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I am writing a document using the letter documentclass. I adjusted several parameters I know of such as \topmargin, \textheight and \textwidth. But I still could not make it into a single page. The header seems using a rather large space with only a date rightly justified.

Could anybody please let me know how I can shrink the space in the header?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The best package (in my opinion) for adjusting page dimensions is the geometry package - it is intuitive and easy. Text width and height is set by using the textwidth and textheight key-value pairs. For example,

\usepackage[textwidth=8in,textheight=10in]{geometry}% http://ctan.org/pkg/geometry

produces a text block of width 8in and height 10in. Top margin modification is achieved using the headheight, headsep or top key-value pairs. For example,

\usepackage[headheight=0pt,headsep=0pt]{geometry}% http://ctan.org/pkg/geometry

would completely remove the header on the page. Adding the showframe package option will give you a nice visual representation of the text block and other layout components of the page, and allow you to see the effects of the document dimension changes.

These options need not be set when the package is loaded. It can also be achieved using the provided \geometry{<geometry settings>} command in the document preamble, or change mid-document using \newgeometry{<geometry settings>}.

Here are some of the important page dimensions that can be changed using geometry (Figure 1 on p 3 of the package documentation):

enter image description here

With includehead and/or includefoot set, these layout settings may mean slightly different things. The following shows the difference (Figure 2 on p 3 of the package documentation):

enter image description here

See the package documentation for more information on the page dimensions and how to change the layout.

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You should also change \topmargin (the space above the header and below the 1 inch default space at the top of the paper), \headheight (the vertical space occupied by the header, whether or not the header is empty), and \headsep (the distance between the header and the main text).

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For me Werner's answer helped but was not enough. Therefore I combined it with Phil Hirschhorn's topmargin suggestion and updated \textheight according to Page Layout on LaTeX Wikibook, here is my combo:

\usepackage[headheight=0pt,headsep=0pt]{geometry}
\addtolength{\topmargin}{-60pt}
\addtolength{\textheight}{120pt}

Values need to be adjusted depending on individual preferences and conditions.

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