Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 13, 2019)


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, and 2013. 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 4 + 8?

2017-05-22 18:58:59

Bernard Regier

Your advice automatically failed as soon as I uploaded my design contents It arbitrarily overrides the table I just created. Even when "sending" the image backward. Why?

Wait. Before you answer, I need to know your opinion; how do you feel about the way that Word/Office was/is programmed for formatting?

2017-02-11 13:23:08

Charles Albert

isn't 'Gutter' the same as 'left margin'? At least when only one sheet, not double sided, is desired.

2017-02-11 13:19:27

Charles Albert

I am using MS Word 2003 & attempting to format a 200 page book. My 1st 7 pages are Title page, Table of Contents, and so on. I have numbered them in Roman numerals I thru VII @ top of page (outside). The next 193 pages I want in Arabic @ bottom of each page. But no matter how I go at this, Word converts everything into Roman, & I tried creating two separate documents, then combining them, that doesn't work either. I am not computer illiterate & have fought with this issue for days. now. Please respond, thanks, HELP!

2016-08-22 11:20:40

Ankit Mohindra

How do we include the border inside the gutter margin, my document is not including it in automatically.

2016-07-09 16:45:44

Willie Boyd

Using windows 10 - each printed page has a shaded - about 3-4 inches that is printed. it is not shown on the document. how do I get rid of the shaded portion of the printed copy?

2016-05-26 01:12:30


very nice to see help in this regard as it helps new learning people a lot,thank you

2015-09-30 14:13:49


It is the normal margin of 1, not the gutter margin, I believe. Try inserting a header or footer, then come back out of the header/footer, it should appear. I have this trouble all the time and this works.

2015-01-14 08:40:06

justin daubar

Ah ha ! ! ! Finally, I know what "gutter" means.

It would have been nice to show a sheet of paper with the margin area and the gutter area shown.

2014-06-03 12:17:39


Hi, Allen,

I opened a blank Word 2010 document today and found that my normal gutter margin at the top of the page has disappeared from view. I haven't changed anything recently and in fact don't use Word all that often, so I'm not sure how this happened, but even following instructions on how to set it does not make my text appear about an inch down on the page as I start typing. I know it's a minor thing, but I still find it irksome...both top and bottom gutters are missing, by the way. Nothing I try works...can you advise? Thanks!

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