How to Set Margins on a Typewriter

by Richard KalinowskiUpdated September 26, 2017
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The typewriter represents a simpler, often idealized time in writing. Before globalization and the Internet, writing was a more personalized endeavor. Of course, typewriters aren't as user-friendly as computer keyboards, and you might not know how to work one. The simplest mistake can ruin an entire typed page. If you're new to the typewriter, it's fairly simple to set your margins for a clean, organized draft.

Press and hold the margin-set lever on the right-hand side of the typewriter carriage. The margin-set lever is often located next to the larger carriage release lever--the lever you depress when you want the cylindrical carriage to move back to its starting position.

Move the carriage until the paper is aligned at the appropriate right-most position for your paper's right-hand margin. Some typewriters have rulers built into the carriage, while you may need to hold a tape measure up to other models for a precise margin.

Release the margin-set lever.

Press and hold the margin-set lever on the left-hand side of the typewriter. This is often the only lever on the left-hand side of the typewriter.

Move the carriage to the position where you want the left margin to rest.

Release the margin-set lever. Both margins are now calibrated, and they will remain set until the next time you depress the margin-set levers. Now start typing with your ideal margins.


  • “Howl and Other Poems”; Allen Ginsberg; 2001
  • “Technology and Home Economics, Vol. I”; Jesse Dagoon, et al.; 2000

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About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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