Take the 2-minute tour ×
TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm typesetting a friend's novel using LaTeX (in my actual document I'm using memoir, but the same happens if I just use book). It's possible I'm going crazy, but I'm sure that it's setting up odd pages to be left pages, instead of right pages (which is what appears to be standard). My code looks something like this:



\title{Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet}
\author{The Author}




This generates me a 4 page PDF (you can download it here) - which I think has odd pages as left-hand pages (odd pages have wide right margins, even pages have wide left margins, but then on the other hand, odd pages have page numbers on the right hand side, which makes them look like right-hand pages).

Shouldn't I have a wide left margin? Have I totally misunderstood odd and even pages? Have I just completely lost it from staring at this for too long?

share|improve this question
Odd pages come on right. The wider margin is the outer one, so on page one, you should have a wide right margin. Is it so? –  tohecz Dec 16 '12 at 17:52
There’s a second caveat: The two-page-view of all PDF readers I know sets by default page 1 to the left and as result all odd pages, too. This can be changed, but the setting is in every reader in a different place and has a different name. –  Speravir Dec 16 '12 at 19:03
@Speravir -- evince, a popular document viewer for many GNU/Linux distributions leaves the first left/recto page alone on the right-hand side in its two-page viewing mode. (I think it does this by default.) –  jon Dec 16 '12 at 19:09
@jon hyperref has an option somewhere to do the same in all readers ;) –  tohecz Dec 17 '12 at 0:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Odd pages come on right. The wider margin is the outer one, so on page one, you should have a wide right margin. So it seems to be correct.

The reason is that the outer margins should visually be the same as the "inner one", and the "inner one" is sum of the "inner margins" of both facing pages.

share|improve this answer
Ah - I thought they were to account for the fold of the book (sure there's a technical term for that - the fact that the inner margin isn't all visible). Thanks for the explanation! I guess I just need to bump up both inner and outer margins so that the inner content is still visible when the book is not fully opened). –  Dominic Rodger Dec 16 '12 at 17:54
@DominicRodger the inner margins (minus the binding correction) typically should together be as wide as an outer margin –  cgnieder Dec 16 '12 at 17:56
@cgnieder - yup, got it. Thanks so much for the prompt and helpful explanations. –  Dominic Rodger Dec 16 '12 at 17:58
@DominicRodger Peter Wilson, the author of the memoir class, has written A Few Notes on Book Design which might be of interest for you. –  cgnieder Dec 16 '12 at 18:01
Interestingly, the amsbook document class does not have this feature. When using amsbook, the margins are symmetric. Does anyone care to list which document classes have this feature and which ones don't? –  Ari Brodsky Dec 17 '12 at 1:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.