I wonder the detailed usage of the documentclass option twoside. I learned from somewhere that it is used for some kind of printing, especially for printing books. However, it does not provide more details.

Moreover, I am currently working on a document that is to be printed as a book. So I need to know how to choose the layout of the document as well as how to tell the publishing house about it.

What are the differences between a oneside and a twoside document in printing? And how to choose between them?

3 Answers 3


When you write a document using the book class, it sets the page layout to twoside by default. If you wanted it in oneside, you'll have to set that explicitly.

The difference between oneside and twoside is definitely the layout. The latter always puts a new \chapter on a recto (odd) page. Under oneside, \chapter is started/printed on the following page. Here's an example highlighting that difference:

\documentclass[oneside]{book}% Oneside book
%\documentclass{book}% Twoside book



\chapter{First chapter}\lipsum[1-20]
\chapter{Second chapter}\lipsum[1-20]


Under oneside the document consists of 10 pages, while twoside produces an 11-page document. In the latter, the second chapter starts on page 7 (a right-side/recto page). In the former it starts on page 6 - the following page after the end of the previous chapter.

Other layout changes include where the block text appears on the page depending on the page, together with header layouts (chapter/section titles on the inside of even/odd pages a so-called left- and right-mark, differing for left/right page, while page numbers are set in the outside header).

  • Thank you. But I still don't understand one thing. That is, the margins of the pages change on twoside mode. In particular, it seems that the odd pages are to the left of the even pages. What's the meaning of this in printing or making a book? Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 7:46
  • The margin is larger on the page where the book is bound. Because of the binding, you simply need a little more margin to prevent the text from coming too close to the binding and thus becoming difficult to read.
    – Sam
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 9:47
  • Have a look at this picture of a book. You see that the left margin of a recto page and the right margin of a verso page touch at the binding. As they come closer, it would be difficult to read text printed in that area. That's why you increase the margin at those places.
    – Sam
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 9:52
  • @GuanyumingHe: As @Sam mentioned, it relates to the page gutter. Consider reading chapter two Laying out the page of the memoir documentation where they mention stuff like stock size, trim size, print size, margins, spine, etc. The layouts package covers similar discussions.
    – Werner
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 18:07

There are basically two kinds of printed documents. One where the layout of each page is identical: think of a report or a letter of several pages stapled together. The other is book style: open a book between two pages and see that they are similar in layout but the margins on the left- and right-hand pages differ plus some other differences. This is produced by the twoside option and the first by the oneside option.

As you are creating the source for a book you must use the twoside option.

You might find reading A Few Notes on Book Design (< texdoc memdesign) helpful and for your book consider using the memoir class (a superset of book and report) (> tex doc memoir). WARNING I'm the original author of these.


Details depend on your setup and the class you're using, obviously. By and large this means that LaTeX considers two pages of your book (i.e. the left and right one) a unit.

  • Usually page numbers are moved to the "outer side" (i.e. left on even, right on odd pages)

  • Same is true for margins: the "inner margins" are usually smaller than the outer ones

  • Sometimes living column titles are split between the two pages (by, e.g., having the running chapter in the left and the current section in the right header)

  • Thank you. Then do I need to tell the publishing house about this if I want to print the book I write? I wonder if they will make adjustments to the printing process depending on this. Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 7:50
  • This is not something that you really need to be concerned with in the early stages of your book, I think.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 8:12

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