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I'm trying to typeset a version of a document that will have the document on the half of each page, but I want the bottom half to have thin ruled lines for note taking. Any one have any thoughts about how I could do this automatically? Could I some how make a custom footer for each page?

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2 Answers

In ConTeXt, the page layout has a parameter bottom that goes below the footer. You can set its value just like the value of a footer. That way, you can still have your regular footers and put anything else at the bottom of the page. Here is a complete solution:

\setuplayout
  [height=fit,
   bottomdistance=1in,
   bottom=4.8in]

\startsetups bottom:rule
  \vbox
    {\dorecurse{32}{\blackrule[width=\textwidth,height=1pt]\blank[12pt]}}
\stopsetups

\setupbottomtexts[\setups{bottom:rule}]

\showframe
\starttext
\dorecurse{10}{\input knuth \par}
\stoptext

In \setuplayout the option bottom=4.8in allocates 4.8in for the bottom. The bottom area is placed 1in from the bottom of the text area (option bottomdistance=1in). The option height=fit asks ConTeXt to recalculate the height of the text area so that everything fits on the page.

The \setupbottomtexts sets what should be printed in the bottom area (this is just like \setupfootertexts for footers). The setups mechanism is just a nice way to abstract out complicated pieces of code.

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Depending on what you want the 'document on one half of each page' to look like, you might be able to use pgfpages, as in http://www.guidodiepen.nl/2009/07/creating-latex-beamer-handouts-with-notes/. This approach will work if you want existing pages of the document to be scaled down to half the page size.

Otherwise I would use geometry to create a large bottom margin, and then something like atbegshi to add the ruled lines to each page (\AtBeginShipout{...})

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