inches, cm for centimeters, or pt for points--must be specified.

If you would like to leave out the indentation at the beginning of a particular paragraph, put the command \noindent at the beginning of the paragraph. You can insert horizontal space with \hspace, which works similarly to \vspace. The commands \quad and \qquad also insert horizontal space. (Quad'' is a printer's term; qquad is a double quad.)

LATEX also ignores line breaks inside paragraphs. The text in the paragraph is automatically broken into lines in an optimal way. LATEX even breaks words and inserts hyphens if necessary. However, you can force a line break by typing the command \\. This command works almost anywhere. For example, you can use it in the title of the document, even though that is not an ordinary paragraph.

Sometimes, you want to tell LATEX not to break a line at a certain space. For this, you can use the ~ character as a non-breaking space. The ~ does not appear in the output--it becomes a space. However, LATEX will definitely avoid breaking the line at that space.

Next: Text Styles Up: The Basics of LATEX Previous: Commands and Environments
David Eck 2003-10-21