Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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 the Gutter Margin.

Understanding the Gutter Margin

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 24, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When you design how your printed document is going to look, you need to consider whether you will be working with a facing-pages layout or a single-sheet layout. A facing-pages layout is used when you intend on printing on both sides of a sheet of paper, whereas a single-sheet layout means you intend on printing on only a single side of the paper.

If you are working with a facing-pages layout, the gutter margin comes into play. The gutter margin is a typographical term used to designate an additional margin added to a facing-pages layout to compensate for the part of the paper made unusable by the binding process. The gutter margin is on the very inside of both pages.

If you are working with a single-sheet layout, the gutter margin isn't that critical, but Word still allows you to set it, if you desire. In this layout scenario, the gutter margin is typically the area where you might three-hole punch your paper. Word allows you to specify a gutter margin at either the left or top edges of the page, provided you are using a single-sheet layout.

To set the gutter margin in Word, you follow these steps:

  1. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Margins tool in the Page Setup group. Word displays a list of potential margin settings.
  3. Click Custom Margins. Word displays the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

  5. Using the Multiple Pages control, choose either Normal or Mirror Margins. (Normal is used for single-sheet layout and Mirror Margins is used for facing-pages layout.)
  6. If you specified Normal in step 4, use the Gutter Position control to indicate whether the gutter should be added to the Left or Top edges of the page.
  7. Using the Gutter control, indicate how wide you want the gutter margin to be.
  8. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9037) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding the Gutter Margin.

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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What is 2 + 2?

2022-01-26 18:23:20

paul jackson

I was working with a document which had a gutter for the publication. Now it seems I have an issue with the margins of anything I try to do, as if everything starts with a gutter. Lines end up off the page to the right. I cannot get the cursor to the left margin. I've tried everything I've found on the internet about changing margins, changing styles, setting defaults, etc. using o.o in the gutter size doesn't change anything.

i work with publisher and Office Pro Plus 2019. I can somehow manipulate the margin and text placement in Publisher, but not in Word. If in Word I move the margin settings at the top--all the text moves also.


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