manuscript Sample documents with Lorem Ipsum

Leverage this common placeholder text to generate filler text for documents, websites, and other sample material.

I work as an independent consultant offering training and workshops, but I teach a few university classes part-time. I love working with others, and training is teaching.

For my classes that require a paper, I usually provide a target range, such as "three to five pages, double spaced." Or for a word count target, I might ask for "750 to 1,250 words," with the assumption that one-inch margins and 12-point text will fit 250 words per page when double spaced.

Some undergraduate students have trouble visualizing how to write a paper effectively in that target range. To help these students, I decided to create a sample document that met the target, using dummy text.

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem Ipsum is the standard dummy text used across the publishing industry. This Latin-like text is preferable to using repeated instances of "add text here" or some other placeholder text, because repeated placeholder text tends to create patterns on the page that draw attention to the placeholder text. Lorem Ipsum text has variable word length, just like normal text, but the content is usually easily ignored; we recognize that it's fake text, and our eye moves on.

Many websites and apps provide Lorem Ipsum text that you can copy from. I usually prefer On the front page, below the explanation about what Lorem Ipsum is and where it came from, you can enter parameters for the Lorem Ipsum generator. To start, I asked for 15 paragraphs of random text, starting with the "Lorem ipsum" dummy text.

Generating 15 paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum

Generating 15 paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum

Make a sample document

Once I had the placeholder text, I copied it into a new sample document. I applied the standard document formatting that students would use for an APA paper, such as front matter, double spacing, page numbers, and back matter.

Some generated Lorem Ipsum text

Some generated Lorem Ipsum text

For a recent assignment, I asked students to write an article review in three to five pages. To demonstrate how students might organize such a paper, I added my own sample text, such as an introduction, a block quote, connection to the text, and so on.

Because this sample text only needed to represent how students might write their own paper, my text was incomplete, heavily leveraging the Lorem Ipsum text. For example, I wrote this introduction to demonstrate that the article review doesn't need to be very formal:

For my article review, I examined what's been happening with Twitter since Elon Musk took over. Lorem ipsum dolor…

Later, I showed how to introduce a block quote:

A recent article in Wired quoted Elon Musk saying:

Nallam sodales id tellus in placerat…

A paper written with Lorem Ipsum

A paper written with Lorem Ipsum

Leverage placeholder text

Using Lorem Ipsum as placeholder text helped me to quickly generate a sample document that I could show to students. This "article review" was three pages long, plus a cover page as front matter and a list of references as back matter. My finished document was about 800 words, yet required only minutes to create.

If you need to generate sample documents, don't copy and paste from existing materials. Instead, generate random "filler" text using Lorem Ipsum. The random word length approximates English sentences, yet is easy to ignore. This will allow your audience to evaluate the sample document, website, or other material as a demonstration; they will focus on the formatting and arrangement of the sample text, not the text itself.