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How can I change the margins in LaTeX?

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Overview

LaTeX's margins are, by default, 1.5 inches wide on 12pt documents, 1.75 inches wide on 11pt documents, and 1.875 inches wide on 10pt documents. This is the standard for book margins. If you want to change them, you have several options: the "geometry" package, the "fullpage" package or changing the margins by hand.

geometry

The geometry package is very powerful, but can also be complicated to use. By far the easiest way to use it is to specify the margin as an option to the package:

\usepackage[margin=0.5in]{geometry}

That will give your document a half-inch margin on all sides. (You can specify other units of measurement typically accepted by LaTeX.)

For more information on all that the geometry package can do, please see the "geometry.pdf" file included with the distribution. On Debathena, this can be found at /usr/share/doc/texlive-doc/latex/geometry/geometry.pdf, or it can be found from any CTAN mirror, such as this one.

Changing margins by hand

If you want to change your margins to something else, you can change the values yourself. For example, here's the commands you would use to change all the margins to 1 inch manually:

	\addtolength{\oddsidemargin}{-.875in}
	\addtolength{\evensidemargin}{-.875in}
	\addtolength{\textwidth}{1.75in}

	\addtolength{\topmargin}{-.875in}
	\addtolength{\textheight}{1.75in}

These commands would be placed in the preamble of your document (prior to \begin{document}).

These commands decrease the margin on one side then increase the text size by double that decreased amount, thereby decreasing both the left and right margins (or top and bottom in the second group of commands) by the same amount.

The \oddsidemargin and the \evensidemargin are both changed because LaTeX has two side margins, one for odd pages and one for even pages.

Deprecated Packages

The fullpage package, simply by virtue of including it, will change your document to use 1 inch margins on all sides. This may interact poorly with other packages.

You may see older LaTeX files at MIT that use the simplemargins package. This package was created by SIPB and is not part of standard LaTeX distributions. If you are working on a document using this package, we recommend you convert it to use the geometry package instead. The simplemargins package can be found at /mit/sipb/share/tex/macros/simplemargins.sty if you simply want to render your document to another format and don't care about future editing.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

October 12, 2011

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