How to Change Microsoft Word Page Settings

Find out some of the basics about changing the Page Settings in Microsoft Word.
Published: Dec 12, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan

This question submitted by Janis Warner, Charles Yee, Adam Anderson, Nikki Boatman, Drew McKinney and numerous others

Microsoft Word is a powerful word processing product that can do just about anything. You could actually publish a newspaper with all the features found in Word. Many business users actually use many of these powerful features to create dynamic documents. For many average Word users, however, including myself, we only use the most basic of features and functions. I've been using Word since about 1991 and I have to say that there's still much I don't know about it. But, when I received a good number of questions about changing the way a page is set up, I knew I could be of service.

Word starts out with certain default settings. These setting are stored in what are called templates. The default template for Word is called NORMAL.DOT with .DOT being the default file extension for Word templates. It's important to keep in mind that while you can change the page set-up from document to document, you can also change the default Word template if you want it to always start with certain values.

To change the page setup in Word, click on File -- Page Setup. There are three tabs, Margins, Paper, and Layout. Each one lets you alter different things to change the way your document looks. Margins are normally set for 1.25" onleft and right, and 1" on the top and bottom. If you're in college some professors will want 1" margins all the way around. This is where you change them. You can either use the small arrows to increase or decrease the margins or you can type in the figure you want.

The "Margins" tab is also where you can make changes to orientation of the text on the paper. Normal paper is 8.5" x 11". Be default your text goes on in what is called "Portrait" mode. Sometimes, however, you'll want your text to be much wider or you'll have a table that can't fit in the 8.5" width. At times like this you can change the orientation to "Landscape" mode. This will print your text so it has the 11" as the width and it's very handy for certain projects.

On this tab you can also do things like set up Word to print two pages on one piece of paper, print a "book fold", and more. The is a symbol representing a sheet of paper in the lower right corner. As you make changes to the settings you'll see these changes reflected in that symbolic paper. That's great especially if you aren't sure if you want "book fold".

The Paper tab is next and it allows you to specify different sizes of paper. You can pick from different heights and widths. You can select from a number of popular paper, envelope, and card types. You can also specify where the paper comes from. Is it fed automatically? Does the paper load from an upper tray? Do you have to feed it manually? And so on. On this tab you can also pick from a wide array of print options.This gives you even more control over the way your document looks when you're all done.

The last tab is the Layout tab. Here you can tell Word where these changes will start ... on a new page, only on even pages, only on odd pages, and so on.You can also make decisions about where headers and footers appear. On this tab you can also elect to have line numbers or borders in your document. Now, there's one more thing I want to point out.

You'll remember that at the beginning I said you could change the page setup on a document by document basis or you could change the default template. At the bottom of each tab in Page Setup you'll see a Default button. If you click this it will ask you if you want to make these changes a part of NORMAL.DOT, which means that all pages going forward would be the same way.

So, lets say you have a favorite font, ke Century Gothic. And you always want 1" margins all the way around. And you always want headers and footers on odd pages. You always want to be in Portrait mode, and you want your documents to use a certain border. Well, all you have to do is make the changes you want to a document, even a blank one, and then click the Default button in Page Setup. You'll get the question reminding you that these changes will continue going forward. If that's what you want, just click Yes. If not, click No.

Word gives you many powerful options for changing the way your documents look. This can be "on-the-fly", making each document, or you can make changes and then "save" them to be your new defaults. Remember, even if you create your own new defaults you can always go in and make alterations on a document by document basis.Experiment ... that's the best way to learn.

I'd like to thank Janis Warner, Charles Yee, Adam Anderson, Nikki Boatman, Drew McKinney and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via email by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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