This post is motivated by this post Recommended margin and binding offset and especially by the answer of Bernhard.

As someone who does not really have any clue about page layouts for books and theses, i have a question about margins for my paper. I found this post and found it quite helpful, therefore i hope someone here can ansewer my question. I currently start to write my Master thesis in physics.

My university and also the department does not have any hard restrictions on the layout. I wrote my bachelor thesis at the same place and never really cared about the formation and style.

This time i want to improve the layout of my work. I tried out Bernhards suggestions for ordinary and neater printing. Personally, i found to not quite like the large margins on the sides of my text. So i chose 2cm for the outer margins and 1.2cm for the inner margins with a adaptive binding offset of 4-8mm, depending on how many pages i will have to write. My bachelor thesis has only 30 pages due to the nature of our work. Here i did not even needed a book style and used single side printing for the work. Maybe when i am finished, i will also have to switch back to equal left/right margins for the thesis due to the low number of pages. Also, i found that i would like to reduce the top margin to around 1.5cm if this were possible for printing. If this is also relevant, i use the baskervald font with 12pt and set the margins via the geometry package.

My question is: Would you consider my choice of margins as unprofessional or unappropriate? I never cared in my bachelorthesis and had very small margins there. My two supervisors, who also had some theses in their hands already, never complained. I really care about the look of the theses this time, as i already have some options for PhD positions in my field. Obviously, the master thesis should make a good first impression.

  • Welcome to TeX.SE!. This is primary opinion base question. On the first place see the rules for thesis of your university.
    – Zarko
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:37
  • Thank you! Yes, i know this is a very subjective questions. Maybe here are some scientist or people, that are suffisticated to design/layout of books and papers, who have some strong opinions or recommendations. We do not have strong restrictions on the thesis besides to work after scientific standards. Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Take a look at my A Few Notes on Book Design (texdoc memdesign) in particular Chapter Three The page which describes and illustrates many different page layouts taken from published works. The main concern should be that the textblock is easy to read --- one consisting of very short or long lines is difficult. This is dealt with in the chapter.

The basic idea is first to choose the dimensions of the textblock, then decide where to put it on the page which will then tell you what the margins need to be for a given size of the paper it will be printed on and the binding method to be used. During the binding process the printed sheets may be trimmed to a smaller size, then you will want the margins to be appropriate for the bound sheets, not the printed sheets (although you can only set them for the printed sheets).

You have to decide what suits your situation best --- there is no algorithm that can do that for you as it is a matter of process and aesthetics.

  • Thank you. I really much liked the document! I come up with further question if something in it is unclear. Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 16:14

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