If you’re a designer, this phrase is everywhere. Known as “filler text” or “Greek copy”, people use it to simulate the appearance of whatever text will ultimately be used in a design. This way, a designer doesn’t have to wait for the text to be written to format it, and they and the client aren’t distracted from the graphical or interactive elements of the design by reading the copy. Because nobody would mistake it for their native language, Lorem Ipsum is also less likely than other filler text to be mistaken for final copy and published by accident.

Its use is somewhat controversial but widespread. You can use a generator to get paragraphs of this stuff, or simply copy a paragraph from somebody else’s web page, and loop it:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The thing is, one of the great things about Lorem Ipsum is that it really looks like real language. The words are a reasonable length, individual characters are used with about the right frequency. That actually isn’t a very easy thing to just pull out of thin air. And creating a standardized, professionally accepted written gibberish is even harder, which is why Lorem Ipsum is such a godsend for designers. Yes, you can hand your client a design for their very serious website with Hipster Ipsum as filler text, but they might not be too happy about it.

What is this incantation we wrap every prototype we make in, before filling it with the text we hope will make it great? It turns out that Lorem Ipsum is such a good tool in these ways because its half invented and half discovered. It does actually mean something. Here’s how it got from the pen of a Roman philosopher to your browser window, and how a medieval typesetter might have scrambled it on the way.

All Latin to Me