Whether you are typing up an essay for middle school or college, the standard margins are the same. If your teacher doesn't specify otherwise, use the standard margins. This will give your work a professional and crisp appearance, while ensuring that you fulfill the page length requirements.
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When typing an essay, make sure that your margins are one inch all around. This means that the top, bottom, right and left margins are each set to one inch in your paragraph settings. This is a standard rule of thumb in American classrooms and, unless told otherwise, you should follow it to avoid being penalized for incorrect formatting.
Why Margins Are Necessary
Most of the time, when you are assigned an essay to type up at home, you are given a total page count rather than a word count. For this reason, you must follow the standard one inch margin rule throughout the entirety of your essay so everyone has the same amount of space to fill. If you make the margins larger, you will have less of the page to fill with information, and your essay, for the same number of pages, could be considered short on content. Use the correct formatting to get the grade you deserve based on your content.
How to Set the Margins on a Word Processor
When your document is open, go to the Format drop down menu and scroll to Paragraph. You will see four small boxes labeled either "Margin" or "Indentation." In each of these boxes, be sure to put a 1. Click "Save," and you are all set to begin typing your essay in the correct format.
The Wrong Margins Will Affect Your Essay
If you don't set your margins to one inch all around, your essay will look amiss, and you will probably be breaking your teacher's rules and not have enough information in your essay. With a wider margin of, say, two inches, the text of your essay will be very centralized on the page and there will be a lot of wasted space. With smaller margins, your text will span almost the entirety of the page, and it will be harder to read.