I'm having trouble fine-tuning the page layout in a memoir document.






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My expectations:

  • 1.125inch margin on all sides
  • Header can be inside the margin, but there will be no footer
  • Text block of 4.125in by 8.5in
  • Margin width of 1.5in, separated from the text block by 0.375in

Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 of the layout figure all seem okay. My concerns:

  • 7 (621pt) should actually only be 612pt (=8.5in), no? Answered by egreg below
  • 10 is somehow 1.125in larger than expected; this must be a problem in my margin settings, but I don't know what.
  • And although I'm not using a footer, I'd secretly like to understand how to make the footer "symmetrical" on the page with the header.
  • 1
    8.5in = 8.5*72.27pt=614.295pt Apr 24, 2017 at 22:26
  • 1
    Checkthelayout and fixthelayout are redundant here. As for 7 read up on what fixthelayout does, out of the box it does not give you paper height minus margins. Also see the light where memoir writes the values of the layout it uses.
    – daleif
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


The distance from the top of the type block to the top margin is 1in+18pt, that is 1.25in (actually 1.249in).

The left margin is likewise OK. If I ask TeX to set a length to 4.125in, it shows 298.11374pt, so the text width is as expected. Likewise, 8.5in converts to 614.295pt, but memoir “rounds” to the nearest value that ensures an integer number of lines; in your case,

(621 – 12)/14.5 = 42

so you'll have 43 lines (the 12 is the topskip, the distance of the first baseline to the top of the type block), 14.5pt is the baseline skip for 12pt size.

With 42 lines it would be 14.5 * 41 + 12 = 606.5, and 621 is nearest to 614.295 than 606.5.

Note that 1in is 72.27pt, not 72.

Final note: calling twice \checkandfixthelayout changes the desired value for \marginparwidth to 189pt, rather than 108pt. Remove \checkthelayout and \fixthelayout.

  • Thanks, that's a very clear explanation! Any thoughts on the unexpected width of the margin notes?
    – Richard
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:59
  • @Richard If I remove \checkthelayout and \fixthelayout, I get 108pt. See daleif's comment.
    – egreg
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:15
  • Embarrassing; I made that fix, but with a split screen I didn't see that it fixed the margin notes (nor did I expect it to). Thanks again.
    – Richard
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:20

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