[OS X TeX] Text area borders

Robert Spence spence at saar.de
Thu Mar 23 11:13:34 EST 2006

On 23 Mar 2006, at 15:09 , Thomas Käufl wrote:

> Am 22.3.2006 um 17:32 schrieb Robert Spence:
>> For displaying a frame around the text area to check layout,  
>> there's also the showframe package:
> I did a locate on showframe and found nothing. (Not even in
> the Tex-Catalogue. -- On my Mac the database for the locate command is
> fresh.)

I had a memory of showframe.sty being one of the files in older  
versions of the geometry package.  On CTAN, however, there seems to  
be a more recent version available as part of the esc-pic package:


> As far as I understand Latex (I am not very experienced), the settings
> for the layout of a page apply to the whole document. So, it
> seems not necessary to me, to print the frame on other pages
> except the first one.

You're right, of course.  But sometimes you might want to do some  
complicated (and probably inadvisable) things with the fancyhdr  
package like conditionally putting logos (logically) into the header  
or footer depending on whether or not you're on the first and/or last  
page of the document, and then having them (physically) protrude into  
parts of the page that might be needed for a marginpar or something.   
So if the pages of the document are going to look significantly  
different from the first page, it can be useful to be able to  
visualize the frames around the page elements on other pages as  
well.  The essence of TeX seems to be its brilliant algorithms for  
computing the dimensions of boxes inside boxes (in ways that are  
sometimes slightly counterintuitive for non-mathematicians).  When  
I'm trying to do something complicated with TeX I find it can often  
be quite instructive to temporarily reset the length of fboxsep to  
zero and put an fbox around every element I'm working with, so I can  
detect any differences between what TeX (in its wisdom) is actually  
doing with all those different kinds of boxes, and what I (in my  
stupidity) think it should be doing.


Robert Spence
Applied Linguistics
Saarland Unversity
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