# 9.2 Widows and orphans

The natural breaking of blocks of lines may result in an unpleasant appearance.

• Seeing only one line of a block at the bottom or top of a page may leave the impression there is only one line of information;

• having two or more lines can better suggest that there is more than just those lines in the block on the other side of the page break.

• The effect is magnified when blocks are justified;

• the last line of a justified block is typically not justified;

• when positioned at the top of a page, the unjustified last line may look more like a heading.

Widows are the lines at the end of a block overflowing to the start of a page.

• You can specify the minimum number of line areas allowed in the first area of the page generated by the last lines of a block.

• The initial value of widows is " 2 ".

Orphans are the lines at the start of a block overflowing at the end of a page.

• You can specify the minimum number of line areas allowed in the last area of the page generated by the first lines of a block.

• The initial value of orphans is " 2 ".

Figure 9-1 illustrates the lines of that are widows and the lines that are orphans created when a block breaks over the edge of a column or page.

##### Figure 9-1. Widows and orphans of a block

Breaking happens to the next logical reference area

• a column break if there are multiple columns in the page,

• a page break if at the end of the last column.

The entire block is moved to the next reference area if neither condition can be satisfied.

• Widows and orphans are not tested until there are widow lines to be accommodated.

• The entire block is moved when there are not enough orphan lines remaining after accommodating the minimum number of widow lines.

Figure 9-2 illustrates the setting of different values.

##### Figure 9-2. An illustration of widows and orphans

Note the following regarding the three examples of the six-line block wrapping.

• In each test the values of widows and orphans ("W=" and "O=") are different to illustrate the behavior for a six-line long block that wraps at the end of each column.

• In Test 1, the widows specification is which is less than or equal to the actual one widow line in the block.

• The block is left untouched and shows what would result when widows and orphans are not defined.

• Remember that when not specified, the values are defined as " 2 ", not " ".

• In Test 2, the widows specification is 4 which is greater than what would be only one widow line in the block as in Test 1.

• Three orphan lines are moved to the next column to satisfy the widow count.

• The remaining orphan count of 2 does satisfy the specified orphan count of  0.

• In Test 3, the widows specification is 4 which is greater than what would be only one widow line in the block as in Test 1.

• Three orphan lines are first moved to the next column to satisfy the widow count, reducing the orphan count to two, as in Test 2.

• The remaining orphan count of 2 does not, however, satisfy the specified orphan count of 4, so all remaining orphans are then moved to the next column as well.

Definitive XSL-FO
ISBN: 0131403745
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 99
Authors: G. Ken Holman

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