I used the following in a corporate template in order to get wider margins for todo notes:


This made the entire layout shift around, not just the marginparwidth. According to this ShareLaTeX page, marginparwidth is a dimension on its own.

To get away from the corporate template (who knows what else is going on in there), I resorted to Dr. Korlie's sample LaTeX file and stuck the 2 usepackage statements after his setlength commands. Same thing (not just marginparwidth changes).

Is there any way to change only marginparwidth?

  • Marginparwidth is not independent. If you set it wider than it is distance between text and page border, than you implicit require that this distance should be bigger. It can not be set locally.
    – Zarko
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 1:10
  • Yes, that did occur to me. But all the dimensions change even if I set the marginparwidth to something reasonable that doesn't consume all the space between the text box and the page edge. It seems that something other than overiszed marginparwidth is affecting the other dimensions.
    – user36800
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


I'm not very familiar with geometry package, so I read instruction in its manual :-). There I find nice explanation, how to set up geometry. As I mentioned in my comments, parameter marginparwidth is no independent nor locally defined size. If you select its width properly, I will not disturb any other settings of page geometry. In MWE below I consider the following rule:

outer=marginparsep + marginparwidth + distance between marginpar and page border

The following MWE, where I anticipate twoside option for your document, show an example for page setup. For more details, I strongly encourage you to read package documentation. It has only 18 pages with a lot of useful information.

            outer=50mm,% = marginparsep + marginparwidth 
                       %   + 5mm (between marginpar and page border)
            showframe% for show your page design, normaly not used

\marginpar{margin notes (test)}

It gives the following layout of page:

enter image description here

For any further help, you need to give more information, what is your problem. Ma answer and given MWE is based on my guessing.

  • Thank you, Zarko. I started to peruse the documentation to see why your example worked while mine two did not. However, it will take a bit of digging into, and I regret that I won't be able to follow through in the next few days. I appreciate the lead that your example provides for my troubleshooting, and I hope to follow up shortly.
    – user36800
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 3:29

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