Centering a Custom Paper Size on a Piece of Letter-Sized Paper

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 2, 2021)


Guy has a custom page size in Word (4.75 inches by 7.15 inches) that matches the InDesign document that the Word files eventually get placed in (his is a press job). This helps the authors see what fits on a page. When Guy prints the drafts in Word for editing, he expects to see a small block of text printed in the middle of a letter-sized piece of paper. Instead, Word enlarges the content so that it fills the letter-sized paper. He wonders if there is a way to make Word do what he is expecting.

There are actually a couple of things that you must take into account in order to get the effect you want. First, you need to tell Word to not scale your text. There are actually a few ways you can do this. One way is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the screen, click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the options until you see the Print section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. The last check box in the section is Scale Content for A4 or 8.5 x 11 Paper Sizes. You need to clear this check box.
  6. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 2007, you can also use the Print dialog box (simply press Ctrl+P to display it). In the lower-right corner of the dialog box is the Scale to Paper Size drop-down list. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Print dialog box.

Use the drop-down list to choose No Scaling.

If you are using a later version of Word, display the print settings by (again) pressing Ctrl+P. In the options provided, note the very last drop-down list, just above the Page Setup link. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Print options in later versions of Word.

In the screen shot, the drop-down list is set to 1 Page Per Sheet. If you click this drop-down list, you'll see a series of options, with the last being Scale to Paper Size. Hover over that option, and then choose No Scaling.

With the scaling turned off, you won't experience the "enlarging" of the text that Guy noted. However, the content still won't be centered in the middle of the page, as Guy expected. Let's assume that Guy's 4.75 x 7.15 paper size uses half-inch margins on all sides. When Guy prints on letter-sized paper, the content will be half an inch from the left margin, half an inch from the top margin, and the right and bottom margins will be huge. In other words, his text will be aligned to the upper-left corner of the printed page.

The only way to get the text centered is to not use a custom paper size, but instead play with the margins. The paper size should always match what you are actually printing on. In Guy's case, this means letter-size, or 8.5 x 11. If his target is paper that is only 4.75 inches across with half-inch left and right margins, this means his "text block" is only 3.75 inches across. If you subtract 3.75 inches from 8.5 inches, you end up with 4.75 inches. Divide that by 2 (for left and right margins) and you end up with 2.375 inches. This is the margin you should set on both the left and right sides.

You follow the same process for the top and bottom margins. If the target paper is 7.15 inches from top to bottom with half-inch top and bottom margins, that means the text block is only 6.15 inches. Divide this by 2 and you end up with top and bottom margins of 3.075 inches.

Set up the margins in this manner, and you end up with the small block of text printed in the middle of a letter-sized piece of paper, just like Guy wanted.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (135) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Basing Headers and Footers on the Previous Section

Word treats the headers and footers in a document independently, based on the section in which they appear. This means ...

Discover More

Nifty Zooming with the Mouse

Want to use the mouse to control the zoom level for your document? You can do it by combining your mouse use with the ...

Discover More

Deriving Monthly Median Values

When processing huge amounts of data, it can be a challenge to figure out how to derive the aggregate values you need. ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Fitting to a Single Page

It can be frustrating when a single-page document actually prints of two pages, depending on the system that is doing the ...

Discover More

Printing Multiple Documents in a Sorted Order

Both Word and Windows provide ways you can print multiple documents in a single batch. Getting those documents printed in ...

Discover More

Discovering Printer Drift

How accurate is your printer when it comes to placing information on the printed page? The simple technique described in ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

2019-02-05 10:15:45

Jim Guigli

Re: Centering a Custom Paper Size on a Piece of Letter-Sized Paper

This helps me some. My specific want is to be able to print two half-sheets (8.5" x 5.5") of text side-by-side on one 8.5" x 11". Better yet, the same with printing on both sides. I am laying out book that is 8.5" x 5.5", and would like to print test sections that are the same as will be in POD. So far, the only way I know to do this is to put the file into Adobe, where I can better manipulate the printing.

My HP 8720 printer will print nicely on half-sheet paper, but not both sides (duplex). I have searched extensively, but cannot find a printer that will duplex on smaller paper sizes.

Is there a way in Word (2016) to arrange the printing I want?

2016-07-25 12:03:05


Thanks to everyone involved for helping solve my printing problem!

2016-07-23 08:10:33

David G

There is a mistake in the paragraph about setting the top and bottom margin (3rd paragraph from the end). You forgot to add the bit where you subtract the text block (6.15 in.) from the paper size (11 in.) to get 4.85 in., THEN divide that by 2 to get 2.425 in. which is the proper size of the top and bottom margins.
6.15 + 2.425 + 2.425 = 11

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.