Pleasures of Design

Indenting

The traditional method of signalling a paragraph break is to intend the first line. However there are other ways of achieving the same end.

If there are frequent indents in ranged-left text the columns can look ragged on both sides. A more agreeable result can be achieved by leaving a line or half-line space between the paragraphs and not indenting at all – this is called “first line full out left”.

Paragraphs do not need to be indented after a subheading or at the beginning of a chapter or section.


Widows and orphans
Widows and orphans are terms used for single lines coming at the bottom or, worse still, at the top of a page. An orphan is the first line of a paragraph that comes at the foot of a page. Widows are the last lines of paragraphs that appear at the top of a page. In general, widows look worse than orphans and are worth avoiding. This is best achieved by either modifying the text or, if that is not possible, it is perfectly permissible to leave two facing pages a line short. Nobody will notice and the extra lines can be taken over to cover the widow.

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