When I show the Koma-Script documentation to a colleague I invariably get comments about its "odd" layout: asymmetric left and right margins, same layout for odd and even pages, extremely tiny right and bottom margins:

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Is this layout intentional? Are there typographical grounds for this layout? How should I "defend" this layout when asked about it?

  • 5
    An opinion based question, but it's true: I don't like the KOMA manual too (typographically and the way how KOMA itself is described therein)
    – user31729
    Sep 19, 2015 at 8:19
  • 7
    I have always assumed it was designed with on-screen legibility in mind where page margins are less important/useful/desired. Sep 19, 2015 at 10:40
  • The book is very good! If you use koma a lot, buy it.
    – MaxNoe
    Sep 19, 2015 at 11:11
  • 1
    This is not a TeX-related question.
    – jak123
    Sep 19, 2015 at 11:28
  • 1
    I am quite sure the design is intentional. And as @WillRobertson says scrguide and scrguien are designed for onscreen use. Onscreen you don't typically have pages on the left and the right but they come from top to bottom so a different left/right design actually doesn't really make sense here if you think about it. Margins are not needed for putting your thumbs there or taking notes or whatever. (The book has of course margins and left and right pages). I believe it looks odd mostly because we're not very used to this kind of layout…
    – cgnieder
    Sep 19, 2015 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


The PDF document that comes with the KOMA classes is, as stated in the colophon, a "Free screen version without any optimisation of paragraph and page breaks." This means also, that margins have been cut to allow more legible text on the typical computer screen. You can look upon this as a service for the user or as one of the restrictions of the free version compared to the book. But anyway you should only judge the layout by the book.

This being said, I'm not too happy with some of the other design decisions in the manual. But those are mostly matters of taste and I'd generally consider them sound decisions nonetheless.

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