Widow/orphan lines

A widow line occurs when the first line of a paragraph stands alone at the end of a column or page, with the rest of the paragraph rendered at the top of the following column or page. A similar situation occurs when the last line of a paragraph stands alone at the top of a new column or page. This is known as an orphan line. Widow and orphan lines can also occur within footnotes that are permitted to split across column or page boundaries.

The Widow/Orphan Lines property controls how TopLeaf handles paragraph widow and orphan lines. The value of this property indicates how many lines of a single paragraph have to be held together. For example if the value is set to 3, then TopLeaf will ensure that at least 3 lines of a paragraph appear either side of a column boundary. If this is not possible, the entire paragraph will be moved to the top of the next column.

Possible values are:

  • 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 Note that a value of 10 is equivalent to saying "only break a paragraph if it is very long".

  • 1/2 — allow a single line at the bottom of a column, but require 2 lines at the top of the next column.

  • 2/1 — require 2 lines at the bottom of a column, but allow a single line at the top of a new column.

  • Any — allow a paragraph to break anywhere, even if widow/orphan lines are created.

  • None — never allow a paragraph to break. In other words, any paragraph that does not fit entirely within the current column will be moved to the following column. This behavior can lead to large amounts of whitespace if paragraphs are more than a few lines long. Note that if a paragraph is longer than an entire column, then an emergency break will be applied and a warning issued.

  • {inherit} — continue using the current widow/orphan setting.

You can also set the paragraph widow and orphan using the resolved string value of an attribute variable or user variable and where that value is one of the alternatives listed above.