What I want to do is calculate the actual size between the edge of the paper, and my header. \evenmarginsize and \oddmarginsize do not do this.

\settowidth{\msize}{((\paperwidth - \textwidth)/2)}

Doesn't seem to work, how can this be done?

  • 1. You don't say which edge of the paper. On first reading, because you are talking about the header, I thought the top edge. 2. The commands \evenmarginsize and \oddmarginsize don't exist. Perhaps you meant \oddsidemargin and \evensidemargin. 3. \settowidth takes a piece of text and calculates its width. For what you want, use \setlength and you need the calc package to use algebraic notation. 4. One more thing: supply a compilable file that shows what you tried.
    – Dan
    Dec 9, 2013 at 3:13
  • 1) The left hand side, when I first tried this I didn't think it mattered. 2) Yes, those are the correct commands. My memory mixed them up. 3) Below is a solution without calc. 4) Didn't need to. Oh, and one more thing, calm the attitude Mr. Keyboard Warrior. Dec 9, 2013 at 8:41

2 Answers 2


Use the e-TeX structure:


The macro \settowidth is used with finding the width of a portion of text such as in:

 \settowidth{\mytextwidth}{This is some text whose width I'm measuring}

The documentation can be found by running texdoc etex from the command line. Amoung other things, e-TeX provides several nice commands to facilitate calculations using \dimexpr, \numexpr, and several other flavors. Since I've discovered these, I find I don't use the calc package that much anymore.

  • 3
    Documentation Please :)! Dec 8, 2013 at 19:54



However, I recommend you looking at the hcentering option of the package geometry.

  • Not trying to centre the header. Dec 8, 2013 at 19:55
  • Well, you obviously do some calculation of the page geometry. I only suggest that you might have a look at the package above, because you might save yourself a lot of time not doing something that has been done before ;)
    – yo'
    Dec 8, 2013 at 19:56
  • Haha I checked it out, it wasn't what I wanted. Thank you though Dec 9, 2013 at 8:43

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