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26. How can you double-check the hyphenation decisions LaTeX makes?


Use the hyphen_show utility by Guenther Lamprecht, Wolfhard Lotz, and Roland Weibezahn.

This program is according to the docs available as part of their xtem_TeXMenu program, although I myself use it via a stand-alone Debian package called hyphen-show.

Even with the correct language support loaded and switched on, LaTeX is almost guaranteed to hyphenate words that shouldn't be hyphenated, such as people's names or programming language identifiers (especially a problem if you often refer to code in your text).

Trying to spot all erroneous hyphenations by looking at the complete manuscript is a royal pain, and mostly just does not work (in my experience) when things reach thesis length. I was therefore insanely pleased to discover hyphen_show which simply takes your .dvi file as input and spits out a list of all the hyphenated words it finds. It is now a breeze to check for faulty ones and add these to a \hyphenation exception list.

Things to look out for

Checking for hyphenation should literally be the very last action you perform on your manuscript before you submit it to the publisher. If you make any changes to the text afterward, you run the risk of a change to the list of hyphenated words, and you will have to start all over again.


2 June 2102

An email correspondent has pointed out that another solution to this problem is to use the findhyph script, which is a Perl program that finds all the words in a document that were hyphenated by TeX or LaTeX.

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Leo Breebaart (leo@lspace.org)
Last updated: 27 June 2016