There are three different ways to adjust page margins in Microsoft Word:
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The images below are from Word in Microsoft 365. The steps are the same in Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010. However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions of the software.
Adjust Page Margins with the Ruler
This method is only recommended for short documents. If your document is long or has multiple sections, see the preset and custom margin methods below.
Important note: Skip to step 3 if your ruler is already visible.
- Select the View tab in the ribbon.
- Select Ruler in the Show group.
- Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select the entire document.
Pro Tip: Select All from the Ribbon
As an alternative to Ctrl + A, you can select the entire document from the ribbon:
1. Select the Home tab in the ribbon.
2. Select the Select button in the Editing group.
3. Select the Select All option from the drop-down menu.
- Hover your cursor over the inner border of the gray area on the left or right end of the horizontal ruler until your cursor becomes a double arrow. (You should see a tooltip that says, “Left margin” or “Right margin.”)
- Slide the double-arrow cursor to the left or right to adjust the margin.
- To adjust the top or bottom margins, hover your cursor over the inner border of the gray area of the vertical ruler until your cursor becomes a double arrow. Then, slide the double-arrow cursor up or down to adjust the margin.
Should You Adjust Margins with the Ruler Marker?
The square ruler marker in the horizontal ruler can be used to move the left edge of the text.
However, this technique indents your text; it doesn’t adjust the margin.
Although the visual effect is the same, creating unnecessary indents can cause problems with other formatting within longer documents.
The preset method and custom method shown below offer more precise control over margins.
Use Preset Margins
Important note: Preset margins only affect your current section. If you want to apply a preset to an entire document with multiple sections, press Ctrl + A to select the entire document before performing these steps.
- Select the Layout tab in the ribbon.
- Select the Margins button in the Page Setup group.
- Select one of the preset margins from the drop-down menu:
- Mirrored (This is for binding documents like a book.)
- Office 2003 Default
After you make your selection, the Margins drop-down menu will close, and your margins will adjust immediately.
Pro Tip: The preset menu is also available in the Print tab in the backstage view.
Create Custom Margins
- Select the Layout tab in the ribbon (see figure 7).
- Select the dialog box launcher in the Page Setup group.
- Enter your new margins in inches (whole numbers or decimals) in the Top, Left, Bottom, and Right text boxes in the Page Setup dialog box.
- Select a location in the Apply to menu:
- This section
- This point forward
- Whole document
The This section option won’t appear if your document doesn’t have section breaks.
- Select the OK button to close the Page Setup dialog box.
As always, save your file to save your changes.
Updated August 22, 2021