Technical Support
Forums and Mailing Lists
Search Mackichan Web

Version 5/5.5

Word Processing
File Issues
Exam Builder
Style Editor
Free Updates
Technical Articles

Scientific Notebook
Support Information

TeXnology links

Document 673

Message: Overfull or underfull boxes

Version: 3.x, 4.x, 5.x - Scientific WorkPlace & Scientific Word


The compilation messages that appear in the LaTeX window and the .log file may contain frequent instances of messages like these:

Overfull \hbox (xxpt too wide) in paragraph at lines 186-187

Underful \hbox (badness 10000) detected at line 47

Overfull \vbox (xxpt too high) has occurred while \output is active

Underfull \vbox (badness 10000) has occurred while \output is active


The warnings indicate the LaTeX cannot appropriately fit material into the horizontal or vertical space available, creating typeset lines or pages that are too long or too short. The message may indicate where in the document the problem has occurred, as in the first two examples, or may indicate that the problem occurred during the formatting of running headers and footers, as in the last two examples. The numbers in parentheses indicate the severity of the problem.


You can ignore these messages until you're ready to make final formatting adjustments to your document. When you examine your typeset document, you may be satisfied with the spacing, despite the warnings. In that case, no action is required.

However, if the overfull or underfull condition is extreme, LaTeX may have created awkward word, line, or page breaks.

  • If the message indicates a problem with horizontal spacing (\hbox), you may need to adjust the length of one or more lines by introducing hyphenation points, forcing line breaks, or rewording your text so that LaTeX can break the line a new way.

  • If the message indicates a problem with vertical spacing (\vbox), you may need to adjust the length of text on the page by including forced page breaks or increasing the amount of text on the page with the enlargethispage command:

    1. Place the insertion point in the text near the top of the page you want to enlarge.

    2. Import the Enlarge Page (TeX Field) fragment, which adds the TeX command \enlargethispage*{1000pt}.

    3. Place the insertion point where you want the page break to occur.

    4. From the Insert menu, choose Spacing and then choose Break.

    5. Select the type of page break you want and choose OK.

    6. Compile your document again and reexamine the spacing of the typeset file.

Last revised 06/15/06

MacKichan Software, Inc. 19689 7th Avenue NE, Suite 183 #238 Poulsbo, WA 98370
Phone: 360-394-6033 Toll-free: 877-724-9673 Fax: 360-394-6039

Please email comments and suggestions regarding this site to
© Copyright 1998 - MacKichan Software, Inc. All rights reserved.