I realized that in some public academic proposals, on each page, the left margin and right margin are not equal (e.g., the left margin is greater than the right margin).

Does anyone know what's the reason for that?

Are there any conventional rules?

  • 3
    I would think that this is pretty standard in any document, not just academic proposal. Mirrored margins come from printing conventions, and have been carried over e.g. by LaTeX, which is used across scientific fields.
    – Clément
    Aug 9 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


That is likely an historical artifact from a time when pages were printed single-sided on paper and bound at the left edge. The larger margin is to account for the binding.

Even today that is pretty common with two-sided printing, although even numbered pages likely have wider margins at the right, rather than the left, since even numbers pages appear on the left (bound at the right).

The rules have to do with the usage. A print journal might have its own rules, such as in the paragraph above. But for things not bound as in internet publication, equal margins should be fine.

Alternatively, wider margins at one side or the other are useful for on-page note taking by readers, even of things printed personally.

  • 4
    This is also the reason for the alternating headers, as it was assumed one would see an even and an odd page at the same time. Aug 9 at 21:59
  • @Buffy, don't you mean something in the direction of "two-sided, and bound at the left edge of (I forget) the odd-numbered page"? Aug 9 at 22:14
  • 1
    @paulgarrett, even numbered pages appear at the left so are bound on the right. The opposite for odd numbered pages. This is the book convention, also.
    – Buffy
    Aug 9 at 22:16
  • @Buffy, yes, that was something like what I was thinking, but/and saying "print single-sided" confused me... and might confuse readers here... Aug 9 at 22:18
  • 1
    @paulgarrett, I edited the second paragraph to clarify.
    – Buffy
    Aug 9 at 22:19

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