[NTG-context] Comment on new "Page Design" Chapter for new manual.

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Jan 27 23:41:36 CET 2011

The question of page dimensions can be very confusing for the raw 
beginner. I suggest the something like the following as a lead in:
For a printed page we really have to deal with three different sets of 
dimensions. The body of the text exclusive of headers, footers etc. is 
called the type block. In TeX the measurements of the type block are 
called \hsize and \vsize. When text is being laid out each paragraph 
is generally no wider than the \hsize and when \vsize is exceeded the 
page is ended and a new one is started. 

The actual page size of the finished document is measured with 
\pdfpagewidth and \pdfpageheight. For most documents this is the last 
set of dimensions needed. In a few cases "camera ready copy" is 
required which means that the final printed page image is centered on a 
larger piece of paper stock, often with trim marks indicating the  
boundaries of the page size.

For example here are the dimensions for a book recently printed:
hsize =4.25 in
vsize =7 in

pdfpagewidth = 6 in
pdfpageheight = 9 in

stockwidth = 8.5 in
stockheight = 11 in.

The terminology may need some refinement but you get the idea. Think of 
the "Man from Mars" encountering Context and even TeX for the first 
John Culleton
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