I'm trying to typeset my thesis with the tufte-book document class, and I'm having an issue with the margins. There is a rule (beyond my control) that all my text and figures must remain within margins that are at least 1 inch wide. I quite like the style of putting figures and notes in the margin (that's why I'm using the tufte-book class), but when I place things in the large margin on the right, they are liable to end up less than one inch from the edge of the page. Is there a way to force a minimum "real margin" that even margin notes and figures won't intrude on?


The default page layout of the tufte-book document class has about a 57 pt outer margin for A4 paper and a 62 pt outer margin for US letter paper. (For reference, 1 inch is 72.27 pt.)

To ensure that no marginal material falls within an inch of the edge of the page, we need to do two things: adjust the page layout slightly and make sure that the figures and text in the margin note area don't extend past its margin.

Adjusting the page layout

The tufte-book document class already loads the geometry package which provides facilities for adjusting the page layout.

Depending on your paper size (A4 or US letter), you can place one of the following bits of code in the preamble of your document (that is, between \documentclass and \begin{document}):

% For US letter paper
  left=1in, % left margin
  textwidth=25pc, % main text block
  marginparsep=2pc, % gutter between main text block and margin notes
  marginparwidth=12pc % width of margin notes

% For A4 paper
  left=24.8mm, % left margin
  textwidth=100mm, % main text block
  marginparsep=8.2mm, % gutter between main text block and margin notes
  marginparwidth=49.4mm % width of margin notes

In each case, we've reduced the width of the main text block by a bit to guarantee we have outside margin of greater than 1 inch.

Restricting the width of marginal material

For margin figures, you can use \includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{...}. This will set the width of the graph to be the maximum width of the margin notes area.

You can use this \linewidth length if you need to specify the maximum width of tables and other material as well.

The text of margin notes and captions should automatically be wrapped so that it doesn't extend into the margin. If LaTeX can't find a good way to wrap the text, however, it may prefer to allow it to extend slightly in the margin. When this occurs, LaTeX will make a note in the log file:

Overfull \hbox (12.34pt too wide) in paragraph at lines 38--40

This message tells you how far the text (or graphic) extends past the margin (12.34 pt in this case). If this number is small, it's probably unnoticeable by most reviewers. For larger values, however, you might consider rewriting the text or reviewing your the options discussed in answers to this question.

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