Trying to write a comprehensive answer, I just realized I’m bad at explaining things (and good at confusing people).
Anyhow, here’s the latest version:
Standard minimum margin setting: AFAIK there’s no such thing. Depending on what you want to do, your print shop might instruct you to set certain margins or give you a template. This generally applies if you want to print something sophisticated like a book, anything with a binding or a “full bleed” image going to the very edge of the page.
If that’s not what you want to do, then the only minimum margins you possibly have to consider are those of the laser printer. However, we’re talking about fairly small margins here (e.g. 4mm in the case of the colour laser in my office). Therefore, generally the margins you’ll set for aesthetic reasons will be larger than those technical minimum margins since documents with tiny margins don’t look very inviting to the reader. So, simply design a good looking page layout and don’t worry about the margins (and stop reading here ).
Even in the unlikely case that you want to use the maximum printable area, you don’t necessarily have to know the laser printer’s minimum margins. You could simply set the margins to 0 and then have the PDF printed from Adobe Reader with the option “page scaling” set to “reduce to printer margins”. In this case, the PDF you’ll see on the screen is no longer exactly the same as the one which is printed because Adobe Reader will set the margins to the printer’s minimum margins and then shrink the page (as seen on the screen) to fit (completely) inside the printable area. If you don’t want to resize the page, set “page scaling” to “none”, however, you’ll then lose the margin area which can’t be printed.