I'm soon going to deliver my Thesis for printing. The printing office are not going to do anything to the margins before printing, nor binding offset. I showed them the default twopage LaTeX margins, and they told me that nothing would disappear, but it could be a little tight in the middle.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations regarding margins and binding offset? Is the standard margins (without binding offset) usually working good? I'm using B5 size, and the number of pages will be in the range from 154-170.

I've read this question, plus some others, but I can't find any recommended settings there. I also found this question, where Bernard talks about a French formula. I guess this is more what I'm looking for, but I didn't really get it.

EDIT: The thesis is going to binded by gluing the papers to the spine. The papers have "normal" thickness. No spiral/helix.

EDIT II: If I want a binding offset of 6mm, how is this implemented in LaTeX using the geometry package?

  • 3
    How much extra space you need depends on how many pages, the thickness of the pages and the way of binding. One rule of thumb i came across in a german article: $Maximum bindingoffset \leq .5 * Thickness of Typeblock$
    – Johannes_B
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:06
  • Does that mean that the binding offset should be half the thickness of the finished book? The papers are glued to the spine. 154-170 pages. Twoside printing results in ~85 B5 papers.
    – ROLF
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:36
  • 85 times a .14 mm (paper thickness) gives a thickness of 11.9 mm, half of it a binding offset of 6 mm, which sounds reasonable. But this is just an estimate. To be sure, you would need a real life test.
    – Johannes_B
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:51
  • Another possibillity: Take another similar book like your thesis (same binding, same thickness) and judge how much is needed to glue the pages together.
    – Johannes_B
    Jun 8, 2015 at 10:52
  • 2
    A look in the doc might help ;-) bindingoffset=60mm, you can add showframe to better see the layout of the page.
    – Johannes_B
    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


I will explain the preamble you should use if you want to follow the French canon des ateliers for B5 paper.

The text width is a fraction of paperwidth – 3/4 for ordinary printing, 2/3 for neater printing and even 5/8 for luxury books. What remains is white space for horizontal margins. The inner margin is 4/10 of this white space, the outer margin is 6/10.

The top margin is 5/10 of the same white space, and the bottom margin is 7/10 (that makes 12/10 of the white space for horizontal margins), whence the proportion 4:5:6:7 turning clockwise around the page,starting from the inner margin.

Hence all you have to do for geometry is choosing textwidth, textheight and marginratio. As an illustration, here is a small file that uses these parameters for B5 paper and prints the numerical values for these keys in the three possibilities (ordinary, neat and luxury). I used the neat model, and didn't translate the French title:

\documentclass[b5paper,11pt, twoside]{article}

textwidth=117.3mm,height=179.6mm, nofoot, showframe]{geometry}%

\parindent =0em\parskip = 0pt
\widowpenalty=10000 \clubpenalty=10000
\SetTracking{encoding = *}{10}
\usepackage[dvipsnames, x11names]{xcolor}
\title{\color{Tomato2}\bfseries\LARGE Dimensions d’empagement\\ (canon des ateliers)}

\section*{Format B5 (176 $\times$ 250)}

TW = text width ; IM = inner margin; OM = outer margin. \\
TE = text height ; TM = top margin ; BM = bottom margin.\\
Margins ratio: 4 : 5 : 6 : 7\\

    \cell{Unit: mm} & \cell{TW} & \cell{IM} & \cell{OM} & \cell{TH} & \cell{TM} & \cell{BM}
    Ordinary & 132 & 17,605 & 26,44 & 197,20 & 22 & 30,80 \\
    Neat & 117,33 & 23,46 & 35,20 & 179,61 & 29,33 & 41,06 \\
    Luxury & 110 & 26,4 & 39,60 & 170,8 & 33 & 46,20 \\
    \cline{2 - 7}


enter image description here

Just for fun, a small nonsense poem by Samuel Foote, typed with XeLaTeX and the commercial font Sabon Next LT Pro, with historic ligatures and the ‘canon des ateliers’ layout:

enter image description here

  • What is changed when defining twoside under geometry, in addition to defining it in documentclass?
    – ROLF
    Jun 9, 2015 at 9:48
  • If using fancyhdr, should the \pagestyle be changed to empty?
    – ROLF
    Jun 9, 2015 at 9:56
  • Not at all. You do what you want page style: in the default configuration of geometry, headers and footers are not included in textheight for the vertical margins computation.
    – Bernard
    Jun 9, 2015 at 10:07
  • In order to avoid text being hidden by the binding, shouldn't we actually make the inner margin larger, for instance using bindingoffset from the geometry package? If so, what is the recommendation regarding this value?
    – tobiasBora
    Jan 17 at 13:00

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