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I recently started using parcolumns instead of block quotes. I do this since I have a non-English source text in the right column and the English translation in the left column.

Is it possible to make parcolumns columns eat into the margins of the document, so as to further set them off from the rest of the text?

I tried using the option colwidths to try to make the columns larger and force them to eat into the margin equally on either side (for example with the value colwidths={1=10cm,2=10cm}). However, this doesn't work; the leftmost column still begin where the left margin ends. Does anyone know of a solution to this?

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It would be helpful if you composed a fully compilable MWE including \documentclass and the appropriate packages that sets up the problem. While solving problems is fun, setting them up is not. Then those trying to help can simply cut and paste your MWE and get started on solving problem. –  Peter Grill Dec 31 '12 at 0:39
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Playing with \leftskip and \rightskip helps. Negative values allow to write into the margins. Because applies inside the columns, the distance between the columns must be increased by the same amount. The new environment wideparcolumns therefore fixes the value for parameter distance.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{parcolumns}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{microtype}

\newenvironment{wideparcolumns}[1][]{%
  \setlength{\leftskip}{-12mm}%
  \setlength{\rightskip}{-12mm}%
  \begin{parcolumns}[%
    distance=\dimexpr-\leftskip-\rightskip+2em\relax,%
    #1%
  ]{2}%
}{\end{parcolumns}}

\begin{document}
\lipsum[1]

\begin{wideparcolumns}
\colchunk{\lipsum[2]}
\colchunk{\lipsum[3]}
\end{wideparcolumns}

\lipsum[1]
\end{document}

Result

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Works perfectly! Thank you. –  Mårten Jun 7 '13 at 10:23
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