Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding Page Sizes.

Understanding Page Sizes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 22, 2013)

You probably know that you can specify a size for the paper on which you print your Word documents. It is easy to change to a common page size; just display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon. If you click the Size tool (in the Page Setup group) Word shows you some of the more common page sizes that people use. Select one, and your document is reformatted for that page size.

However, you may want to set your own custom page size, which Word completely supports. You can do this through the use of the Page Setup dialog box. There are two ways you can display the proper tab in the dialog box:

  • Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon. Click the Size tool and then choose More Paper Sizes.
  • Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Page Setup group.

Regardless of the method you use, you should make sure that the Paper tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Paper tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

If you want to specify a custom paper size, you can do so by simply adjusting the Width and Height settings in the dialog box. As you do so, notice that the Paper Size setting changes to Custom Size. Word allows you to set any page height and width between .1 inches and 22 inches. (These limits are hard-coded into Word and cannot be changed.) If you want to print documents with larger dimensions, then you need to choose a different program—other than Word—to do your printing.

Be aware that if you specify a custom size for printing, the results may not be exactly what you think they will be. For instance, if you specify a page width of 15 inches, but the printer can only handle paper up to 10 inches wide, then the resulting printout will not be satisfactory, and the printer may actually reject the print job. You should make sure that you specify paper sizes that are within the limits of what your printer can actually handle.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5336) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Page Sizes.

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. ...

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