Degree thesis margins: how to set them in 3 simple steps

# 1 Thesis margins: let’s delimit our territory!

Like the canvas for the painter or the lens for the photographer, the margins physically define our work and limit our field of action.

For some it may seem a reassuring phrase, for others a threat … but the reality is this. You can’t escape from here! We are therefore going to define our territory in a definitive way.

And let’s remember that, once set, the margins no longer have to be changed.

# 2 We choose the type of printing

It is important not to postpone this operation at the last minute.

Before setting the margins of our file, we must take a moment to choose the type of printing and decide if our thesis will be printed only front or back / front.

Only then can we make the correct choice.

Let us inform ourselves at our university

We are already super informed about the international university evenings that are organized over the weekend … we can also do the information we need on the rules of the press!

Online there will certainly be a section dedicated to the rules to follow for the printing of the thesis. Following these indications (which may be more or less binding), we will avoid starting the draft with a wrong approach.

Changing the margins of a document when writing (or even writing ended!) Means changing its appearance completely.

The damage could be really difficult to repair, especially if we are working on a file with many images or tables.

In order not to risk compromising the correct layout, which cost us many nights in white, it is better to play it safe and set the correct parameters right from the start.

# 3 How to set margins correctly

Here is the information we need for the two types of printing.

For printing only FRONT

Printing the thesis only front means that all the pages will be written only on one side of the sheet, called the front.

This means that we should always calculate sufficient space for binding on the same side (generally the binding “steals” 1 cm).

Each page will therefore be the same as the previous and the next. The margins setting will always be the same throughout the document.


  • Top margin – 3 cm.
  • Bottom margin – 3 cm.
  • Right margin – 3 cm.
  • Left margin – 4 cm.

For FRONT / REAR printing

Printing the front / back thesis means that all pages will be written on both sides of the paper, so both on the front and on the back.

Here the situation becomes more complicated: it will no longer be enough to launch a setting that applies to all pages, but two different settings.

This is because we will have to leave the space for binding alternately:

  • the pages in front will always have the binding on the left,
  • the back pages will always have the binding on the right.


  • Top margin – 3 cm.
  • Bottom margin – 3 cm.
  • Right margin
  • On the front pages – 3 cm.
  • In the back pages – 4 cm.
  • Left margin
  • On the front pages – 4 cm.
  • In the back pages – 3 cm.

How to set alternate margins in Word

If we are using Word, we can easily set this alternation automatically. The function that allows us to do this is Specular Margins.

Practical but effective advice

Don’t set too invasive margins to stretch the text and get more pages

Don’t set margins too thin to save a few euros on the press

In both cases the result … would be really bad! You would end up frustrating your efforts and you would not properly value your thesis