Page Setup – Size, Orientation & Margins


Now that we've gotten to page formatting in this series, take a moment to pat yourself on the back a bit. After all, you've learned quite a bit so far — how to get around in Microsoft Word's Ribbon interface, how to open and navigate in existing documents, how to create and save new documents, and some basic character and paragraph formatting skills. That's a lot!

So for this lesson, we're going to pull back a little bit and talk about page formatting. When I say "page formatting," I mean what size/format paper you print on (US letter or legal size, A3 or A4, envelopes, etc.), what page margins you use, and what page orientation (portrait or landscape) your document has.

Let's get to it.

Page Setup on the Ribbon

In Microsoft Word, three of these basic items of page formatting are controlled in the Page Setup area of the Page Layout (or Layout, in some versions of Word) tab of the Ribbon.

Word 2010

Word 2013

Word 2016 Layout tab

Word 2016

Word 365 Page Layout tab

Word 365

We're going to work our way from right to left of the Page Setup area, starting with Size:

Page Size

First, let's decide the size of the page we'll be printing on.

In the U.S., the Normal template as delivered defaults to letter-size paper, so that when you open a new document, it's set to print on 8.5" x 11" paper. The most popular choices for your particular language version of Word will be shown at the top of this list, but you can scroll down to find the paper you need (including envelope forms). (The list of choices in Word 365 is shorter.) If none of those paper sizes are what you want, you can always click More Paper Sizes (or Custom Page Size in Word 365) at the bottom of the drop-down to access the full Page Setup menu.

Word 2010 (same in 2013 and 2016)

Word 365

If none of the predefined sizes there are right for you, you can always input custom measurements for the paper you're using (see above examples), then click OK when you're done.

Page Orientation

Next, let's decide which direction the text will print: Portrait or Landscape. If you're not familiar with those terms, the difference between them is illustrated in the Orientation drop-down:

Here, you've only got two choices. Pick one, and we'll move on to margins.


Like Page Size, the Normal template as delivered defaults to a particular margin setting, but you can change it in the Margins drop-down.

As before, you can pick one of the predefined settings by clicking on it, or you can click on Custom Margins to define your own.

Word 2010 (same in 2013 and 2016)

Word 365

As you can see above, you're taken back to the Page Setup dialog box, but this time you're on the Margins tab. You can either type the margin settings directly into the boxes for Top, Bottom, Left and Right, or you can use the up and down arrows on the right edges of the boxes to increment the setting up or down. Once those are set, click OK to close the dialog box.

The Layout tab

You may have noticed a tab called Layout in the dialog box above:

Word 2010 (same in 2013 and 2016)

In the upper part of this dialog box, you can set some preferences for your headers and footers (we'll get to those in a moment), but one feature I want to point out is that you can set the vertical alignment of the entire page - Top (the default, meaning your text starts at the top margin), Center, Bottom, and Justified.

There is no equivalent of the Layout tab in Word 365.

Let's Review

Here's what we've covered in this tutorial:

  • check
    Defining the paper size/type — Letter, Legal, Envelope, etc.
  • check
    Deciding on the page orientation — Portrait or Landscape
  • check
    Setting the page margins
  • check
    Setting vertical page alignment

The next tutorial in this series will cover ...

Creating and formatting headers and footers, including how to insert page numbers and how to set up headers/footers that start on page 2 (as in a letter). Click this one "Mark as Completed", then click "Next Unit" so we can get started!

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