• 2-minute read
  • 24th June 2019

Setting Paper Size in a LaTeX Document

When creating a LaTeX document, you need to set a document class. Each class in LaTeX, such as “article” or “report,” has a default setting for its paper size. And if you need to change this, you will need to use the document class options. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Setting Document Class Options

First, let’s look at how to set document class options in LaTeX. To begin with, you need to set the document class with the following tag:

The documentclass markup tag.

By itself, this will create a document using the default settings for that class. To adjust these settings, you will need extra markup in square brackets:LaTeX Document OptionsYour choices here will then be applied to the whole document. As shown above, you can also change multiple document elements by adding a comma between each option. And one thing you can change here is the paper size.

Setting the Paper Size in LaTeX

Depending on the distribution you’re using, the default paper size for most LaTeX templates will be either letter paper (US) or A4 (Europe). This should be fine in most cases, but you can also specify a paper size when you set the document class. For example, to use A5-size pages, we would write:

LaTeX Paper Size Options

All versions of LaTeX offer several options here as standard:

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  • A4 paper [a4paper]
  • A5 paper [a5paper]
  • B5 paper [b5paper]
  • Letter paper [letterpaper]
  • Executive paper [executivepaper]
  • Legal paper [legalpaper]

To use any of these paper sizes, simply add the required markup (as shown in square brackets) when you set the document class. These settings should cover most situations. But if you need more control over page size, you can download the LaTeX geometry package.

Other Paper Sizes and the Geometry Package

The geometry package offers a range of extra ways to customize your global page options in LaTeX, including other paper sizes. To use these, you will need a new line of markup after the “documentclass” line:

Geometry Package

Here, for instance, the second line tells the geometry package to set the paper size to A1. You can do this for most standard paper sizes, including A, B and C series paper sizes (e.g., A1, B4, C5); and ANSI paper sizes.

So no matter what kind of document you’re creating, you should find a setting in the geometry package that will meet your needs.

Comments (4)
28th May 2020 at 14:24
you didnt actually write the actual code to put in the .tex file. these are really bad instructions. thank you though
    29th May 2020 at 10:26
    Hi, Felipe. The code is all there in the images, but perhaps they were not displaying correctly for you? I've re-uploaded the relevant images now, so hopefully you can see them.
Thomas Bischoff
28th May 2021 at 14:50
I am editing a book on Amazon KDP. The paper size is 5.5" x 8.5" (Half Letter). How can I define this size in a LaTeX document ?
    28th May 2021 at 16:02
    Hi, Thomas. For paper sizes other than the default ones listed here, you will probably need to use the geometry package (which I believe offers other presets, but also allows you to set custom paper sizes if required). You should be able to get the package here: https://ctan.org/pkg/geometry?lang=en

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