A publisher has asked me to set the page geometry on letter paper to a "text block" (containing all text, including headers and footers) of 4.5”×7.5” on standard letter paper. It must be two-sided printing for the header but no inner margin or correction for spine, the "text block" must be exactly in the middle of the page on even and odd pages alike. I'm using Memoir which only allows specification of a typeblock and this does not include the header. My footer is empty. No margin notes.

Is there a way to tell Memoir that all text, so in this case header and typeblock, must occupy these 4.5”×7.5” bounds?

So far I've tried:


The problem is that I don't know the right values for the margins and can't calculate them without knowing the size of the header.

Btw, their advise for letter paper is to use (in Word) 2in left/right margins and 1.75in upper and lower margin. When I do this with 12pt Libertine font, it just doesn't look right to me, the line width is far smaller than Memoir's default.

  • When I do this with 12pt Libertine font, it just doesn't look right to me, the line width is far smaller than Memoir's default FWIW, I just checked the last two non-fiction books I bought, and the text in both is within 4.5"x7.75". So the width seems reasonably common. Font size looks more like 9.5 or 10, though.
    – dedded
    Oct 11, 2021 at 18:07
  • Yes, I agree. It looks alright with 11pt font. What puzzled me was that they didn't comment on the font at all. Oct 12, 2021 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


Not a complete answer but with some calculations on your part memoir can set up their desired page layout.

The text width and horizontal location is easy, just \setlrmarginsandblock{2in}{2in}{*}; letterpaper is 11 by 8.5 inches so a centered textblock of 4.5 inches needs equal margins of 2 inches.

Vertical specifications are more problematic. The macro \setheaderspaces can be used to specify the designated space for headers and footers (above and below the textblock); there is also \setheadfootfor setting the space for header and footer texts and\setlength{\textheight}{...}` for the height of the textblock.

I don't know what Word upper and lower margins mean. Have you tried \setulmargins{1.75in}{1.75in}{*} and see if that satisfies them?

Please see figures 2.2 and 2.3 in the manual for some indications. I think that you might have to do some calculations as to how you want your pages to look.

  • Another way of approaching the horizontal margins would be to have the code subtract the text width from the paper width, and set each margin to .5 times the result. Oct 11, 2021 at 18:44
  • Thanks! \setulmargins{1.75in}{1.75in}{*} looks reasonable to me but the area will be larger, so I guess I'll have to do some calculations or even some trial and error. I'm a bit worried they'll just shrink everything if the vertical extent is too large. It's a pretty large and well established publisher and I was surprised to hear that their "production team" cannot deal with LaTeX at all (even though they accepted my manuscript in it!). I wish they were more specific in what they want. Anyway, I'll mark the reply as answered. Oct 12, 2021 at 9:03
  • Peter unrelated ping cutwin seems broken in recent latex, sorry tex.stackexchange.com/questions/618699/bug-in-package-cutwin/… Oct 12, 2021 at 19:39

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