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# Can we do vertical justification? How?

I am doing some schoolwork that has sections of data embedded in text. Since the data is narrow, I use two columns to avoid large empty spaces on the right (which also wastes pages). But the spacing between lines and paragraphs is different, so the bottoms of columns don't line up.

I would like to take the extra space from the bottom of the shorter column and distribute it evenly between the lines in that column.

Or even better would be for every column to consume the space between the bottom of the column and the page margin.

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## 4 Answers

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You did not describe the structure of your document. I'll suppose it is made of text interspersed with data.

In such a situation I use sections (Insert->Section...).

The document starts in the "standard" fashion with single-column text where argumentation takes place.

When data must be inserted, a new multi-column section is opened. Data is shown here. Since data is homogeneous, it is set with a single paragraph style, so that the lines in the columns will nicely line up. At the end of the data (or to introduce a set of different data), another section is opened (single-column to get back to argumentation or anything you need).

Section height is dynamically adjusted so that columns tend to have the same height. On the contrary, in a multi-column page, column height is fixed and text does not flow into the next column until text has reached the bottom of the page.

If this answer helps, please check the tick mark for community benefit and, eventually, upvote it if you think it is really useful. Don't forget to close the question if it fits your needs.

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## Comments

This is incorrect. If the space between paragraphs is not an exact multiple of the space between lines, they bottoms will balance ONLY if every column has the same number of paragraph breaks and no subscripts or odd characters to alter the line separation.

( 2016-10-10 00:09:44 +0200 )edit

Right, that's part of well-designed typographic rules and is seldom explicitly stated. All spaces (vertical and horizontal) in a style set should be exact multiples of a common base dimension (usually x-height of the font, or largest line height if multiple fonts) for best visual effect.

( 2016-10-10 08:03:20 +0200 )edit

Still not so. Widow and orphan control can make the bottoms not line up even if inter-paragraph space is exactly one line. This is not best visual effect. I find some white space but not a full line also to be a better visual effect than too much (except that it then makes the bottom of the page ragged). Or it may be necessary to force a heading to go to the next page with its following paragraph, again causing a ragged bottom in a program that can't balance columns.

( 2016-10-15 01:11:45 +0200 )edit

When you write "data", I hope it means short chunks of characters, not sentences. In this case, you might try to balance the section by varying the number of columns. Even if you cannot find a common divisor between number of data and columns, having a more filled last line can improve the aspect.

( 2016-10-15 08:16:11 +0200 )edit

You can use a fixed line height, then in a few paragraphs set the line height to a greater value to fill both columns. EDIT: The problem with that is that people with sharp eyesight will notice the differences in line height. The best solution is not to have spaces between paragraphs or to make sure that the spaces add up to one line of text. On a side note: Libre is a productivity tool; if you want that level of page formatting, you should use dedicated page formatting software, like Scribus. Don't forget that for beginners, the number of features of LibreOffice is already quite intimidating. When you add loads of features like page layout fine-tuning, most beginners will get completely lost in the clutter of menu options.

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## Comments

Yeah, sometimes I do something like that, but having it automatic would be so much better. I wouldn't think it would be hard to code either. The algorithm would be almost the same thing that already does it horizontally.

( 2016-09-15 04:52:25 +0200 )edit

Never hard of Scribus, but like I said, if it were critical, I'd use TeX. I wouldn't consider this an "intimidating feature." I'd make it the default, with two options: no balancing, or ragged bottom almost balancing, i.e., the current default. Seems to me that MS Word did this when I used it long ago on the job. Now it doesn't even balance at all.

( 2016-10-15 01:26:20 +0200 )edit

Yes, I did say it had both text and data, and I did say sections, on the very first line. But that's not sections in the formal sense. I do not want each little bit of data (most of them are too small) to be its own section. So the entire document is two-column.

The bottom of each column is above the page margin, but not by the same amount. Ideal would be to stretch to margin just like in horizontal justification. Second best would be to stretch the shorter column so the two match.

It's not a major issue, though. If it were, I'd be using TeX. :-)

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## Comments

When you ask a question, you shouldn't comment unless you are providing actual solution to your question. I can't convert this answer into comment because it's too long. There is 500 characters to comments and I don't want to mess up your this answer. :)

( 2016-09-15 17:25:28 +0200 )edit

I meant it to be a comment. Not sure what I did wrong, the add comment link is pretty obvious.

( 2016-10-10 00:11:18 +0200 )edit

Your text has more then 500 characters so it's too long for a comment and thus posted as answer. At least that is what notification say when tried to convert your answer as comment.

( 2016-10-10 15:35:57 +0200 )edit

I don't think that's it, because on another occasion, I had to edit a long comment to get it to post.

( 2016-10-15 01:05:49 +0200 )edit

I really don't get what you want to accomplish but what you might want to try is insert new section when ever you need two columns. So do

Insert → Sections...

choose 'Columns' tab and in 'Settings' choose two columns and mark 'Evenly distribute content to all columns'.

You can also do 'Shift + CTRL + Enter' to break columns and this way you can enter data into two columns independently. It will act just like page break. You can enter data into one column and in second without needing to fill one completely before getting content to flow into another.

You should use styles with same line height if you want lines in both columns to match exactly. Choose 'Fixed' line height, this way you can use different font sizes and still get content to line up at the end.

Alternatively, use tab as separator.

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## Comments

Unfortunately, when I meant to comment on this, I somehow made it look like an answer instead. See "answered Sep 14 '16"

( 2016-10-15 01:13:52 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2016-09-14 04:15:27 +0200

Seen: 698 times

Last updated: Sep 15 '16