How do you add horizontal and vertical space in LaTeX?

There is always a need to apply some amount of spacing when doing adjustments in our work for a better presentation. The aspect of spacing is very important and this article will guide you to have a full understanding of spacing in LaTeX.

LaTeX Algorithm permits the treatment of blank spaces by ignoring them whereby a sequence of blank spaces is treated as a single space. LaTeX does the same for a sequence of blank lines, it converts it to a single newline.

LaTeX provides us with a good number of commands to help us in creating both vertical and horizontal spacing.
Spacing in LaTeX makes use of length commands. In this context, there are basically 3 types of length commands when dealing with spacing.

  1. Length data commands represent a fixed length. It can be assigned or used as the length in other commands.
  2. Length assignment command basically assigns value to the length data.
  3. Length setting command which generate a blank space with a certain height or width.

Horizontal spacing

The following are length commands that generate horizontal space with their various descriptions and examples.
1. \quad and \qquad generates a horizontal blank space with a width of 1em and 2em respectively. In summary, \qquad doubles the effect of \quad.
The space produced by \quad and \qquad simultaneously can be demonstrated:⏹   ⏹ and ⏹      ⏹

Example:

  • Apples \quad Apples will give Apples    Apples.
  • Apples \qquad Apples will give Apples        Apples.

2. \hspace{length} and \hspace*{length} generate a horizontal blank(white) space equivalent to the length. \hspace*{length} produces a non-ignoring space. By default, LaTeX will delete any space at the beginning or end of a line. This command forces the space to be
implemented.
NB: Lengths can be positive or negative.

  • Apples \hspace{5em} Apples will give Apples                  Apples.
  • Use spacing in latex. will give use minus spacing in latex This is to demonstrate the effect of negative space.

3. \hfill command generates a white space that fills the entire line.
Example:

\rule{0.5cm}{1em}\hfill \rule{0.5cm}{1em}

will give

spacing in latex,
4. \hphantom{text} command gives us a white space that is equivalent to the width of the text.
Example:

The quick \hphantom{brown} fox jump over the lazy dog.

will give

The quick           fox jump over the lazy dog.

5. \thinspace or \, generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.16667em. It is mostly used in character spacing.

6. \negthinspace or \! generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of −0.2777em. It can be used for character adjustment.

7. \medspace or \: generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.2222em.

8. \thickspace or \; generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.2777 em.

9. \enskip generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.5em.

10. \enspace generates a horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.5em and can be use for character spacing adjustments.

Vertical spacing

The following are length commands that generate vertical space with their various descriptions and examples.

1. \vspace{height} and \vspace*{height} produces vertical white space equivalent to the specified height in the braces. \vspace*{height} will forcefully produce a vertical space equivalent to the specified height in the braces at the top of page. The height can either be positive or negative.

2. \vfill generates a white space the vertical fills the rest of the page.

3. \vphantom{text} generates a vertical blank of width zero and a total height equal to the total height of the text in the braces.

4. \smallskip generate a vertical space with a height of 3pt ± 1pt.

5. \medskip doubles the effect of the \smallskip i.e 6pt ± 2pt.

6. \bigskip generates a vertical space which is equivalent to four times the effect of \smallskip
i.e 12pt ± 4pt.

\phantom{text} Generates a blank with a total height and width equal to the total height and width of the text in the braces, respectively.

Horizontal Spacing Summary

Commands Effects
\quad 1em horizontal space
\qquad 2em horizontal space
\hspace{length} horizontal space equal to length specification
\hspace*{length} horizontal space at beginning of line equal to length specification
\hfill a horizontal white space that fill entire line
\hphantom{text} white space equal to width of text
\enskip horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.5em.
\enspace horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.5em.
\thinspace or \, horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.16667em.
\negthinspace or \! horizontal blank(white) space with a width of −0.16667em.
\medspace or \: horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.2222em.
\thickspace or \; horizontal blank(white) space with a width of 0.2777 em.

Vertical Spacing Summary

Commands Effects
\vspace{height} vertical space equal to the length specification
\vspace*{height} vertical space at the top of page equal to the length specification
\vfill a vertical white space that fills an entire page
\vphantom{text} white space equal to the total height of text
smallskip vertical white space with a height 3pt ± 1pt
medskip vertical white space with a height 6pt ± 2pt
bigskip vertical white space with a height 12pt ± 4pt

Conclusion

Understanding how to deal with spacing is of utmost importance to become proficient in LaTeX. This tutorial helps you to have a full understanding of the different spacing commands available in LaTeX.

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