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In the 2D computer game WordLand--which is just an idea--characters walk around on top of a very large document, something like 20'x20'. I don't intend to print this on a poster. How can I get tex/luatex/latex etc. to use a 20 foot page size?

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    The texbook says \danger \TeX\ will not deal with dimensions whose absolute value is $\rm2^{30}\,sp$ or more. In other words, the ^{maximum legal dimension} is slightly less than $16384\pt$. This is a distance of about 18.892 feet (5.7583 meters), so it won't cramp your style. So 20 foot is a fraction too much but just typeset to a 20cm page and scale the resulting pdf. – David Carlisle Nov 13 '17 at 17:43
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    Surely you don't mean a 20 foot margin, but a 20 foot page size? The margin is the space around the text. – Alan Munn Nov 13 '17 at 18:11
  • Yes that is what I meant. – selden Nov 13 '17 at 20:21
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To quote TeX (which you can reproduce by typing

\hsize=666in

into a document and running tex on it):

! Dimension too large.
l.1 \hsize=666in

? H
I can't work with sizes bigger than about 19 feet.
Continue and I'll use the largest value I can.

Or, if you look at the TeXbook, on page 58, you have

TeX will not deal with dimensions whose absolute value is 230 sp or more. In other words, the maximum legal dimension is slightly less than 16384 pt. This is a distance of about 18.892 feet (5.7583 meters), so it won't cramp your style.

But in our case, it indeed cramps your style.

  • It would be helpful if you provided a more precise reference, ideally with page number(s), from the TeXbook. – Mico Nov 13 '17 at 18:04
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    To be fair, I'm quoting the TeX program itself, but i guess I should include a code snippet – A Gold Man Nov 13 '17 at 18:05
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    @AGoldMan The point of providing a reference along is so that others can verify it… I've edited your answer to make it clear to the reader how they can obtain the same result from the TeX program (and also included the full quote). (Though feel free to revert.) – ShreevatsaR Nov 13 '17 at 18:49

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