LaTeX Paragraph Spacing and Indentation

In this short post, I’ll show you how you can modify the paragraph spacing and indentation in LaTeX. Why would anyone want to change the spacing and indention? Well, if you write a text in Dutch it is customary to leave a blank line after each paragraph and to not indent a new paragraph. This is different from English texts and the default in LaTeX where you do indent new paragraphs and don’t leave a blank line at the end.

To obtain a Dutch paragraph style, you have two options:

1. The package parskip

Include the package parskip in the preamble using following command:


This will automatically cancel paragraph indentation and append a blank line at the end.

2. Set the parindent en parskip length

If the previous approach doesn’t work or if you want more fine-grained control, you can manually set the length of the indentation and the height of the blank line. You can do this by putting these commands in the preamble of your document:

\setlength{\parskip}{1.3ex plus 0.5ex minus 0.3ex}

The first command sets the indentation to 0 and thus cancels paragraph indentation. The second command sets the height of the trailing blank line. This is done using the LaTeX measure ex. One ex corresponds to the height of a lowercase ‘x’ in the current font style. I use 1.3 because I want the height of a capital letter. The “plus 0.5ex minus 0.3ex” part tells LaTeX that it can increase the height with at most 0.5ex and decrease it with maximum 0.3ex to make a┬ádecent layout. This means that the minimal height of the blank line is 1ex and the maximum 1.8ex.

And that’s it! Using one of these two options you can change the paragraph spacing and indentation in LaTeX.

The source (in Dutch) I used which has much more LaTeX tips: http://www.ntg.nl/doc/oostrum/latexhnd.pdf (846.7 kB)

Prolong the Life of your Lithium Batteries

This post is an update of a post I published on my previous blog. I summarize some tips to prolong the life of your gadget’s batteries based on various articles.

The baseline is that the speed by which lithium-ion ages is governed by temperature and state-of-charge. Based on this observation, there are following Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Don’t discharge the battery every time to (nearly) 0%: The discharge should go ideally to around 50%. This gives you the longest total battery life. Following table of Battery University illustrates this:
Depth of discharge Discharge cycles Total battery life (1 full cycle = 2,5h)
100% 300 – 500 750h – 1250h
50% 1200 – 1500 1500h – 1875h
25% 2000 – 2500 1250h – 1562,5h
10% 3750 – 4700 937,5h – 1175h
  • Don’t leave it fully charged and plugged in: Every battery constantly leaks some of its power. When you leave your battery plugged in, it will recharge a little amount of leaked power over and over again, each time triggering a new cycle. These consecutive very short cycles are very bad for your battery’s health.
  • Most gadget batteries should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges (every month): You can do this by running the battery down in the equipment. If you neglect to do this, the battery metering will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.
  • Keep the lithium-ion battery cool: Avoid a hot car or leaving your gadget in the sun. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level in a cool place.
  • Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power: The worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at higher temperatures, which is the case with running laptop batteries.
  • Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use: But if you buy one, pay attention to the manufacturing date. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.
  • If you have a spare lithium-ion battery: Use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. But do not freeze the battery! For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.

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