How to Change Page Margins in Google Docs

Knowing how to customize page margins in Google Docs is an important skill for anyone who frequently uses Docs for writing and formatting documents. The default margins may not always suit your needs, so learning how to update them can help you better format papers, reports, letters, and more.

Fortunately, Google makes it simple to tweak your Docs margins, whether you want to do it for an individual document or change the default setting for all new Docs you create. This article explains two easy ways to modify margins in Google Docs, using both the Page Setup menu and the ruler.

Adjust Margins for a Single Document

When you need to change the margins just for one specific document, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Docs file where you want to edit margins
  2. Select File > Page setup from the top menu
  3. In the Page setup window, update the margin values (in inches) for:
    • Top
    • Bottom
    • Left
    • Right
  4. Click OK to save the new margin settings


To set a 1-inch margin all the way around your document, you’d enter 1 for Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins.

The updated margins take effect immediately. Repeat this process anytime you need to tweak margins for individual Docs files.

Use the Ruler to Adjust Side Margins

As an alternative to the Page setup menu, you can also change the left and right margins using the ruler in Google Docs.

Here’s how:

  1. Open your Google Docs file
  2. Select View > Show ruler from the top menu to display the ruler
  3. Click and drag the small blue triangles along the top ruler to adjust the left and right margins
  4. Repeat Step 3 using the vertical ruler on the left to modify top and bottom margins

The ruler method provides more precision than entering margin values manually. It also allows you to view the updated margins live as you drag the markers.

Set New Default Margins

If you want to save specific margin sizes to use for all new documents by default, follow these steps:

  1. Open any existing Google Docs file
  2. Select File > Page setup
  3. Enter your preferred margin sizes under Top, Bottom, Left, and Right
  4. Click the Set as default button
  5. Click OK

Now any new document you create will automatically use those custom default margins. You can still tweak them individually per document using the steps above if needed.

Here are some common margin sizes to consider:

  • Standard: 1 inch all around
  • Narrow: 0.5 inches all around
  • Wide: 1.5 inches all around
  • Custom: 1 inch top/bottom, 1.5 inch left/right

Test different options to find the best fit for your most common document types.

Adjust Margins on Mobile Devices

Changing margins in the Google Docs mobile app works very similarly to the desktop methods above.

On iPhone/iPad:

  1. Open the Google Docs app and select the file to edit
  2. Tap the 3-dot More menu
  3. Choose Page setup
  4. Edit margin values and tap OK

On Android:

Unfortunately, Android does not currently support changing margins in the Google Docs app. However, you can still modify the page size, orientation, or color for formatting adjustments.

Why Adjust Margins in Google Docs?

Tweaking page margins can:

  • Fit More Text: Reduce margins to fit more text on each page. Helpful when trying to reduce overall page count.
  • Enhance Readability: Increase side margins so text isn’t crammed too close to page edges.
  • Accommodate Binding: Allow extra space for binding by increasing inner margins.
  • Format Reports & Papers: Fit specific style guide requirements for school/work.
  • Print Tickets or Flyers: Minimize margins to print multiple per page.

So whether you’re formatting an annual report, academic paper, brochure, or any other document, don’t settle for Google Docs’ default margins. Use the tips in this article to customize margins for the perfect page layout and enhanced readability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I change margins just for one page?

Unfortunately, Google Docs does not allow you to set different margins for individual pages in the same document. The margin settings apply to all pages.

You can, however, insert a text box or table cell with customized internal margins just on specific pages where you need different margins.

Can I change margins on Google Docs offline?

No, you cannot alter Docs margins while working offline. An internet connection is required to update any settings related to page layout and formatting.

What are standard margin sizes?

For academic papers, 1-inch margins all around is considered standard. Business reports and letters often use 1-inch top/bottom margins with 1.25-inch left/right margins.

Books typically have slightly larger margins, such as 1.5 inches. But any size between .5 inches and 2 inches is generally acceptable depending on formatting needs.

What causes wide gaps of white space at the top or bottom of pages?

If you notice large vertical white spaces above or below your document text, the likely culprit is the paragraph spacing. Go to the Format menu and reduce the Line spacing between paragraphs to minimize extra vertical white space.

The spacing between paragraphs can cause white gaps, while margins affect the horizontal white space on left/right edges only.

Can I save custom margins as a template?

Yes! After you configure your ideal default margins, create a blank document using those settings. Then save that blank file as a Google Docs template by selecting File > Save as template. Give your template a name and it will then be available to use as a starting point for future documents.

Key Takeaways: Changing Margins in Google Docs

  • Access page margin settings via File > Page setup
  • Enter custom margins under Top, Bottom, Left, Right
  • Click ruler markers to adjust side margins interactively
  • Enable the ruler using View > Show ruler
  • Set new defaults with the Set as default button
  • Margins impact horizontal white space surrounding text
  • Paragraph spacing affects vertical white space between lines

Learning to update margins is a handy Google Docs formatting skill. Whether you want to tweak the margins just for individual documents or change the default settings for good, the steps in this article will help you master margins in Google Docs.