TextEdit margin hacking


It turns out that if you want to TextEdit to use more of the paper and shrink those ghastly 1 inch margins (which are, frankly, way too big for a lot of purposes) then you can’t do it. Well okay, you can do it by opening the RTF file in a real text editor and hacking the RTF directly. «\margl1440» sets the left margin to 1 inch (72 Adobe approved points in an inch, 20 thingummies in a point).

I don’t know what to be more appalled by. That this 1 inch margin is hard-coded into TextEdit (UTSL); that TextEdit ignores the Page Setup margins; that you have to edit the RTF by hand; that this works?

Can I also just say that if someone had said that the units specified in the RTF file were 127/7200000 of a metre then they would’ve been called insane.

6 Responses to “TextEdit margin hacking”

  1. Sherwood Palmatier Says:

    I haven’t thoroughly tested this approach, but if you create a MS Word document with 1/2″ margins and save it as an RTF, TextEdit will be able to open it and keep the margins. You can also save the file out from TextEdit, use it as a template and get your smaller margins without any hacking. It’s not perfect, but it works for me.


    • Daniel Cardenas Says:

      Thank you! This is such an awesome workaround. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this years ago.

  2. drj11 Says:

    Cool. Thanks. But MS Word? Ewgh. It turns out that NeoOffice can do the same save as RTF trick, and it works.

  3. Jon Says:

    If one is using a Mac with Tiger, this may work.
    It seems impossible the first time one tries it. However, if one starts a new “virgin” untitled, blank rtf document, try adjusting the margins using the down arrow triangle or the “T” icon at the left for the left margin. Extend the right margin by using the bottom right corner of the document window to expand window size at the right. Currently this works on my copy of text edit. I use bbedit and love it but for
    extremely large text files, I use vi/vim.

    I have 2GB of memory and can use neither text edit nor bbedit to search or edit an ordinary text file I have which has more than 2 million lines and 15 million words. Neither of these can adroitly handle that volume on my current (1/09) PowerMac which is a dual 2.0GHz model.

  4. Create a RTF containing:


    for half inch margins all the way around.

  5. Ah, but you can remove the author tag there I accidentally left in… :)

    [ed: removed!]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: