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Change margins in a Word document

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2024-05-27

In the realm of document formatting, setting the correct margins is crucial for achieving a clean, professional look. Whether you're preparing an academic paper, a business report, or a personal letter, understanding how to adjust margins in Microsoft Word is essential. Different types of documents require different margin settings, which can impact both the aesthetics and the readability of your work.


Video: Change margins in Word

 


What is Margin

 

Margins are the spaces that border the text on each page of your document.

There are four main types: top, bottom, left, and right.

In Word, the default margins for the top, bottom, left, and right are set to 1 inch.

Important Note: If your Word document contains multiple sections, margin changes will only apply to the section currently being edited.

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Using the Preset Margins

 

In Word, it provides some preset margins for users to quickly set. Please follow the steps below to find the margins you want.

Open your document, then navigate the Layout tab, then click the Margins dropdown. Here, you'll find several predefined options such as Normal, Narrow, Wide, and others. Selecting one of these will immediately apply it to your entire document.

Also, you can set the margins when printing.

Open the document, navigate to the File tab, and click Print > Normal Margins dropdown. Then choose one margin type as you need.


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Setting Custom Margins

For more control, you can set your custom margins. Navigate to the Layout tab, then click the Margins dropdown, then choose Custom Margins.

In the Page Setup dialog box that appears, you can set each margin (Top, Bottom, Left and Right) by entering specific values, then click OK to make the changes effect.

In the Page Setup dialog, you can directly specify the scale the new margins apply to in the Apply to dropdown.

Also, you can set the margins when printing.

Open the document, navigate to the File tab, and click Print > Page Setup to enable the Page Setup dialog, and enter the numbers you want.


Using the Ruler for Margins Adjustment

If you want to adjust the margins of your document while immediately seeing the effects, using the ruler might be a good approach.

Important Note: Using the Ruler to adjust the distance between text and the page edges in Word only simulates the effect of changing margins but actually, it changes the text indentation, which may lead to formatting issues.

Firstly, you should show the Ruler. Navigate to the View tab, and tick Ruler checkbox.

Position your cursor over the inner border of the gray area at either the left or right end of the horizontal ruler until it turns into a double arrow. A tooltip indicating “Left margin” or “Right margin” should appear.

Drag the double-sided arrow to the left or right to adjust the margins.

To adjust the top or bottom margins, place your cursor over the inner edge of the gray area on the vertical ruler until it changes to a double arrow. Slide the double-arrow cursor up or down to adjust the margin.


Change the Default Margins

In Word, the default margins for the top, bottom, left, and right are set to 1 inch. If you want to change the default margins, please do as below.

Open a document, navigate to the Layout tab, and click Margins dropdown, then select Custom Margins.

In the Page Setup dialog box that appears, you can set each margin (Top, Bottom, Left and Right) by entering specific values, then click Set As Default button. And a dialog pops out for you to confirm, click Yes.

From now on, every new document will use the set margins.


This article not only explains what margins are and the importance of setting them, but it also provides several methods for adjusting margins. Hopefully, you'll find this information helpful.

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