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  1. I want to set different layouts in a book, say the bodywidth (4in) + maginalwidth (2in) and 'exercise part' (6in) at the end of each section such as a typical calculus book. I am using \minipage[h]{6in} for the 'exercise part' right now, which is not good when a part of 'exercise' needs to be carried over to the next page.

  2. I want the header (and footer) width to be 6in, even the bodywidth is 4in. Is anyway to do that??

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You are missing the 'exercises' tag – leo Oct 23 '11 at 4:17

You can use the package geometry with the command \newgeometry. For more details see the documentation.

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The OP mentions minipages and carrying over text parts to the next page, so it seems he/she wants to change the "margins" for parts of a page. For this, the geometry package is not appropriate. – lockstep Jan 27 '12 at 20:58
@lockstep: The question is very old and the OP gave no response. I think we should simple ignore this question. – Marco Daniel Jan 27 '12 at 21:36
I stumbled upon the question in the process of sorting out the margins and indentation tags. – lockstep Jan 27 '12 at 21:37

To change the "margins" (better: the indentation) for text blocks in the middle of a page, use the changepage package, the fullwidth package or the addmargin environment of the KOMA-Script classes resp. the scrextend package which is included in KOMA-Script.

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