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: Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Normal View.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 17, 2015)
Dave recently upgraded his copy of Word and noticed that the text displayed in Draft view wraps on the screen differently than it used to. In his earlier version of Word the text would wrap at the right margin, as it was shown on the Ruler. In the newer version the text extended past the right margin (as shown on the Ruler) and only wraps when the right side of the document window is reached.
The problem being described isn't really a problem. It is a "feature" of Word that has been available for many, many years. You can control this feature by following these steps:
Figure 1. The advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.
The check box in step 4, when selected, makes the text in Draft and Outline views extend the full width of the document window, without regard to where the margin is set. This only affects what you see on the screen; it does not affect any printouts. If the check box is cleared, then the margins are minded and the text wraps where you expect it to wrap.
The need for this feature is rooted in history. The original intent of Draft view (which used to be called Normal view) was to speed up work by foregoing an exact WYSIWYG format. In this view, Word does not worry about line breaks, margins and page breaks in the same manner as in the Print Layout view. Likewise, graphics objects are not displayed. The point is to release computer resources to facilitate doing the work of entering and editing content. The purpose of the Show Text Wrapped Within the Document Window setting is to allow even more information to appear on-screen, since WYSIWYG isn't being paid attention to in Draft view anyway.
It is not unusual for people, these days, to bypass using Draft view and instead using Print Layout view. The Show Text Wrapped Within the Document Window setting has no bearing on this view, since the essence of Print Layout view is to show a very close representation of what your final printout will look like. If you want to use Draft view, there is nothing wrong with that (I do it all the time), but you'll need to pay attention to settings such as the Show Text Wrapped Within the Document Window check box so that your display looks like you want it to.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10690) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Normal View.
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