I've notices several times people have been using \usepackage{lipsum} in answers as a space filler. While this is great for demonstration purposes when the document is going to be immediately rendered, I doubt that most users go to the trouble of copying and pasting these examples and the compiling them. Moreover, I think it is confusing to the casual user or "googler" who arrives at the site. What does the community think about this one?


I agree that most of us will copy and paste text and compile it directly. The reason I raise the point is that on the first answer I received on this site, I saw the package and thought "Hmmm, that must be doing what I want, and I bet the rest of that stuff is filler just to make this a complete example." Fortunately, rather than jumping to insert \lipsum calls throughout my document, I looked up the lipsum package first, and then I realized what the real content of the answer is. All I'm saying is you could instead just literally type "Some filler text here." instead, or at least put a parenthetical statement at the end of your answer saying something like "(the lipsum package is just for generating filler text)". (Alternatively, you could just put %generates filler text above the \usepackage command or something)

Again, my point is not that this confuses me or even most people who would read this particular question, but casual nonmembers reaching this site from Google could end up on hour-long detours because of it.

Thanks for all of the discussion. (Also, I agree this is not really all that big of a deal; just thought I'd throw my opinion out there).

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    +1 to the suggestion of simply adding a comment % to generate filler text next to the corresponding \usepackage Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 9:47
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    I should note that I have actually seen a document with a completely irrelevant inclusion of lipsum, presumably because the author had copied examples (from somewhere, not necessarily this site) without fully understanding them. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 18:24

5 Answers 5


I usually add a LaTeX comment that mentions the lipsum package and \lipsum command simply generate filler text.

I think that providing compilable documents makes it lot easier for the reader to test the code to see if it has desired effect. Providing a complete, well-documented example often makes the usage of a macro or code more clear.

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    I usually add a comment in the code to point out that it is only used for dummy text, like \usepackage{lipsum} % for dummy text only. Then the reading should make the connection from the lipsum package to the \lipsum macro easily by him-/herself. Adding it into the answer itself is a little obtrusive for me. Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 12:08

I guess the point of lipsum will be clear if one posts not only the source code but also a screenshot that shows the output.


"I doubt that most users go to the trouble of copying and pasting these examples" — I disagree. I almost always start from an example when solving a problem or debugging. Unless the way that I do things is rather different to the norm.

Also, who doesn't know what "lipsum" is, in general? If they don't, it's not a difficult concept :)

Finally, in many cases the lipsum text is added to show behaviour across pages or demonstrate a design that needs context with text on the page—I'd say it's often a necessary part of seeing how the solution works.

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    Maybe we need a "What is this lipsum package I keep seeing around here?" entry in the FAQ? Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 23:59
  • I agree that working examples are important, and that it's not that difficult of a concept. But what if someone copies and pastes the code into a document that they are working on? They'd get some confusing output, until they realized what the lipsum package was doing. I guess there's also the valid point that learning something new never hurt anyone, even something as trivial as the lipsum package. Commented Oct 4, 2010 at 14:13
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    I agree with Charles Stewart. If a person knows about the lorem ipsum text, then the lipsum package is obvious. But if the person doesn't know about it, the name lipsum gives rather little clue what the package is for. Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 13:36

Just to weigh in quite late, I'm a not-very-smart LaTeX user and I often come to tex.SE from google. lipsum does not confuse me.


I agree with Will: I also use copy and paste a lot for this site. However, I only learned about the lipsum package a few days ago because it was included in some MWE. (I've known the lipsum text for a long time.) There is one thing I don't like about the package: It includes \par at the end of the paragraph, and this is sometimes undesired. With this post, it took me quite a while to understand why in the output there was so much white space between the text and the equations.


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