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Margins, orientations and paper sizes

Setting up your page correctly can be crucial to creating the document you require. There is nothing more annoying than when a mess comes out of the printer after you've spent hours working on a document.

All this chaos and time can be avoided by setting up your document correctly, so that what you print, is what you expected to see. For example, depending on what type of document you are creating, perhaps a flyer, a letter or a report, you may need to alter the page layout to suit your needs. In this article, we will look at the most common commands you need to use to set up your page.

When you are ready to sort out aspects such as margins, paper size and document orientation, click on the Page Layout tab of the Word 2010 Ribbon.


Margins are the blank areas around the outside of a document. The area inside the margins is where you will create your document.

To change the size of the margins, first go to the Page Layout tab. The Margins command can be located in the Page Setup group

There are five predefined set ups for the margins, these settings are good for the majority of documents, however should they not be adequate enough, you can create your own custom margins. The last custom margins that you use will be remembered and stored under Last Custom Setting.

To select one of the predefined margins click on the Margins command,this will show the drop down menu of the five available choices.

Click the one you wish to use and this will change the margins of your document to match. (Normal margins are set as default whenever you create a new document.) If you can't find the margins you need for your document then you can create custom margins.

To create custom margins, click the Margins command located on the Page Layout tab and from the bottom of the drop down menu select Custom Margins.

This opens the Page Setup dialogue box. From the dialogue box you can alter each Margin by changing the figures in the boxes for Top, Bottom, Left and Right.

Page Orientation

In some documents such as flyers, the orientation of your document is important for the overall look and also the writing and flow of the document. As a result, setting the paper orientation is best done before you begin writing. Like the Margins command, the Orientation command is also located in the Page Setup group of the Page Layout tab.

To change the orientation of your document, click the Orientation command and choose either Portrait or Landscape don't worry if you get it wrong as the command will allow you to quickly switch between portrait and landscape and vice-versa.

Page Size

One common issue, especially for people in the UK, is that we often receive documents written for letter size paper which causes a number of problems when sent to the printer. If you wish to change the paper size of the document you are working on, you will need to use the Size command. Like the Orientation command, the Size command is located in the Page Setup group of the Page Layout tab.

To change the paper size of your document, click the Size command and click on the relevant size. Use the scroll bar to look through all the available sizes.

If you need a paper size which isn't currently listed, you can click on More Paper Sizes to open up the Page Setup dialogue box on the Paper tab. In the dialogue box you can alter the width and height of the paper.

In this article, we've looked at the basics of altering document margins, changing the paper orientation and changing the paper size. Other articles in our beginners series, that you might like to read are shown below.

How To Use The Microsoft Office 2010 Ribbon - This essential article will help you to understand how to use the Office 365 Web Apps and Microsoft Office 2010 suite of software.

Using Word 2010 Templates to Save Time - Word 2010 comes with a variety of document templates such as invoice, marketing flyers and executive reports. These reports are useful for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users to quickly create the appropriate documents.