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Old 01-20-2022, 12:21 AM   #1
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Best practices for line height in 2022?

I found this 10 year old post but not much else giving opinions on setting line height in epubs.

I am mainly a Kindle user and that has allowed the user to set line height for a long time. However I see that in Calibre and ADE, this is not an option.

What is currently considered best practice for setting line height?
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:22 AM   #2
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Have NO line height setting in the CSS. Especially in body text. I have got this working automatically from wordprocessor by setting no linespaceing of any kind in a style and 0 on the two override entries on Calibre conversion.

Some bought books from Amazon have no line height and work well, others need the property removed. Calibre can remove it in all the CSS in the editor in one command, or you can look at each style.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKh View Post
I found this 10 year old post but not much else giving opinions on setting line height in epubs.

I am mainly a Kindle user and that has allowed the user to set line height for a long time. However I see that in Calibre and ADE, this is not an option.

What is currently considered best practice for setting line height?
The best practice is to have no line height at all. It's not needed. All it does is get in the way.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:22 AM   #4
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However I see that in Calibre and ADE, this is not an option.
You can adjust line height in the calibre viewer, but it requires some effort. Go to Preferences, Styles, and enter a new style in the box. Something like:

body {line-height: 2}


(Added: As others have written avoid setting a line height for the whole book in your EPUB.)

Last edited by jhowell; 01-20-2022 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:37 AM   #5
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I was considering adding line-height for one of my paragraphs, because there are some words in a bigger font, and I can see an irregular space between lines in Apple Books. But maybe it does not make sense to add it just for a single style. It could make a bigger difference with the rest of body text. What do you think?
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ValTim View Post
I was considering adding line-height for one of my paragraphs, because there are some words in a bigger font, and I can see an irregular space between lines in Apple Books. But maybe it does not make sense to add it just for a single style. It could make a bigger difference with the rest of body text. What do you think?
Is there a reason these words are in a larger size? Would it not be better to make these words stand out with say sans-serif and bold at the same font size as the rest of the text?
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:19 AM   #7
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These words are not in a larger size, but in uppercase, and the embedded font looks bigger than the default fonts.
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Old 01-20-2022, 11:28 AM   #8
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These words are not in a larger size, but in uppercase, and the embedded font looks bigger than the default fonts.
Then there is no need to change the line height.
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:12 AM   #9
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Just to clarify, as there seems to be some misunderstanding, I'm talking about when designing a book from scratch. And specifically the paragraph font. The only reason I mentioned Calibre is because it is the viewer that the person making the ebook tested on.

Also, while I welcome opinions, if anyone can give me a solid reason why it's bad to set it, that would be great. Intuitively it makes sense not to touch it and just let the device handle it.

I have found this "starter kit" https://github.com/mattharrison/epub-css-starter-kit That uses 1.5em for line height.

Also on MobileRead's wiki here https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/CSS_template
it has 1.5em

As well, remember I'm asking about line height for basic paragraph text, not other fancy things. Perhaps new threads could be started if people have othe questions about line height.

Thanks!
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKh View Post
Just to clarify, as there seems to be some misunderstanding, I'm talking about when designing a book from scratch. And specifically the paragraph font. The only reason I mentioned Calibre is because it is the viewer that the person making the ebook tested on.

Also, while I welcome opinions, if anyone can give me a solid reason why it's bad to set it, that would be great. Intuitively it makes sense not to touch it and just let the device handle it.

I have found this "starter kit" https://github.com/mattharrison/epub-css-starter-kit That uses 1.5em for line height.

Also on MobileRead's wiki here https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/CSS_template
it has 1.5em

As well, remember I'm asking about line height for basic paragraph text, not other fancy things. Perhaps new threads could be started if people have othe questions about line height.

Thanks!
Ignore the line height of 1.5em. That's way too large. And many people will hate you for it. You need to just forget line height exists in CSS. Don't use it. Let the user change the line height by changing the font or changing the line height (in devices/programs that allow this).
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:32 AM   #11
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Also, while I welcome opinions, if anyone can give me a solid reason why it's bad to set it, that would be great.
If you are making a book for others to read then it would be a poor reader experience to have your book render with a line height that differs from other books. As a reader I have set my devices to display using the font, font size, margins, and line spacing that work best for me. It is annoying when a publisher thinks they know better and tries to override my choices.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:33 AM   #12
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(in devices/programs that allow this).
Personally I agree with you. But what's the answer I give when I'm asked what about those devices that don't allow it?
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:40 AM   #13
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If you embed a font for the main text, it's probably a good idea to define a line-height for it too, especially if the font has "weird" metrics.

But for the reasons already discussed, it's already a bad idea to embed a main text font, and therefore to set a line-height.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Personally I agree with you. But what's the answer I give when I'm asked what about those devices that don't allow it?
If there is no line-height property there will be a default set by the rendering software based on the font metrics.
On most ereaders and ereader apps you can change the line-height if it's not set in CSS. If it is set, then usually the user can't change it and the results may be poor if the user changes the font on the ereader or size of font. So that's why there is no need to set line-height ANYWHERE in CSS, a most of all not in the body style. I've used about 7 makes of eink reader, tested programs and apps, have 3 models of Kindle (tested 3 other models) and have had 2 Sony models of different eras and have had 4 different Kobo (still have 3). What works best on everything is having no line-height, it's for web pages because it's not normally a user setting on a browser.

Not all CSS that actually works on ereaders makes sense. Some of it may only make sense in niche styles, not First or Default Paragraphs of body text.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:18 PM   #15
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If there is no line-height property there will be a default set by the rendering software based on the font metrics.
Ah, that makes sense.

Thanks!
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