This is the header of a TeX file that I'm currently using:

\topmargin -0.5in
\textheight 9in
\oddsidemargin 0in
\evensidemargin 0in
\textwidth 6.4in

Is it good practice to write \topmargin -0.5in, \oddsidemargin 0in, and \evensidemargin 0in? I find that these help me get the right margins, but I'm not sure if it's a "correct" way to do it.


I would use package geometry or classes like KOMA-Script or memoir to get good looking margins.

With geometry you can use for example


to get a left margin of 3cm and a right margin of 4cm on a A4 paper. This is much more easy as to calculate it by your own ...

KOMA-Script has an build-in algorithm to calculate a proper type area depending on the choosen font size. So with


KOMA-Script builds a proper double sided type setting for you.

For more information please have a look in the guide for KOMA-Script (texdoc scrguien.pdf).

  • 1
    KOMA-Script looks really cool!
    – Paul S.
    Dec 7 '12 at 4:01

You can set specific margins using the geometry package using:

\usepackage[top=1in, left=0.8in, bottom=1.1in, right=0.8in]{geometry}

However, you shouldn't specify arbitrary margins. It's not good practice. You should at the very least, only include the geometry package and let it take care of the margins i.e. don't specify the exact margins in the options.


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