The documentation memman.pdf for the memoir document class describes in Section 2.4 how to lay out the typeblock. But it never defines that term.

Exactly what does the typeblock encompass?

  1. In its height, does it include the headers and footers?
  2. In its width, does it include marginal notes?

It seems that "typeblock" there does not mean what is usually called the "text body" (or simply "body"), because the documentation uses the separate term textblock for that.

I need the clarification in order to intelligently set up the parameters for page layout.

2 Answers 2


I think this is best answered in Section 2.1 (Laying out the page / Introduction). I'll quote the paragraph here:

There are three main parts to a page: the page itself, the typeblock, and the margins separating the typeblock from the edges of the page. Of slightly lesser importance are the running headers and footers, and possibly marginal notes. The art of page design is obtaining a harmonious balance or rhythm between all these.

In other words, the typeblock is the rectangle inside which all the body of the document is contained. It does not include running headers and footers, nor margin-, side-, and footnotes.

It may also help you to read Peter Wilson's excellent companion book, A Few Notes on Book Design, especially section 3.2. Again, I quote:

A page in a book will typically contain several elements. Principal among these is the typeblock, but there are also items like the folio (that is, the page number), a running header and/or footer which carries the chapter and/or book title, and possibly marginalia and footnotes. These latter elements, although essential to the content of the book, are minor visual elements compared to the typeblock.

  • That documentation still does not explicitly say that the headers & footers and marginal nots are not part of the "typeblock". Nor does it either distinguish between "textblock" and "typeblock" or identify the two as being the same thing. That's why I asked! I had examined Peter Wilson's "A Few Notes...", and that doesn't totally clarify the issue either.
    – murray
    Jul 27, 2016 at 19:51
  • I've added another quote, from AFNOBD 3.2; I hope my markup helps in interpreting it. Jul 27, 2016 at 20:04
  • Nope, that added quote still does not actually answer what I've asked!
    – murray
    Jul 27, 2016 at 20:59
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    It certainly doesn't help that in the really old days, the type block refers to the block on which the individual letters sit. Jul 27, 2016 at 21:15
  • I think the phrase type block is used interchangeably with "text body", as Brent's answer suggests. Evidence: on page 16 of the memoir manual the command \settypeblocksize is used to set \textwidth and \textheight, which would suggest that the width and the height of the typeblock is exactly that of the text body. Jul 27, 2016 at 21:17

I must obviously apologise for the poor documentation of memoir even though this is the first time this question has been asked over the last 15 years. Brent Longborough has already answered your question but if you look at Figures 2.2, 2.2 and 2.3 in the manual then the rectangle there that is labelled 'Body' is the typeblock. It does not include headers, footers, marginal notes, merely the running text (including chapter/section etc. headings plus any footnotes). Page headers and footers (e.g., page numbers) are external to the typeblock.

  • 2
    Fons et origo Aug 2, 2016 at 18:57
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    the memoir documentation is hardly "poor". Sometimes it takes a lot of reading through the details to put things together. My question was for clarification of one little ambiguity. Thanks for your response -- and for the package itself!
    – murray
    Aug 2, 2016 at 19:07

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