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How to Quickly Change the Margins in Microsoft Word

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Read Time: 10 mins

Trying to create an attractive and engaging document in Microsoft Word? Need to arrange content so that it fits perfectly on a page? You should be thinking of how to change the margins in Word.

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Learn how to change the margins in Word in this tutorial. (Icon source: Envato Elements.)

By making this quick change, you can transform the appearance of any Word project. It only takes a few clicks. In this tutorial, we'll teach you how to change margins in Word so that you've got complete control over your document.

Why Adjust Margins in Word?

Margins in Word are a powerful way to control the layout of your document. In essence, they control how far text and numbers sit from the edge of each page.

Microsoft Word margins default to one inch on all four sides of a page. This means that characters start (and end) one inch from the side of each page. In many instances, this is the perfect measurement. After all, it’s the one you’ll most commonly see on documents of all types.

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Margins, marked with rulers in Word, control the printable area of a document.

It’s amazingly easy to learn how to change the margins in Word. And there are great reasons to do exactly that! Changing margins gives you precise control over the layout of each page in your document. Depending on the nature of your project, you may want to change margins in Word to alter how content fits onto a page.

Think with the end in mind as you set your margins in Word. Imagine, for example, that you’re designing an event poster. The goal here is to share as much as possible on a single sheet. Narrow margins are a perfect choice here. This way, you can pack more material onto your poster. 

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Consider this template example using a narrow margin design to maximize content on the page.

Or consider a scenario like this one:

You're designing a certificate that you plan to print out and frame. The frame will cover the edges of the printed page. Choose narrow margins, and chances are, you’ll cover up some of your text! In this case, wide margins are your friend. They move characters toward the center of a page, leaving ample open space around the borders. 

Microsoft Word margins are easy to adjust, and they’re a design tool that you should never forget. Often, it’s useful to try out different settings before completing your document. In just a few clicks, you can change up the look and feel of any page. Margins are the perfect way to creatively control the readability of your projects.

How to Use Margin Settings in Microsoft Word

Margins are a measurement setting that you can easily adjust. In Word, you've got many ways to adjust your page margins. The first step is to think back to our examples above. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What type of document are you creating?
  • What margin settings will look and work best for you?
  • What paper will this document eventually print on?

From here, you’ll need to decide how much control you need. And you can decide what settings fit the circumstance. Microsoft Word offers several preset margin settings that you can apply instantly. These work in many instances, and save you the work of adjusting margins manually.

Microsoft Word documents are best created using premium templates. When you browse the vast Envato Elements library, you’ll find thousands to choose from. With the powerful Elements unlimited-download offer, you can use as many as you want! Each one can then be transformed by changing the margins in Word. 

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Download the beautiful Letterhead Word Template now, to learn how to change the margins in Word.

Let’s learn how to change margins in Microsoft Word. To follow along, download the beautiful Letterhead Word Template from Envato Elements. It's a great template that illustrates the power of margin management. We’ll use it in the tutorial below. 

The tips in this tutorial were written using macOS and Office 365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of Microsoft Word, your steps may be slightly different.

Review Your Word Margin Settings

To explore how to change margins in Microsoft Word, let’s first consider these margin options. Remember, margins in Word default to one inch under default app settings. You'll see this referred to as the Normal setting. When you build a new Word document, this is the setting that you see.

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Begin by finding the Layout tab on Word's ribbon to start changing margins in Word.

To change the margins in Word, start by going to the Layout tab. You’ll find this on the ribbon, the series of menu tabs across the top of the screen (beginning with Home and Insert). With Layout selected, you’ll see several drop-down menus. The one you need is on the far left side, and it’s labeled Margins.

Click the Margins dropdown arrow, and you’ll see the preset margin size options displayed. As mentioned, Normal is the default selection. Below, you can choose from others, like Narrow, Moderate, and Wide. With each, the precise measurements are listed, along with a preview image. 

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Explore the pre-built margin options on the Margins dropdown menu. Click one to apply it.

Click on any setting to apply it. As you do, Word automatically adjusts any content that you’ve added to the page. Test it out to spark your thinking about how margins in Word work. You might have an idea about how to fit a document that didn't fit in the past.

How to Apply Custom Margins

In many cases, preset Microsoft Word margins give you the control you need over your page layout. But there may be times where you need more detailed control. In those cases, Microsoft Word has you covered.

This is where Custom Margins come into play. This is a robust feature in Word that lets you adjust margins to an exact measurement that you specify. No margin is out of reach, and that helps you address totally custom documents.

To customize margins, return to the Margins drop-down on the Layout tab. Below the list of pre-built options is the Custom Margins button. Click on this, and Word  launches a menu called Document.

The Document menu is the control center for page layouts in Microsoft Word. Always remember it as you think of how to change the margins in Word. With it open, you’ll see that you can adjust each of the four margins to an exact measurement.

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Use the Document menu to tailor margins in Word to your exact specifications.

In the screenshot above, you've got two options. You can type in custom values into the white boxes (in inches). Or you can adjust up and down in 0.1-inch increments by clicking on the arrows. Sometimes, it pays to experiment with these settings with those pre-built options.

By doing so, you can customize margins to be any size that you want. This lets you craft a unique and dynamic document with the content placed exactly where you need it. 

By the way, you'll notice a setting here as well called Gutter. This applies to documents that are going to be bound, like a book or magazine for example. Add a gutter setting for extra spacing between pages on the inside or top side of the document.

When you’re finished, click OK at the bottom of the Document window. Your margins in Word are applied, and you can resume editing and customizing each page. 

More Ways to Edit Margins in Word

You’ve seen how to change margins in Microsoft Word. With custom or default settings, you can control how text fits onto a page. But with Word margin settings, you've got more options available to you. To explore them, return to the Margins > Custom Margins button to launch the Document menu.

Below the four margin control boxes, you’ll see some extra options. The first of these is Gutter. Gutter is a specialty control useful if you plan to print and bind your Word document. It helps ensure that text won’t be obscured on the edge of your pages during the binding process.

Changing the Gutter setting works like adjusting any other margin setting. Simply type in a custom value in the box or arrow up and down to choose a measurement using the buttons on the right. 

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Microsoft Word margins can be applied to one or more pages in your document using these menus.

Next up, you can control multi-page margin options, in the Pages section. Launch the Multiple Pages dropdown menu by clicking on it.

Inside, there are three selections: Mirror Margins, 2 Pages Per Sheet, and Book Fold. Choose among them to do the following:

  1. Mirror Margins. This is common in two-sided printing, and controls how facing pages appear to each other.
  2. 2 Pages Per Sheet. This cuts a sheet in half horizontally and fits two pages of content onto the original single sheet.
  3. Book Fold. This cuts a sheet in half vertically and fits text into a column-style layout.

Finally, in the Apply To section, you can control where your settings appear. By default, changing margins alters the Whole Document. Or you can choose This Point Forward to keep settings you’ve already applied to previous pages.

Again, when you’re finished, press OK. Your Word margin settings are applied. Make sure that your content appears as you expect, and it now fits on your page. Sometimes, changing the margin moves content in an unexpected way, so quality control is essential.

You’ve learned how to change margins in Microsoft Word using a variety of settings and options. As you can see, it’s amazingly easy! This is a quick way to customize the look and feel of any document in 2022. 

The Best Source for Top Margin Microsoft Word Templates (In 2022)

Premium templates are the best way to build stunning documents in Microsoft Word. And the best source for them is Envato Elements. As a subscriber, you've got access to thousands of stunning MS Word templates available now.

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Envato Elements - one subscription, unlimited downloads.

The Elements offer is unbeatable: unlimited downloads. For a flat monthly rate, you get access to as many premium Word templates as you want. 

Use these templates as you change margins in Word. With Elements, you’ll enjoy expertly-crafted layouts that you won’t find anywhere else. Yet, you keep full creative control. You can change the margins of any template to perfectly fit your needs.

Explore Word Templates

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Envato Elements has thousands of premium MS Word templates to offer.

This is only one of the benefits of Elements. You’ll also have access to:

  • Stock photos
  • Beautiful custom fonts
  • Graphics and themed templates

All of these digital assets fit well on your Word documents to create memorable projects in a flash. As you can see, Envato Elements is the best value for creatives in 2022. Explore the vast library and join Envato Elements today. 

Now You Know How to Change the Margins in Word

Learning how to change margins in Microsoft Word gives you complete control. That means that your documents appear exactly as expected. Whether in print or as a digital document, setting the margins helps you create a great finished product.

Start putting what you learned into practice today. Now that you know how to change the margins in Word, think about that document that didn't fit on the page when you tried to print it. Practice how to change margins in Microsoft Word with the tips you just saw.

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