# [texhax] Parchment layout

Susan Dittmar Susan.Dittmar at gmx.de
Wed Jun 22 12:22:01 CEST 2011

Dear Charles-Pierre,

Quoting Charles-Pierre Astolfi (cpa at crans.org):
> I tried the following syntax in my preamble:
> \vsize = \maxdimen
> \pdfpageheight = \maxdimen
>
> \setlength{\vsize}{\maxdimen}
> \setlength{\vsize}{\maxdimen}
>
> \vsize \maxdimen
> \pdfpageheight \maxdimen
>
> None of this worked. What am I doing wrong ? I'm using miktex, btw.
> Specifically, my first try gave back a 6-page blank pdf. The pages
> were very long though.

what you did wrong? I guess, you just did not provide us with enough
information.  Setting \vsize might (I'm no expert) be enough for TeX
documents.  Are you using LaTeX? Which documentclass are you using? How

Here's a version for LaTeX. I used pdflatex to process that. Unfortunately
acroread (9.3.2, on a linux box) does not show the text then. I guess the
page is too long for that. But it's there, as gv (a ghostview clone) shows.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[
paperwidth=21.0cm,
paperheight=\maxdimen,
left=2.5cm,
right=2.5cm,
top=2.5cm,
bottom=2.5cm
]{geometry}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}
\lipsum\par
\lipsum\par
\lipsum\par
\lipsum\par
\lipsum\par
\end{document}

Unfortunately \maxdimen is not very big, something around 11.5 meters, if I
remember correctly. No idea if that's enough for you. Second problem might
be that TeX creates a complete page -- and that has the length of \maxdim
if created like this. You might want something shorter.

If you want to create something alike to historical scrolls, you might not
need such an 'endless' page. They often did not consist of one long page,
but of lots of pages side-by-side. Think of it like our normal pages glued
together at the side margins. Thus your arms were completely relaxed while
holding the two handles (the sticks onto which the scroll was rolled) in
your hands and read in-between, scrolling to the next page whenever you
finished one.

Hope that helps,

Susan