Frequently Asked Question List for TeX

# Getting \marginpar on the right side

In an ideal world, marginal notes would be in “analogous” places on every page: notes on an even-side page would be in the left margin, while those on an odd-side page would be in the right margin. A moment’s thought shows that a marginal note on the left needs to be typeset differently from a marginal note on the right. The LaTeX \marginpar command therefore takes two arguments in a twoside documents: \marginpar[left text]{right text}. LaTeX uses the “obvious” test to get the \marginpars in the correct margin, but a booby-trap arises because TeX runs its page maker asynchronously. If a \marginpar is processed while page n is being built, but doesn’t get used until page n+1, then the \marginpar will turn up on the wrong side of the page. This is an instance of a general problem: see “finding if you’re on an odd or an even page”.

The solution to the problem is for LaTeX to “remember” which side of the page each \marginpar should be on. The mparhack package does this, using label-like marks stored in the aux file; the memoir class does likewise.

FAQ ID: Q-marginparside