I have a question that somehow depends on people's taste I suppose. I like the amsart package for my documents, however I always found the margins too large, so I got used to making them smaller (3cm) using the geometry package.

When the article goes to a journal it doesn't matter in the end because they will format it accordingly, so my question is rather aimed at the preprint version, which is usually the one in the arxiv/home webpage.

What do people prefer generally? Big margins? Small margins?

Why does amsart sets the margin so large? I know it's for their journal specifications, so the question may be rephrased: what's the reason that these journals like the margins so big? I'm looking for an answer in the lines of "because it's better for reading according to such and such..".


when you see an actual issue of an ams journal you will see that the trim size is 7x10 inches. so, while the margins are generous, they are not nearly as large as they appear on lettersize or a4 paper.

the width of a line has been demonstrated to be most readable when it contains in the range of 50-80 characters. (this is from memory, and i will check.) the settings for amsart fall within that range.

this posting on a sister stackexchange site has some good answers (it treats print vs. web material), and in particular, the answers link to good references.

Recommended column width for text reading, digital vs printed

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