I'm typesetting a friend's novel using LaTeX (in my actual document I'm using memoir, but the same happens if I just use book). It's possible I'm going crazy, but I'm sure that it's setting up odd pages to be left pages, instead of right pages (which is what appears to be standard). My code looks something like this:



\title{Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet}
\author{The Author}




This generates me a 4 page PDF (you can download it here) - which I think has odd pages as left-hand pages (odd pages have wide right margins, even pages have wide left margins, but then on the other hand, odd pages have page numbers on the right hand side, which makes them look like right-hand pages).

Shouldn't I have a wide left margin? Have I totally misunderstood odd and even pages? Have I just completely lost it from staring at this for too long?

  • 1
    Odd pages come on right. The wider margin is the outer one, so on page one, you should have a wide right margin. Is it so?
    – yo'
    Dec 16, 2012 at 17:52
  • 1
    There’s a second caveat: The two-page-view of all PDF readers I know sets by default page 1 to the left and as result all odd pages, too. This can be changed, but the setting is in every reader in a different place and has a different name.
    – Speravir
    Dec 16, 2012 at 19:03
  • @Speravir -- evince, a popular document viewer for many GNU/Linux distributions leaves the first left/recto page alone on the right-hand side in its two-page viewing mode. (I think it does this by default.)
    – jon
    Dec 16, 2012 at 19:09
  • 2
    @jon hyperref has an option somewhere to do the same in all readers ;)
    – yo'
    Dec 17, 2012 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


Odd pages come on right. The wider margin is the outer one, so on page one, you should have a wide right margin. So it seems to be correct.

The reason is that the outer margins should visually be the same as the "inner one", and the "inner one" is sum of the "inner margins" of both facing pages.

  • 1
    Ah - I thought they were to account for the fold of the book (sure there's a technical term for that - the fact that the inner margin isn't all visible). Thanks for the explanation! I guess I just need to bump up both inner and outer margins so that the inner content is still visible when the book is not fully opened). Dec 16, 2012 at 17:54
  • 2
    @DominicRodger the inner margins (minus the binding correction) typically should together be as wide as an outer margin
    – cgnieder
    Dec 16, 2012 at 17:56
  • @cgnieder - yup, got it. Thanks so much for the prompt and helpful explanations. Dec 16, 2012 at 17:58
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    @DominicRodger Peter Wilson, the author of the memoir class, has written A Few Notes on Book Design which might be of interest for you.
    – cgnieder
    Dec 16, 2012 at 18:01
  • Interestingly, the amsbook document class does not have this feature. When using amsbook, the margins are symmetric. Does anyone care to list which document classes have this feature and which ones don't? Dec 17, 2012 at 1:36

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