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Widow and Orphan content support added

Support for controlling widow and orphan content was added in iText 7.1.11 so that content looks precise on the document page.


  • A widow is a lone word or short group of words that appears at the bottom of a paragraph, column or page.
  • They tend to make long sections of text look unbalanced and messy, as well as leaving too much excess white space at the end of a page.
  • An orphan is a similar unwanted straggler, but this describes words that appear at the top of a page.
  • Orphans really belong on the previous page, as not only do they look untidy on the page they appear, but they also break the flow of reading across two pages.

Below is an example demonstrating how to enable widow and orphan processing in your layout:

package com.itext.OrphanWidow;

import com.itextpdf.kernel.colors.Color;
import com.itextpdf.kernel.colors.ColorConstants;
import com.itextpdf.kernel.geom.PageSize;
import com.itextpdf.kernel.geom.Rectangle;
import com.itextpdf.kernel.pdf.PdfDocument;
import com.itextpdf.kernel.pdf.PdfWriter;
import com.itextpdf.layout.ColumnDocumentRenderer;
import com.itextpdf.layout.Document;
import com.itextpdf.layout.element.Paragraph;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

 * This example demonstrates how to enable orphans and widows processing in
 * layout
public class OrphanWidowExample {

	public static final String DEST = "src/main/resources/orphanwidow/output.pdf";

	public static void main(String args[]) throws IOException {
		File file = new File(DEST);

		new OrphanWidowExample().manipulatePdf(DEST);

	public void manipulatePdf(String dest) throws FileNotFoundException {
		PdfDocument pdfDoc = new PdfDocument(new PdfWriter(dest));
		Document doc = new Document(pdfDoc);

        // The document is laid out in columns here in order to improve the
        // visualization of how orphans and widows work.
        // Columns' heights and widths are defined so that several orphans and widows
        // cases occur.
		Rectangle[] columns = generateColumns();
		doc.setRenderer(new ColumnDocumentRenderer(doc, true, columns));

       // Paragraphs alternate background colors to ease the visual distinction between different paragraphs.
		Color[] colors = new Color[] { ColorConstants.LIGHT_GRAY, ColorConstants.GRAY };

		List<String> content = createParagraphContents();
		for (int i = 0; i < content.size(); i++) {
			Paragraph para = new Paragraph(content.get(i)).setBackgroundColor(colors[i % 2]);

       // Set orphan control property on a paragraph
       // that at least 2 lines must remain on the area before the break,
       // when paragraph has to be split because of an area break, otherwise the entire paragraph should be pushed to the next area.
			int minOrphansNum = 2;
			para.setOrphansControl(new ParagraphOrphansControl(minOrphansNum));

       // Set widow control property on a paragraph. If custom handling of widow violation is needed, create a ParagraphWidowsControl extension
       // and override #handleViolatedWidows(ParagraphRenderer, String) accordingly.
			int minWidowsNum = 2;
			int maxLinesToMove = 1;
			boolean overflowParagraphOnViolation = true;
					new ParagraphWidowsControl(minWidowsNum, maxLinesToMove, overflowParagraphOnViolation));



	private static Rectangle[] generateColumns() {
		float margin = 40;
		float height = PageSize.A4.getHeight() * 0.43f;
		float width = (PageSize.A4.getWidth() - (2 * margin) - (margin / 2)) / 2;
		float bottom = (PageSize.A4.getHeight() - height) / 2;
		Rectangle rectLeft = new Rectangle(margin, bottom, width, height);
		Rectangle rectRight = new Rectangle(margin + width + (margin / 2), bottom, width, height);
		return new Rectangle[] { rectLeft, rectRight };

	private static List<String> createParagraphContents() {

     // Substrings of different lengths of the following string are used in order to
     // create several orphans and widows cases.
		String content = "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. "
				+ "Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. "
				+ "Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis "
				+ "enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut,"
				+ " imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt."
				+ " Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, "
				+ "porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, "
				+ "feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean "
				+ "imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam"
				+ " rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet "
				+ "adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. "
				+ "Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. "
				+ "Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris "
				+ "sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Donec sodales sagittis "
				+ "magna. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Donec sodales sagittis magna.";
		int[] substringLengths = new int[] { 361, 339, 1421, 208, 1245, 1251, 1122, 1270, 1276, 1230, 1420, 1180, 1190,
				807 };

		List<String> items = new ArrayList<String>(substringLengths.length);
		for (int i = 0; i < substringLengths.length; i++) {
			items.add(content.substring(0, substringLengths[i]));

		return items;

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