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In the following picture (desired layout)

enter image description here

the grayed area is reserved for the header. It is supposed to be fancy looking with tikz pictures, chapter/section names with pretty fonts etc. The outlined area is where the main text will fit. x, y, z, t denote margin lengths against the A4 paper edges.

Although I'm confident :-) I can design the header the way I want, I have no idea on how I can achieve the desired layout (especially the thing that the main text has to indent differently in the "header area" than in the rest of the page).

I'd like to use this layout with the report/article classes, but it would be nice if I could also use it with the book class.

I'm using XeLaTeX.

Any ideas?

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This is probably very difficult to do perfectly. Have a look at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/36848/… –  mrf Aug 15 '12 at 11:06
    
I found a blog which you might find helpful <texblog.net/latex-archive/layout/fancy-chapter-tikz/>; –  hpesoj626 Aug 16 '12 at 9:20
    
Thank you for your concern. It's very useful code (I've used it in the past), but unfortunately not of much help in this case. –  niels Aug 16 '12 at 10:21
    
The one thing that truly makes this difficult to implement is the different text indentation as mrf noted above with his link. That link is a start, but still to make the solution provided there to handle any case (not just plain text lines) is waaaaaaay past my knowledge! –  niels Aug 16 '12 at 10:25

1 Answer 1

Not sure xelatex is compatible with fig2sty, but for plain LaTeX the tool fig2sty used to work for me quite nicely some years ago. Have a look at http://www.ctan.org/pkg/fig2sty. It does require use of the Xfig program, but I guess the Java alternative Jfig should also work.

The workflow is as follows: First you layout the page by drawing polygons in xfig, then you convert the .fig file into a .sty file using fig2sty, and finally you include the style file into your LaTeX document.

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Seems exactly what I needed, I'll certainly try it the soonest possible! –  niels Oct 4 '12 at 15:41

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