Motivation: I am starting some engineering courses, and we are required to work out our problems on engineering computation pads. I find that a majority of the time I spend on my homework problems is trying to write equations and sketches with my neat handwriting, and honestly, its still a mess.

In short, I would like to create a LaTeX document template that I can use for filling out problems.

I think a good answer to this question would be a very useful reference to other engineering students, and is part of my motivation for asking on Tex SE.

I've made a few attempts at this template myself over the past week or two, but just don't have the deep LaTeX competancy to make big modifications to the default document style that this problem requires.

Description: There are a couple of features in the following image that I am trying to replicate, each with differing relevance.

enter image description here

Features: Here's what I have been trying to get out of the image above.

  1. I am trying to get this specific margin border with headers. There is the crop package, or the draw option on the geometry package, but neither is quite this border.

  2. Putting the header information in the boxes.

  3. (less important) putting a light grid in the background.

  4. lining up text with the grid.

  5. inserting two-ish columns. One for the sub-section titles on the left, and one for the justified answer text on the right.


  1. Features 1 and 2 are the most important to me, but the two that I have the least idea about how to accomplish.

  2. Is it even reasonable to expect this level of fine-tuning out of LaTex, or am I asking it to do something it wasn't designed to do?

Conclusion: Would someone be willing to help me get started? A skeleton of a template that I could modify further? A resource or package that does something similar?

Thank you,


Update 1: This question asks about making a template that looks like college-ruled notebook paper. It seems to have some of the features I am looking for.

Update 2: After spending a bit more time with the link above, I have come to a solution, I am very satisfied with. I gave up with point 4, but everything else seems to be just right. I will probably play with the font in the header a little more, something just looks a little off about it. Further, I want to set the problem numbers up in a reference way instead of hardcoding.


\usepackage{tikz, background, titling, setspace}
\usepackage[left=1in, right=0.50in, top=0.75in, bottom=1.5in]{geometry}

 position=current page.center,
      normal lines/.style={blue, thin},
      grid lines/.style={gray!10, very thin},
      every node/.append style={black, align=center, opacity=1}
    \foreach \y in {0.1, 0.25,...,10.5} {  \draw[grid lines] (1in,\y in) -- (8in,\y in); }
    \foreach \x in {1, 1.15,...,8}          {  \draw[grid lines] (\x in,0in) -- (\x in,10.5 in); }
    \draw[normal lines] (1in,0) -- (1in,11in);
    \draw[normal lines] (8in,0) -- (8in,11in);
    \draw[normal lines] (0in,10.5in) -- (8.5in,10.5in);
    \draw[normal lines] (3.125in,11in) -- (3.125in,10.5in);
    \draw[normal lines] (5.375in,11in) -- (5.375in,10.5in);
    \node (t) [font=\LARGE, anchor=center] at (4.25in, 10.725in) {\today};
    \node (t) [font=\LARGE, anchor=center] at (2.00in, 10.725in) {4--99};
    \node (t) [font=\LARGE, anchor=center] at (6.63in, 10.725in) {\theauthor};

\title{My doc}
\author{M. Molter}

\begin{tabular}{l p{5.5in}}
\textbf{Given:} \vspace{.125in} & 

This is what the given section should look like. Here I include details related to what the textbook has given me for the problem. \\

\textbf{Asked:} \vspace{.125in} &  

Here is where I give details regarding what the question has asked me. \\

\textbf{Sketch:} \vspace{.125in} &  

Here is where you should include a sketch of the problem.  \\

\textbf{Equations:} \vspace{.125in} &  

Here is where the relevant equations should go. \\

\textbf{Solution:} \vspace{.125in} &  

Here is where the solution should go. 


enter image description here

  • 1
    some suggestions, none a complete answer. i believe there is a grid in the tikz package that could be used as an overlay. also, if i were doing this, i'd treat the rules along the margins as an overlay; i don't think you'll find a ready-made layout, but tikz is very good at drawing lines in defined locations; process separately, then pull in as a graphic.. the text in the example looks to be "set solid", with no open space to separate lines. and i wonder why you want justified text? when you start having math in-line in a somewhat narrow column, the spacing can get pretty awful. – barbara beeton Feb 5 '17 at 4:06
  • Or you can set the overlay in a box and pull that in. It isn't really clear, though, if this is per page or per problem. If the sizes may vary, that's a whole different question. (1), (2) and (3) are easy. (5) is easy if you don't mind really ugly results, trickier if you do. (4) is really, really hard and would require you to make sacrifices in other areas or at least make your life much more complicated and your code much more fragile. But an MWE is all here. Apart from anything else, it might clarify what you actually want. – cfr Feb 5 '17 at 4:21
  • 1
    I'd just use a tabular for the columns. At least, that seems the simplest solution. – cfr Feb 5 '17 at 4:25
  • Actually, that link I posted in the last paragraph have taken me to a place where I am satisfied with points 1, 2, and 3. Now I just need to work on 5. I am looking into tabular now – Michael Molter Feb 5 '17 at 4:32
  • 1
    In my (limited) experience, ConTeXt is definitely the way to go for grid typesetting. Lining up a rigid and overlaid grid on stretchable TeX output cannot be worth the trouble.... – jon Feb 5 '17 at 5:39

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