Bottom margin vs. descenders question

William F. Adams willadams at
Mon Jul 6 00:14:33 CEST 2020

Every proofreader and copy editor I've ever worked with would measure to the baseline (consider the last line being something along the lines of, "and thus was the minimum determined.") and would not draw an invisible box to extend the measurement to include descenders which were not present.

-----Original Message-----
From: Axel E. Retif <axel.retif at>
To: Doug McKenna <doug at>; texhax <texhax at>
Sent: Sun, Jul 5, 2020 2:01 pm
Subject: Re: Bottom margin vs. descenders question

On 7/5/20 11:52 AM, Doug McKenna wrote:

> Enclosed is a screenshot of what I have tried to output in my program. 
> The red lines have been superimposed onto the PDF to show where the 
> margin bounds are.  This seems a perfect example of what has just been 
> discussed: a math formula with large delimiters on the bottom line of 
> the page that descend quite a bit into the margin area in order to 
> maintain the baseline of the bottom line on every page at the same 
> vertical position.  It is typeset properly, even though it breaches the 
> margin.  I believe this was typeset with TeX/LaTeX.

If the red line marks the height of the page *in multiples* of the 
baselineskip, then indeed the delimiters are protruding *a lot*. In that 
case the descenders of p's and q's of the confronted page would coincide 
with the parentheses of the formula number (2).

But maybe (La)TeX is balancing the baseline of the formula and the 
protrusion of the delimiters; in this case, the baseline of the formula 
would be higher than the baseline of text in the confronted page. One 
has to see the confronted page or measure any other page that ends with 
text to see what's happening.

Be it as it may, those delimiters of the formula are larger than 
desirable. In the TeXbook, p. 149, Knuth advises to use \bigl(, \Bigl(, 
\biggl(, etc., and corresponding \biggr), etc., instead of \left( and 


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