When you create a new document in Microsoft Word, you get a standard blank document with the right margins. Moreover when that document is exported to PDF, you are satisfied with the layout.

Over and over I have tried to get the best out of LaTeX, to make it standard looking but I have failed. Using fullpage or geometry packages with custom sizes doesn't give best results.

What settings would you use if you were to mimic a Word portrait document in LaTeX ?

I'm not concerned with fonts, CM fonts are my favourite.

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    You know this is a bad idea in many cases, I assume? Word's margins are far too small. You might also elaborate on 'doesnt give best results', as something like \usepackage[margin=1 in]{geometry} gives Word-like margins pretty easily. – Joseph Wright Nov 23 '11 at 12:57
  • Another ugly hack is to use blindly \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{0.0cm} \setlength{\evensidemargin}{.0cm} \setlength{\textwidth}{17cm} \setlength{\topmargin}{-1.50cm} \setlength{\textheight}{25cm} \setlength{\footskip}{0.8cm} in the preamble and play around with the values whenever it feels personally right for you. – percusse Nov 23 '11 at 13:24
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    Could you be a bit more specific ahout what you mean by "Over and over I have tried to get the best out of LaTeX, to make it standard looking but I have failed"? Is it the lack of automatic hyphenation, the absence of kerning of various letter pairs, or the absence of ligatures that you're trying to replicate in LaTeX? – Mico Nov 23 '11 at 14:37
  • @Mico: Subtle. ;) – qubyte Nov 23 '11 at 17:38
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    Even though you do like the standard Latex fonts, I would recommend you switching over to ComicSans. Using the package ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/comicsans This would certanly bring Latex closer to the "Word standards" =) – N3buchadnezzar Nov 23 '11 at 17:45

I would not be satisfied with Word-like layout, and my opinion is if I use typearea or geometry I can get optimal results. Either I decide layout division (typearea) or specify the exact margin values (geometry), so the layout is in my decision. I agree that LaTeX's default values might not be good for everyone, however it's easy to customize.

However, there's a package you might like, it's called wordlike. It offers narrow margins, makes Times, Helvetica (Arial like) and Courier default fonts for Roman, sans-serif and typewriter font, respectively, and it makes \sloppy typesetting.


The default margins in Word for USLetter paper are top, bottom=1in and left,right=1.25in. As @JosephWright says, you can easily create that with the geometry package:


If you want to emulate MSWord sectioning styles, see

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    You can use hmargin = 1.25 in, vmargin = 1 in to shorten this a bit. – Joseph Wright Nov 23 '11 at 13:44

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