2 Ways to Change Margins in Google Docs

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 13, 2021

Applies to: Google Docs® (Windows or Mac)

You can change margins in Google Docs files using the Page Setup dialog box or by using the Ruler. You have the option of changing the top, bottom, left and right margins for your document. Note that margins can be different in each section of a document if you have inserted section breaks. By default, a Google Docs file contains one section.

Recommended article: Google Docs Shortcuts to Quickly Select Text

First, you will need to log in to your Google Drive account at drive.google.com.

1. Changing margins using the Page Setup dialog box

To change margins in a Google Docs file using the Page Setup dialog box:

  1. Open the document with the margins you want to change.
  2. If you want to apply margin changes to a specific section in your document, click in the section.
  3. Click File in the menu. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Page Setup. A dialog box appears.
  5. Click in the Top, Bottom, Left or Right boxes and type a margin size in inches (or the measurement system you are using based on your Google account default language).
  6. Repeat for the other margins.
  7. Under Apply to, select Whole document, This section or This section forward (if you are applying only to the current section or the current section and subsequent sections). The section options appear only if you have inserted sections in your document.
  8. Click OK.

The Page Setup dialog box appears as follows:

Page setup dialog box in Google Docs to change margins.

To set the margins you have specified in the Page Setup dialog box as the default margins:

  1. Open a Google Docs file (typically a blank document).
  2. Click File in the menu. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Page Setup. A dialog box appears.
  4. Click in the Top, Bottom, Left or Right boxes and type a margin size in inches (or the measurement system you are using based on your Google account default language).
  5. Repeat for the other margins.
  6. Under Apply to, select Whole document.
  7. Click Set as Default.
  8. Click OK.

All settings in the Page Setup dialog box will be set as the default for new documents. This includes page orientation.

2. Changing margins using the Ruler(s)

To change the margins in a Google Docs file using the Ruler(s):

  1. Open the document with the margins you want to change.
  2. If the Ruler is not displayed, click View in the menu and select Show ruler from the drop-down menu. Rulers will appear at the top and on the left of the document.
  3. If you want to apply margin changes to a specific section in your document, click in the section.
  4. At the top of the document, position the pointer in the grey area on the top left in the Ruler. The pointer changes to the Left Margin marker.
  5. Drag the Left Margin marker to the desired location.
  6. At the top of the document, position the pointer in the grey area on the top right in the Ruler. The pointer changes to the Right Margin marker.
  7. Drag the Right Margin marker to the desired location.
  8. You can also change the top and bottom margins by dragging the pointers in the grey area on the top or bottom of the vertical Ruler (on the far left of the screen).

The Ruler appears at the top of the document as follows:

Ruler in Google Docs to change margins.

Margins affect the automatic page breaks in your document and are different from paragraph indents. The size of the top and bottom margins is also important if you are using headers and / or footers as they appear in the margins.

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How to Change Margins in Google Docs (2 Ways)
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How to Change Margins in Google Docs (2 Ways)
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You can change margins in Google Docs files using the Page Setup dialog box or by using the Ruler. You have the option of changing the top, bottom, left and right margins for your document. Note that margins can be different in each section of a document if you have inserted section breaks. By default, a Google Docs file contains one section.
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