Widow (typesetting)

From Academic Kids

In typesetting, a widow appears if the first line of a paragraph is appearing at the bottom of a page with the remainder appearing on the following page. If a word or the last line of a paragraph appears at the top of a page, with the rest of the paragraph appearing on the preceding page, it is referred to as an orphan.

Widows, in this sense, are usually considered unattractive typographically and should be suppressed.

Some of the techniques for eliminating an unwanted widow include:

  • forcing a page break early, producing a short page,
  • adjusting the leading, (rhymes with "heading") the space between lines, or inter-paragraph spacing,
  • adjusting the word spacing to produce 'tighter' or 'looser' paragraphs,
  • rewriting the paragraph.

Many typesetters have a hard time remembering the difference between orphans and widows. An easy trick is to remember the saying: Widows have no future (the paragraph seems to disappear after the widow) and orphans have no past (vice versa.)

See also

de:Schusterjunge (Drucksatz)

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