Basically, I would like to know how to achieve margin/width extension, similar to what Word/OpenOffice does when users insert comments. I am using the todonotes package and am collaborating on a document, but because it is twin column the margins are too narrow and the notes become distorted, reducing their utility.

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    If you want to simply increase the width of the todonotes use \setlength{\marginparwidth}{4cm}. If you want to increase the page layout, i.e. the borders left and right to the text you could use the geometry package.
    – Jörg
    Nov 6, 2012 at 16:32
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. Nov 7, 2012 at 5:53
  • Does my comment address your issue? If yes, let me know and I can post it as an answer.
    – Jörg
    Nov 8, 2012 at 11:56
  • @Jörg With no feedback, I think it would be best to make that an answer.
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 20, 2012 at 8:07
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    I had the same problem as the thread opener did. You comment did what I looked for. Would also vote for making it an answer. Maybe include reference to geometry package (\usepackage[margin=1.5in]{geometry}) for making the "content" smaller to allow space for the wider todo notes. Nov 24, 2014 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


If you want to simply increase the width of the todonotes, use \setlength{\marginparwidth}{4cm} in your preamble.

Maybe it could also be helpful to reduce the text size for the notes via a parameter on loading: \usepackage[textsize=tiny]{todonotes}

If you want to increase the page layout, i.e. the borders left and right to the text, you could load the geometry package and give appropriate options. For instance: \usepackage[left=1cm,right=1cm,top=3cm,bottom=3cm,nohead,nofoot]{geometry}.

The geometry package is very powerful, so it's a good idea to have a look at the manual.

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    Sorry for not responding - this doesn't do what I need however. Jan 19, 2013 at 9:08
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    in that way the todos are not shown fully
    – smihael
    Mar 5, 2017 at 18:31
  • Note that if you use geometry you will have to \setlength{\marginparwidth} after you call \usepackage{geometry} for it to take effect. Apr 10 at 6:05

I found that this works well if you want to make the paper wider while keeping the page layout unaffected (taken from this answer):

\paperwidth=\dimexpr \paperwidth + 6cm\relax
\oddsidemargin=\dimexpr\oddsidemargin + 3cm\relax
\evensidemargin=\dimexpr\evensidemargin + 3cm\relax
\marginparwidth=\dimexpr \marginparwidth + 3cm\relax
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    This is the correct answer. Without these additions, we only see half of the notes, which are extending outside of the page. Jan 14, 2019 at 3:48
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    Thanks for a great answer! Worth noting that the first relax argument should be double the length of the 2nd-4th relax arguments. E.g. if you'd only like 2cm margins, first line use 4cm\relax, and 2cm\relax for the later lines. Feb 27, 2020 at 17:10

The paper length can also be increased using a similar command. This may be needed if a todonote is so large that it cuts off at the bottom end of the page.

\paperheight=\dimexpr \paperheight + 3cm\relax

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