Frequently Asked Question List for TeX


Flowing text around figures

There are several LaTeX packages that purport to do this, but they all have their limitations because the TeX machine isn’t really designed to solve this sort of problem. Piet van Oostrum has conducted a survey of the available packages; he recommends:

All of the above deal insertions at one or other margin; they are able to take advantage of the TeX \parshape primitive that allows you to adjust the margins of the text of a paragraph, by line (Knuth provides an example of such use, with text typeset in a circle, half-overlapping the margin, in chapter 14 of the TeXbook). To place insertions in the middle of a paragraph requires effort of an entirely different sort; the cutwin package does this for you. It requires a set of “part line widths” (two per line), and typesets the “cutout” section of the paragraph line by line. The examples in the package documentation look enticing.

Plain TeX users only have one option: figflow (which doesn’t work in LaTeX). Figflow only offers flowed figures at the start of the paragraph, but it seems perfectly functional. Syntax is \figflow{<width>}{<height>}{<figure>} (the user is responsible for having the dimensions correct, and for ensuring the figure fits on the page).

FAQ ID: Q-textflow
Tags: tablesfigures