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Chapter 6. Mastering Floats > 6.4. Inline floats

6.4. Inline floats

In TeX’s typesetting model, text is first broken into paragraphs on a vertically oriented galley (or scroll). Once enough material is collected in this way TeX invokes its output routine, which chops off the first part of the galley, attaches running headers and footers as specified, and outputs the result in the .dvi file. It then restarts collecting text and breaking it into paragraphs to refill the galley.

As a consequence of this processing model, it is relatively easy to implement a float mechanism in which floats span the full width of the page or at least the full width of individual columns. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to have floats that occupy only parts of a text column and have the text flow around them. The reason being that when the paragraphs are broken into lines, their final positions are not yet known. It is therefore impossible to direct the paragraph builder to leave holes for the float objects if a later part of the process will decide on their final placement. In contrast, placing floats at the top or the bottom of a page (or column) only directs the output routine to chop off less material from the assembled ga....


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