How to Change Margins in Google Docs

Alter the right and left margins, or change all margins at once

When you create a new document or open an existing document in Google Docs, you'll find preset one-inch default margins. These margins are on the top, bottom, right, and left of the page. When you print a document, this space separates the text from the edges of the page. If you need to change margins in Google Docs, here are two easy methods.

Margins are different from indents, which add space beyond the margin to the first line of every paragraph.

Change the Left and Right Margins With the Ruler

Using the ruler allows you to set margins quickly with intuitive click-and-drag functionality.

  1. Navigate to Google Docs and open a new or existing document.

    Google Docs document with preset margins
  2. Locate the ruler at the top of the document.

    Google Docs document with the ruler highlighted
  3. To change the left margin, locate the rectangular bar with a down-facing triangle beneath it.

    find the rectangular bar with a down-facing triangle beneath it.
  4. Click the grey area to the left of the down-facing triangle. The pointer turns into an arrow. Drag the grey margin area to adjust the margin size.

    Drag the grey margin area to adjust the margin size.
  5. To change the right margin, find the down-facing triangle on the right end of the ruler, and then drag the grey margin area to adjust the margin size.

    Drag the grey margin area to adjust the margin size.

    When you select and drag the blue rectangle icon above the down-facing triangle, you'll adjust the first-line indent. If you select and drag only the down-facing triangle, you'll adjust the left or right indents, not the overall margins.

Set the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right Margins

It's also easy to preset your document's margins to a specified size.

  1. Navigate to Google Docs and open a new or existing document.

    Google Docs document with preset margins
  2. Select File > Page setup.

    Select File and Page Setup in Google Docs to set margins
  3. Under Margins, set the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins to whatever you want. Select OK when you're done.

    Set margins manually under Page Setup

Can You Lock the Margins in Google Docs?

While there's no specific margin-locking feature in Google Docs, it's possible to prevent other users from making changes to your document when you share it.

Here's what to do if you'd like to share a document, but not allow anyone to edit its margins or anything else:

  1. Open the document and select File > Share.

    Open a document and select File > Share
  2. In the Share with people and groups dialog box, add the person with whom you're sharing the document.

    Add person you're sharing the Google Doc with
  3. In the box to the right, select the down-facing triangle, and then choose Viewer or Commenter instead of Editor.

    Select Viewer or Commenter to share the doc without editing permissions.
  4. Select Send. The recipient won't be able to edit the document margins or anything else.

Unlock a Google Doc for Editing

If you receive a Google Doc and don't have edit privileges, and you need to adjust the margins or any other aspect of the document, request edit access to the document.

  1. Go to the upper-right corner, then select Request edit access.

    Request edit access to a Google Doc document
  2. In the Ask owner to be an editor dialog box, type a message, then select Send.

    In the Ask owner to be an editor box, type a message, and select Send.
  3. When the document owner adjusts the sharing settings, you can edit the document.

    If you need a quick workaround, go to File > Make a copy. You can edit your copy of the document. For this to work, the owner must have enabled the option for viewers to download, print, and copy the document.