LaTeX headers to maximise space.
2013-09-30

Here are some LaTeX tips to help save space. I usually use these tricks when writing NSF proposals as they have strict font, margin and page restrictions.

Setting Margins.

The most reliable way to set margins is using the geometry package:

\usepackage[margin=1.1in]{geometry}

For NSF proposals you need 1 inch margins; I usually play it safe and use 1.1 inch margins.

More efficient line-breaking

The microtype package allows LaTeX to take advantage of micro-typographic extensions that were introduced by pdfTeX. Using it subliminally adjusts inter letter and word spaces making the line breaking algorithm more efficient.

\usepackage{microtype}

Adjusting the size of titles.

It’s good to structure documents using \section, \subsection, etc. However, under the default document classes, the section titles take up too much space. The package titlesec allows you to control this. To get the smallest titles try this:

\usepackage[compact,small]{titlesec}

If you need further customization look up the \titlespacing and \titleformat commands.

Wrapping text around figures.

Using the figure environment is a major space hog. Having the text flow around the figure (like in newspapers) saves a lot of space. The wrapfig package helps with this. First put

\usepackage{wrapfig}

in your preamble. Now include your figure with:

\begin{wrapfigure}{r}{5.5\baselineskip}
  \vspace{-1.7\baselineskip}% Squeeze space before.
  \begin{center}
    \includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{figurename}
  \end{center}
  \vspace{-2\baselineskip}% Squeeze space after.
\end{wrapfigure}
Paragraph text goes here. It has to be longer than one line, and it can not
be in the middle of a list.

Fractional Point Font Sizes.

NSF requires proposals to have a minimum of a 11 point font. If 12 point is too big for you, and 11 point is too small (or you just want to play it safe), then you can use a fractional point size. Getting a fractional point size font working correctly is a little tricky. Adjust the parameters \normalFontSize and \fontSizeIncrement below.

\usepackage{type1cm}
\newlength\normalFontSize\newlength\fontSizeIncrement
\setlength\normalFontSize{11.20pt}% Recommend starting with 11.5
\setlength\fontSizeIncrement{1.5pt}

% Compute the rest from the normal font size and increment
%{{{
\makeatletter
\newlength\normalFontSkip\setlength\normalFontSkip{1.2\normalFontSize}
% To use arbitrary font sizes.
%
%   1. \usepackage{type1cm}
%   2. kpsewhich size11.clo (replace 11 with 10/12 if you use a 10/12pt default
%      font).
%   3. Cut and paste the font definitions from there to here. Surround with
%      \makeatletter, \makeatother if in a .tex file.
%   4. Replace the first argument following the font size with your desired
%      size. Replace the second argument with 1.2 times the first argument.
\renewcommand\normalsize{%
   \@setfontsize\normalsize{\normalFontSize}{\normalFontSkip}%
   %\abovedisplayskip 11\p@ \@plus3\p@ \@minus6\p@
   \abovedisplayskip 4\p@ \@plus3\p@ \@minus3\p@
   \abovedisplayshortskip \z@ \@plus3\p@
   \belowdisplayshortskip \z@ \@plus3\p@
   \belowdisplayskip \abovedisplayskip
   \let\@listi\@listI}
\normalsize

\newlength\smallFontSize\newlength\smallFontSkip
\setlength\smallFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\smallFontSize{-1\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\smallFontSkip{1.2\smallFontSize}
\renewcommand\small{%
   \@setfontsize\small{\smallFontSize}{\smallFontSkip}
   \abovedisplayskip 10\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus5\p@
   \abovedisplayshortskip \z@ \@plus3\p@
   \belowdisplayshortskip 6\p@ \@plus3\p@ \@minus3\p@
   \def\@listi{\leftmargin\leftmargini
               \topsep 6\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus2\p@
               \parsep 3\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus\p@
               \itemsep \parsep}%
   \belowdisplayskip \abovedisplayskip
}

\newlength\footnoteFontSize\newlength\footnoteFontSkip
\setlength\footnoteFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\footnoteFontSize{-1.75\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\footnoteFontSkip{1.2\footnoteFontSize}
\renewcommand\footnotesize{%
   \@setfontsize\footnotesize\footnoteFontSize\footnoteFontSkip%
   \abovedisplayskip 8\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus4\p@
   \abovedisplayshortskip \z@ \@plus\p@
   \belowdisplayshortskip 4\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus2\p@
   \def\@listi{\leftmargin\leftmargini
               \topsep 4\p@ \@plus2\p@ \@minus2\p@
               \parsep 2\p@ \@plus\p@ \@minus\p@
               \itemsep \parsep}%
   \belowdisplayskip \abovedisplayskip
}

\newlength\scriptFontSize\newlength\scriptFontSkip
\setlength\scriptFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\scriptFontSize{-2.5\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\scriptFontSkip{1.2\scriptFontSize}
\renewcommand\scriptsize{\@setfontsize\scriptsize\scriptFontSize\scriptFontSkip}

\newlength\tinyFontSize\newlength\tinyFontSkip
\setlength\tinyFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\tinyFontSize{-3\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\tinyFontSkip{1.2\tinyFontSize}
\renewcommand\tiny{\@setfontsize\tiny\tinyFontSize\tinyFontSkip}

\newlength\largeFontSize\newlength\largeFontSkip
\setlength\largeFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\largeFontSize{1\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\largeFontSkip{1.2\largeFontSize}
\renewcommand\large{\@setfontsize\large\largeFontSize\largeFontSkip}

\newlength\LargeFontSize\newlength\LargeFontSkip
\setlength\LargeFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\LargeFontSize{2\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\LargeFontSkip{1.2\LargeFontSize}
\renewcommand\Large{\@setfontsize\Large\LargeFontSize\LargeFontSkip}

\newlength\LARGEFontSize\newlength\LARGEFontSkip
\setlength\LARGEFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\LARGEFontSize{3\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\LARGEFontSkip{1.2\LARGEFontSize}
\renewcommand\LARGE{\@setfontsize\LARGE\LARGEFontSize\LARGEFontSkip}

\newlength\hugeFontSize\newlength\hugeFontSkip
\setlength\hugeFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\hugeFontSize{4\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\hugeFontSkip{1.2\hugeFontSize}
\renewcommand\huge{\@setfontsize\huge\hugeFontSize\hugeFontSkip}

\newlength\HugeFontSize\newlength\HugeFontSkip
\setlength\HugeFontSize\normalFontSize
\addtolength\HugeFontSize{5\fontSizeIncrement}
\setlength\HugeFontSkip{1.2\HugeFontSize}
\renewcommand\Huge{\@setfontsize\Huge\HugeFontSize\HugeFontSkip}
\makeatother
%}}}

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