Cross posted from comp.text.tex


I am trying to put together a book with a very complex layout. I did some research, and it seems that TeX is the software that I need. I am having some trouble, though, figuring out exactly how to go about this. If you can be of help I would greatly appreciate it.

<breathes in>

OK. I have attached a Google Docs drawing describing what I am trying to do. I made the mockup (as a pdf) using Microsoft Publisher, but that is obviously not the long term solution, as I would want to make a book/books of this.

The first part (black box) is the main text. Everything is based on this. In this diagram it is cut off, but in the actual book it should flow from page to page, with the occasional line or page break to indicate a new section. It has lines pointing to each of the boxes that "footnote" or "comment" on it.

The blue and red boxes should be side by side (one always on the inside margin), and whichever is larger on that specific page should flow around the other one (as the red does to the blue in the diagram).

The green box (which is also based on the first black box) is under both the blue and red, and fills the full width of the page (possibly two columns?).

The last (purple) box "footnotes" or "comments" on all the other colored boxes, first all the footnotes from the blue, then the red, and finally the green box.

All this needs to be done in Hebrew/right-to-left. To clarify: I would like (if possible) to type it in hebrew letters

I have seen the bigfoot library, but it doesn't seem to have a mechanism to wrap columns around each other. If you know of a specific library or technique that would help me go about this, please let me know. Again, any help would be greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance.

enter image description here

(To clarify, the actual layout doesn't have the lines in the diagram :-) )

  • 1
    Does Alan Hoenig's Makor address any of your needs? tug.org/TUGboat/tb24-1/hoenig.pdf
    – WillAdams
    Jul 31, 2013 at 2:51
  • 1
    @WillAdams Thank you! I didn't know about this. It looks interesting, but I would like (if possible) to type in Hebrew (I have updated my question to include that), and it doesn't seem to have the capability to auto-wrap columns around each other (I don't need the vowel that the package provides, although they could be very useful in other instances).
    – shliachtx
    Jul 31, 2013 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


Try ledmac and/or ledpar. They are packages designed for text production using an apparatus criticus.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, neither ledmac/ledpar nor the more advanced eledmac/eledpar are able to fulfill the dynamic nature of the text in the red and blue boxes.
    – jon
    Oct 24, 2013 at 16:08
  • What information do each of the boxes contain? It looks like this is a verse (in black) with commentaries (blue, red, and green); why do the first two need to be side by side?
    – cbowern
    Oct 24, 2013 at 19:18
  • @cbowern True, technically they don't have to be, but I would this is the traditional layout for such books and I would like to keep to it.
    – shliachtx
    Nov 10, 2013 at 8:20

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