Showing Text Boundaries for Pages, not for Paragraphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2016)

6

In Word 2010 and earlier, when Michael turned on the Show Text Boundaries configuration, Word simply marked the four edges of the printable area of each page in my document. In Word 2013 and Word 2016, turning on this option places "boundaries" around each paragraph in the document, rather than just the pages. Michael wonders if there is a way to make Show Text Boundaries work like it used to instead of what it has now become.

The short answer is no, there is no way to make it work like it used to. Microsoft redid the programming behind the page layout capabilities of Word 2013, and that "redo" made the text boundaries into what you see now. There are some things you can do to work around it (like put your text inside tables or text boxes), but those are bound to be ultimately unsatisfying.

There is a groundswell of people urging Microsoft to restore text boundaries to what they used to be, and there is an online place to make your voice heard. (This is a very long URL; be careful you enter it all into your browser completely.)

https://word.uservoice.com/forums/304924-word-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/9253599-bring-back-classic-text-boundaries

Whether Microsoft will listen or not still remains to be seen.

In the meantime, there is one thing you may try out. If you used text boundaries to simply show the limits of your text area, you may be able to achieve the same thing by turning on crop marks. 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 Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Show Crop Marks check box is selected.
  6. Click OK.

The crop marks appear at all four corners of the page and allow you to "eyeball" where the text boundaries actually occur on the page.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (533) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Dynamic Headers and Footers

Do you want to change the headers and footers that appear on different pages of your printout? Here's how you can get just ...

Discover More

Using Track Changes

Track Changes is a valuable Word tool that allows you to automatically mark changes in your document. This is a great boon ...

Discover More

Number Formatting Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save time and make developing a workbook much easier. Here's how to apply the most common of Excel's ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Viewing Multiple Pages

If you have a large monitor, you can view more than one page at a time in Word. This is very handy when you want to ...

Discover More

Adding Common Line Spacing Options

Sometimes the options presented by Word's tools don't exactly meet our formatting needs. Rather than changing the tools ...

Discover More

Changing the Format for a Date Inserted Using the Keyboard Shortcut

If you are having difficulties getting Word to insert the date exactly the way you want, it could have to do with how you set ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] 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 4 + 1?

2017-10-12 13:04:29

Eldren Williams

I too dislike the new text boundary in 2016. A temporary work around is to select "view/gridlines" on the toolbar. You can always deselect when not in use.


2016-08-13 18:38:59

Stephen Gray

Microsoft listen to their customers? You must be dreaming.


2016-08-10 08:57:36

Nan

So annoying. I've occasionally resorted to using the full page grid. Unfortunately, I can't make that grid light gray, so I just turn it on,check boundaries, and turn it off. Thanks for this tip!


2016-08-08 14:58:34

Sharon

Shhhh, I have Word 2013 and mine is working as before...


2016-08-08 03:57:37

Uwe

A very good example for all the things that got changed from version to version whithout anybody asking for it.

In German there is a word for it: "verschlimmbessern". It's a nerdy thing: to be so keen to improve one point that you lose the overview of the whole thing and make it worse in the end.


2016-08-06 23:10:12

Grace M

Thank you ... This is helpful. I have left comments to Word about the text boundaries. They only allow you one vote on this (I tried to do it a second time). Since people have been trying to get Word to change their mind about text boundaries for three years, I don't know how much hope there is for us who want the change back.

Thank you for your help and your tips. When I need Word help and search on line, your tips frequently come up. Thanks a bunch.


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.