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How to Change Margins in Google Docs (+Options and Screenshots)

April 15, 2019

Wouldn’t it look strange if there was no space between the edge of a page and the text?

Luckily, you won’t run into this problem on Google Docs, since upon opening any new Doc the margins default to one inch. Sometimes, however, you’ll receive a specific formatting request or run into an issue and need to adjust the size of Google’s default margins. Readability is an important part of document creation, so while you're reformatting you also might want to consider double spacing your Google Doc to make it easier on the eyes.

Fortunately, you only need to follow a few simple steps to adjust the margins on Google Docs and there is more than one way to go about it.

How to adjust margins in Google Docs

The process of changing the margins — the space above, below, to the left and right of the document — is fairly easy to follow. The first method is quick but it only affects the left and right margins. You could also take a more complicated route and adjust all the margins at once.

I will guide you through both alternatives, along with screenshots, so you can decide which option works best for you!

How to only change the left and right margins in Google Docs

As a reminder, this option will only adjust the left and right margins of your document. So, if you’re interested in editing the top or bottom margins then scroll down.

To start off, find the ruler at the top of the page and locate the blue triangles, placed on the left and right sides of the page.

margin ruler

From there, all you need to do is click just to the left of that triangle in the gray area and drag your cursor to where you want the margin to begin and end. Congrats – you’ve successfully changed the margins!

Tip: Make sure to only drag the triangle and not the blue rectangle above it since this changes the paragraph indentation, not the margins.

Let's look at some before and after shots of what the margin will look like once you've changed it. 

Before: 

before

After: 

after

Notice that the triangles match where the margins are located. 

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How to change the bottom and top margins in Google Docs

If you want to adjust all the margins and not only the left and right, follow these three simple steps.

 1. Go to “file” then select “page set-up”

The first step is simple. After you locate the toolbar at the top of the screen find the “file” button, which is located in the far left corner. Once you click on “file”, a drop-down menu will appear. From that list, find and choose, “page setup.” 

print set up

2. Type in desired margin size

After clicking on “page setup” a pop-up box should appear on your screen. Beyond adjusting margins, the page setup tool provides the option to change: orientation, page size and page color. Look for the “margins” label and type in the necessary margin size in the text box to the right of the margin you wish to change. 

enter margin size

3. Select “OK” and/or click “Set as default”

While this last step may seem a little too simple, it can be the most important. Without clicking the “OK” button, none of you changes will be saved. Google Docs also gives the option to create new margin defaults by selecting, “Set as default.” Once this button is chosen, any new document that you create will have these margins. 

You’ve successfully changed margins in Google Docs!

Whether the margins on your doc were too big or too small, you can now rest easy knowing that they are the correct size. 

Want to learn more about how to customize content on Google Docs? Check out how to add page numbers in google docs and word count in google docs. And for advanced learning, check out Google Docs user reviews on G2.com! 

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