There is a package in LaTeX called lettrine, which allows you to use a drop cap. You can check an example here

I want to know how many lines of space should I give it for a one column technical document.

According to my friend designers, it's usually a rule to do everything by 3, so I did:

enter image description here

But for some reason I began to think that maybe the S is just too big (because of the "Chapter 1" and "Introduction").

So I also went with 2 lines:

enter image description here

Which one should I prefer?

Latest version

enter image description here

  • 1
    We try to stay away from simple opinions, and rather have them backed up like 'the second is better because of x, y and z' instead of just 'the second one is better' so we need a basis to judge it on. Which one looks more appropriate in a technical document? would be a little bit less subjective. Readability is a good basis to, but isn't much of an issue here. For what it's worth I think the second looks more balanced as its not so huge, but that's a subjective opinion. :)
    – Dom
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 16:14
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    @MarioS.E. Those two lines are the wrong size in relation to each other; the sizes should be reversed. And I'd center both of them and possibly italicize Introduction. That will give the drop cap more independence and should eliminate the visual confusion you're feeling between it and Introduction. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 19:47
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    Context is everything, but Lauren is suggesting the the heading type sizes need to reflect the hierarchical structure of the document. Usually, this means top level is bigger.
    – horatio
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 16:03
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    Looks good to me. Note that most universities have departmental style guides for publications, especially for doctoral review. Make sure you follow whatever is required for submission (if applicable).
    – horatio
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 16:09
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    @MarioS.E. "Biped" is the noun (humans are bipeds; we have two feet). "Bipedal" is the adjective, in this case modifying locomotion. Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


The moment you create a drop cap, you also create an implied box for it to sit in. Its edges are defined by the text lines. In this case, the lines spacing you have used makes for a very awkward white gap below the 2-line drop capital. The 'S' looks as if it's trying to grab on to the lowercase 'u' to prevent itself from falling into the gaping hole under it.

With the 3-line drop cap, the space below is much smaller in proportion to the 'S', so it looks well anchored and stable.

  • Your point about implied space is good, but you could amplify it: the second and third lines of text to the right of the three-line drop cap line up with each other, but the second line to the right of the two-line drop cap has nothing to line up with.
    – supercat
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 17:42

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