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lorem ipsumIf you have ever searched for a WordPress theme before, you will have probably noticed that some theme designers use some weird text when showing off their themes which looks like Latin.  I have always wondered what it was, why designers choose to use it and where it came from.

After a bit of research I have some answers.

What Is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is a group of text that people commonly use as filler text, or dummy text.  It’s basically a bunch of mumbo-jumbo (at least that’s what it looks like) that people use to show what a design layout will look like when the proper text has been inserted.

what is lorem ipsum

Why Do Designers Use Lorem Ipsum?

What I kept asking myself is why they would use this jumbled up mess of a foreign language and not some English text?  It all comes down to focus. It’s a known fact that if they were to use actual copy, someone trying to look at only the design would be distracted by what the text says.  That is one of the major reasons people choose to use Lorem Ipsum. With text that is unrecognizable, there’s nothing to read.

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Where Did Lorem Ipsum Come From?

As it turns out, Lorem Ipsum did come from Latin.  It’s actually a modified version of it.  What does it actually say?  According to Lipsum.com,

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC.

Lorem Ipsum has been used since the 1500’s.  It was made popular in the 1960’s and has survived into the digital age with desktop publishing programs like Aldus PageMaker.  As we also know, it is still being widely used among web designers such as WordPress theme designers to show different design elements.

what is lorem ipsum

Can I Use Lorem Ipsum For My Projects?

Sure, why not?  It is still widely used so join the proverbial club. In fact there are many tools out there that make using it so easy.  Here are a few of them.

Lipsum.com

I have already quoted from this site because it contains quite a bit of information on the subject.  It also contains a tool to generate a portion of the text.

lorem ipsum generator

MakeUseOf’s Directory contains a writeup about it.  Since that time they have released both a Firefox plugin and a Chrome plugin.

Lorem2: “Lorem Ipsum” Text Samples

This isn’t really a software program or tool per se.  It’s really a website containing different sample Lorem Ipsum texts.  It contains short paragraphs, long paragraphs, short list items and long list items.  Web designers should add this site to their tool belt.

HTML-Ipsum

This tool takes Lorem Ipsum usage to a whole different level for web developers.

lorem ipsum generator

They offer much of what the last tools offers but with the HTML tags included, making development that much easier.

Tell us, do you use Lorem Ipsum?  If so, in what way?  What tools do you use that we should know about?

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  3. timmyjohnboy
    September 5, 2010 at 8:21 am

    "...sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC."

  4. timmyjohnboy
    September 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

    This is what Wikipedia says about it: "The lorem ipsum text is typically a section of a Latin text by Cicero with words altered, added and removed that make it nonsensical in meaning and not proper Latin."

    Not sure what the goal of making it nonsensical was other than to help keep people from being distracted by it.

    Speaking of evolution of language, there was a time in the English language when spelling was more "flexible." For instance, the KJV 1611 Bible has had several updates which dealt with spelling changes among other things.

  5. Neki88
    September 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    and what this text mean for gods sake c c c c

    • timmyjohnboy
      September 5, 2010 at 6:21 am

      "...sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC."

  6. Tina
    September 4, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I once used that text in a presentation about the bibliography program Endnote. Since I just wanted to demonstrate how to insert references with the program, I selected Lorem Ipsum because I didn't want people to read text while I was explaining stuff.

    Unfortunately, people with a higher education tend to know Latin, at least in Europe. And so a discussion ensued about that text and how there were tons of grammar mistakes in it.

    Until this day I wonder whether that is true and if so why? Did the Latin language evolve since Cicero wrote this text? Or - which I find more likely - were those mistakes introduced due to carelessness because due to the way Lorem Ipsum ended up being used, correct grammar and spelling never were a concern.

  7. Tina
    September 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I once used that text in a presentation about the bibliography program Endnote. Since I just wanted to demonstrate how to insert references with the program, I selected Lorem Ipsum because I didn't want people to read text while I was explaining stuff.

    Unfortunately, people with a higher education tend to know Latin, at least in Europe. And so a discussion ensued about that text and how there were tons of grammar mistakes in it.

    Until this day I wonder whether that is true and if so why? Did the Latin language evolve since Cicero wrote this text? Or - which I find more likely - were those mistakes introduced due to carelessness because due to the way Lorem Ipsum ended up being used, correct grammar and spelling never were a concern.

    • Mark O'Neill
      September 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Tina, most probably mistakes have gradually been introduced into the text because no-one really had any cause to read it and notice it. Cicero, who was a very highly educated man (so who would not likely be the one to introduce the mistakes on his own), would probably have a heart attack if he read his text now. :-)

    • timmyjohnboy
      September 5, 2010 at 6:20 am

      This is what Wikipedia says about it: "The lorem ipsum text is typically a section of a Latin text by Cicero with words altered, added and removed that make it nonsensical in meaning and not proper Latin."

      Not sure what the goal of making it nonsensical was other than to help keep people from being distracted by it.

      Speaking of evolution of language, there was a time in the English language when spelling was more "flexible." For instance, the KJV 1611 Bible has had several updates which dealt with spelling changes among other things.

      • Tina
        September 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm

        Thank you for the research Tim! :)

  8. Srivatsan Venkatesh
    September 4, 2010 at 1:52 am

    My old planners from my high school days had that text in small print on these pictures of papers on the front cover, always wondered where they came from.