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Lorem ipsum is a pseudo-Latin text used in web design, typography, layout, and printing in place of English to emphasise design elements over content. It’s also called placeholder (or filler) text. It’s a convenient tool for mock-ups. It helps to outline the visual elements of a document or presentation, eg typography, font, or layout. Lorem ipsum is mostly a part of a Latin text by the classical author and philosopher Cicero. Its words and letters have been changed by addition or removal, so to deliberately render its content nonsensical; it’s not genuine, correct, or comprehensible Latin anymore. While lorem ipsum‘s still resembles classical Latin, it actually has no meaning whatsoever. As Cicero’s text doesn’t contain the letters K, W, or Z, alien to latin, these, and others are often inserted randomly to mimic the typographic appearence of European languages, as are digraphs not to be found in the original.

In a professional context it often happens that private or corporate clients corder a publication to be made and presented with the actual content still not being ready. Think of a news blog that’s filled with content hourly on the day of going live. However, reviewers tend to be distracted by comprehensible content, say, a random text copied from a newspaper or the internet. The are likely to focus on the text, disregarding the layout and its elements. Besides, random text risks to be unintendedly humorous or offensive, an unacceptable risk in corporate environments. Lorem ipsum and its many variants have been employed since the early 1960ies, and quite likely since the sixteenth century.

Kyle Fiedler from the Design Informer feels that distracting copy is your fault:

If the copy becomes distracting in the design then you are doing something wrong or they are discussing copy changes. It might be a bit annoying but you could tell them that that discussion would be best suited for another time. At worst the discussion is at least working towards the final goal of your site where questions about lorem ipsum don’t.

Summing up, if the copy is diverting attention from the design it’s because it’s not up to task.

Office suites

  • MS Word: From 2007 onwards typing =lorem(i) or =lorem(i, j) in MS Word creates greeking text–don’t forget to hit the enter key; i and j need to be integers, where istands for the amount of desired paragraphs and j numbers the sentences per paragraph. j has a default value of 3 and a maximum set to 6665. >> screenshots
  • Open Office: An extension named Magenta Lorem ipsum generator is available at services.openoffice.org. Once installed, an icon will be shown in a toolbar below the menu bar, with the option to insert a number of paragraphs, the maximum is set to 25. >> screenshots
  • Libre Office: Magenta Lorem Ipsum Generator 2.0.2, available for LibreOffice 3.3, LibreOffice 3.4, and LibreOffice 3.5.

Typographers of yore didn’t come up with the concept of dummy copy because people thought that content is inconsequential window dressing, only there to be used by designers who can’t be bothered to read. Lorem Ipsum is needed because words matter, a lot. Just fill up a page with draft copy about the client’s business and they will actually read it and comment on it. They will be drawn to it, fiercely. Do it the wrong way and draft copy can derail your design review.

Office suites

  1. MS Word: From 2007 onwards typing =lorem(i) or =lorem(i, j) in MS Word creates greeking text–don’t forget to hit the enter key; i and j need to be integers, where istands for the amount of desired paragraphs and j numbers the sentences per paragraph. j has a default value of 3 and a maximum set to 6665. >> screenshots
  2. Open Office: An extension named Magenta Lorem ipsum generator is available at services.openoffice.org. Once installed, an icon will be shown in a toolbar below the menu bar, with the option to insert a number of paragraphs, the maximum is set to 25. >> screenshots
  3. Libre Office: Magenta Lorem Ipsum Generator 2.0.2, available for LibreOffice 3.3, LibreOffice 3.4, and LibreOffice 3.5.

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