How to Change Margins on Google Docs

Looking for margin settings in a Google document?

Google Doc Margins Feature Image

Google Docs has become the go-to word processor for many individuals and businesses because of the versatility and sharing capabilities it offers. Unfortunately, some tasks like changing margin settings, can be difficult to figure out at first. Luckily, this guide can help you learn the various ways to adjust document margins in Google Docs without searching for the right setting for hours.

Use the Ruler to Adjust Margins in Google Docs

The easiest way to adjust margins in Google Docs is by shifting over the ruler. These guides essentially set the “off limits” area for each page of your document, and shifting these rulers automatically readjusts any text you’ve already typed.

To use the ruler to adjust your Google Docs margins, follow these steps:

  1. Enable rulers by moving to View in the top menu bar, then checking “Show ruler.”
Google Doc Margins View

Once the rulers are displayed on both the top and left side of the page, you can decide whether you want to adjust the horizontal margins (controlled from the top of the page) or the vertical margins (controlled from the left side of the page). You’ll see an indicator in the form of a blue line as the margin moves to your desired location.

Google Doc Margins No Selections
  1. To adjust the left margin, move your cursor to the top of the rectangle and triangle located on the left side of the top ruler.
  • If you want to adjust the margin for the entire page, drag both the rectangle and triangle together by pressing down and dragging just above the rectangle. (You can also click on the gray portion of the ruler before dragging.) Wait for the cursor to morph into a horizontal arrow before you click and drag.
  • If you want to adjust the margin for specific paragraphs, drag only the rectangle or the triangle to adjust the margin.
Google Doc Margins Left
  1. To adjust the right margin, move over to the right triangle in the top ruler. Click and drag the mouse to move the triangle to where you’d like the margin.
Google Doc Margins Right
  1. To adjust the top or bottom margin, move over to the top or bottom of the ruler on the left side of the page. Once the cursor turns into a vertical arrow, you can hold and drag the mouse to move the margin higher or lower.
Google Doc Margins Top Bottom

The area outside the margins is highlighted in gray on the ruler, while the area within appears white. The cursor does not change when you hover over the white portion of the ruler or over the gray portion beyond the limits of the ruler.

Use Page Setup to Set Custom Margins

While the ruler adjustments give you lots of flexibility in setting margins, they aren’t always the most practical route. If you need specific measured margins, use Page Setup to set custom margins.

  1. From the top menu bar, select File.
  2. Scroll down to “Page Setup.”
Google Doc Margins File Menu
  1. When the “Page Setup” dialog opens, make sure Pages is selected at the top.
Google Doc Margins Page Setup Pages
  1. On the right side of the dialog, you will see the current margins. Click each field, then type the measurement you’d like each margin to be. Note that you can type decimal points for fractional amounts, i.e., typing, say, 1.5 for one and a half inches is acceptable.
Google Doc Margins Page Setup Margins
  1. Press OK.
Google Doc Margins Page Setup Ok

How to Set 1-Inch Margins in Google Docs

If you have your Google account set in a way that the default language uses the metric system, then you may find it hard to set 1-inch margins in Google Docs. However, you can simply do the following:

  1. Navigate to “File -> Page Setup”.
  2. Look for the Margins section on the right side of the Pages tab. You will notice that it is set to centimeters, not inches.
Google Doc Margins Centimeters
  1. Since 2.54 centimeters equals 1 inch, type 2.54 into each box in the margins section. Then, press OK to finish setting 1-inch margins.
Google Doc Margins Centimeters Inch

How to Fix Default Margins in Google Docs

If you use Google Docs on a regular basis, you may want to set custom margins as the default. Similarly, if you somehow mess up your margins, you may want to reset them to default settings.

Here’s how to fix default margins in Google Docs.

  1. Navigate to “File -> Page Setup”.
  2. When the Page Setup dialog opens, enter the default margin settings you want into each margin box on the right side. (Many people use 1-inch margins on documents.)
Google Doc Margins Page Setup Margins 1
  1. Once you have the margins set, push “Set as default” at the bottom left. Then, push OK.
Google Doc Margins Page Setup Default

How to Change Google Doc Margins on Mobile

One of the biggest perks of Google Docs over other word processors like Microsoft Word is that it’s easy to edit documents on Android or iOS devices. Because of this, many people use Google Docs on their mobile devices.

Changing Google Doc Margins on iOS

  1. Within a document, press the Menu icon (the three dots at the top right of the screen).
  1. Tap on “Page setup.”
Google Doc Margins Ios Page Setup
  1. Choose Margins.
Google Doc Margins Ios Margins 1

Here, you will have the following margin options to select from.

  • Narrow (0.5 inch margins)
  • Default (1-inch margins)
  • Wide (2-inch margins on the sides)
  • Custom (enter a custom number)
Google Doc Margins Setting
  1. Once you select the margin size you want, tap Apply at the top right to save the settings.

Changing Google Doc Margins on Android

If you use an Android device, unfortunately you cannot change the page margins via mobile. Instead, all you can change in terms of page setup is the page orientation and page size.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I change my margin measurements from inches to centimeters or vice versa?

The measurement system Google Docs uses is controlled by the primary language setting for your Google account. To change this setting, visit your Google account page, click on “Personal Info” in the sidebar, and under the “General preferences for the web” section, select your preferred language based on whether you want to use the metric system or the imperial system.

Can you lock margins in Google Docs?

Unfortunately, Google Docs does not provide a way for you to lock the margins on a document you’ve created. However, you can prevent other people from editing your margin settings by giving them “view only” access or forcing them to make a copy of the document.

Can I edit margins on a shared document someone else created?

If you have edit privileges on the shared Google document, then yes, you can change the margins by following any of the methods suggested above.

Image credit: Vlada Karpovich via Pexels

Megan Glosson
Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek. When she’s not writing, you will probably find Megan playing board games with her partner and two children or swimming in the pool. You can check out Megan’s entire portfolio on her website, https://www.meganglosson.com/.

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