[texhax] Margins/Cropmarks [was ... Pagination ...]

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Mon Apr 10 23:11:31 CEST 2006


At 18:59 10.04.06, Philip TAYLOR wrote:

>>As to "camera ready": I have recently seen some
>>.tex files, especially what margins were set, and
>>compared it with the ready book (my job is to make
>>another book in the same style.) I found that the
>>publishers chose their own margins, irrespective
>>of the margins they received. (Indeed, I have the
>>the printout that was sent to the publisher, it has
>>the margins that I found set in the files.) So forget
>>about your margins ...
>Did the "printout [] sent to the publisher" contain
>cropmarks ?  If not, he/she had no way of knowing what
>the intended margins were ...

first, I hope it is clear that the point was: if the authors
intended any margins, those intentions were entirely
ignored by the publishers. My TeXpert predecessor in
the project seems to have intended some margins with
certain macros I found, but when he had left to England,
the remaining authors here in Munich may not have
known about these macros and their intentions.
The now remaining author has sometimes said something
like he thought that the choice of certain parameter values
were kind of hard-wired.

I admit: I doubt that I have seen cropmarks. What I have
(and presumably have seen) has no cropmarks, but the
margins to be predicted from the macros. The right-hand margins,
e.g., vary from 21 mm to 24 mm, irrespective of the page
number -- while the inner margins in the book is about 1 inch
-- i.e., the margins are symmetric in the book, not in the printout.
-- The authors worked with Plain TeX and EDMAC. The latter
provides corpmarks, but ... And they didn't use any standard
package for determining the margins. -- Anyway, what I have
is rather a final internal proof printout, not what really faced the

According to my little knowledge, cropmarks make publishers
happy, but publishers usually can do without. When I helped
for a "camera-ready" book in 2000/2001, I didn't know about
cropmarks at all.

As reported above, the margins seem to vary within millimetres
even with up-to-date printers. And so do the margins in that
book. The front-back-alignment fails for about one millimetre.

I guess what the publisher did with the printout was as follows:
/Their/ main intention was to have an inner margin of exactly 1 inch.
Through measuring some of the right margins in the printout,
they decided how to place the /paper edges/ under the camera
(different rules for odd/even).
(They didn't care about the outer margin, which is determined
by the text width -- and this is, oh my, 145mm, while the remaining
dimensions are measured in inches.)

So I guess they use the paper edges when you don't send crop marks.
If you are clever and send cropmarks, they may use them to make
up for the imprecise placement of the text by your printer.

As sometimes, it suddenly comes to my mind in replying
what the intention of to what I am replying more probably was:
Phil, you might have suggested that they chose there own
dimensions because they were not provided with the intentions
of the authors. However, the story I told above should make
clear that the publisher's choice was wise and considered
traditions, while the intentions behind the .tex macros were
shere nonsense ...

Here again we return to the theme that the rise of TeX,
in blatant violation of its inventor's intentions, fights good
traditional practice of printing. Remembering a "fun"
posting here reporting that some secret service of Texas
decided to observe EuroTeX, I would like to propose that
the TUG establish a secret service that observes the
`geometry' package and the like :-) -- For a more positive
attitude, I can't help better than recommending Peter
Wilson's memoir class and its manual, as others have
done here. There are certainly other improvements of
Standard LaTeX in this direction, I think of my friend's
Alex Rozhenko's NCCLaTeX and NCCtools here,
but I cannot compare them
(I once suggested to Karl Berry to have a column for this
in TUGboat, but I cannot afford to do it myself).

Best wishes,

More information about the texhax mailing list