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: Margins Incorrect when Printing.

Margins Incorrect when Printing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2016)

12

Pamela edits doctoral dissertations for grad students and discovered that the margins on her Word printouts are inaccurate. Although the page setup reflects the appropriate margins, the margins are greater when printed. They also appear irregular and greater in the print view. She has contacted Microsoft directly, but they will not assist her because the software was preloaded by Dell at time of purchase. She contacted Dell and though they attempted to assist her, they were unsuccessful in resolving this issue.

There are many possible causes for the problem, as described. Unfortunately, tracking down the problem means that you are going to have to engage in some "trial and error" to figure out what is going on.

First, you need to figure out if the problem occurs on all documents or not. If it doesn't, then you know that it has to be a document-specific setting. For instance, check the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box to see if there is a gutter margin set. If there is, set it to 0 and see if the problem goes away.

Check the other margin settings, as well. For instance, do the margins apply to the whole document, or are there different sections in the document that have different margins specified? Try selecting the whole document with Ctrl+A, viewing the Page Setup dialog box, and applying the desired margins to the Whole Document.

Next, check to see if you have changes tracked in the document. If Track Changes is turned on, Word may be set to print "Final Showing Markup," which can cause some funky margins in the printout. If you suspect this is the case, choose to a different printing mode (in the Print dialog box) or resolve all the outstanding changes before printing.

Another thing to check is the settings in the Print area of the Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box. For instance, if Allow A4/Letter Resizing is enabled, the output can appear different than what you see on-screen. Similarly, if you have Word configured to print hidden text (but not display it) or to print field codes, this could affect the way that information is printed.

You may also want to check to see if some strange font substitution is going on in your printout. If either Word or your printer is substituting fonts on you, then you can get some strange looking results, often in subtle ways.

You should note that the above settings don't actually affect the margins, but may affect what is printed and give the appearance that the margins are changing in the printout. If you are sure that it is the margins that are changing and not the text itself that is changing, then this indicates that the problem may be related to a printer driver. You'll want to figure out the exact make and model of the printer you are using, along with your version of Windows, and then visit the Web site for the printer manufacturer. Download and install the latest printer driver and the problem may go away.

You need to make sure that you get the printer driver for your exact model of printer—anything for a "related" printer might give the erroneous results. In addition, you'll want to make sure that you have—in Windows—the proper printer driver selected for your output.

Finally, you may want to check if there is something inherently goofy in how your printer actually prints. One way to check this is to print the same document on a different printer, if you have multiple printers available to your system. An even more interesting way to do it is to create a blank document and add two lines to it. These two lines should form a "plus sign" in the exact center of the page. Print the page and then fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically. If the folds don't correspond with the location of the plus sign, then that is a good indicator that your printer's paper handling mechanism isn't terribly accurate and can affect your output.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10913) 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: Margins Incorrect when Printing.

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 + 1?

2017-10-17 02:23:48

Faisal Rafique

Disabling "Scale content for A4 8.5x11" paper sizes" in MS Word 2013 -> Advanced -> print options resolved the problem, many Thanks.


2017-04-20 17:44:46

Ron R.

Many thanks go out to K Wetherell for helping me solve this problem.


2017-02-05 07:47:56

josh boniver bongot

still the problem exist.. what shoud i do?


2017-01-21 19:22:03

Sheila

I cannot print labels tho I have set the custom margins but it still prints as if on 8-1/2" w paper. I unchecked the A4 box but still prints the same.


2016-12-05 12:30:11

izzy

Nothing above or below of all the stuff listed "bleeds to the edge" ... it even says I am printing outside printable margin which is set to zero. And it still prints a margin though I choose to ignore the fix dialog.


2016-10-12 19:39:21

Richard

Was having the same problem.

Alexander Gray... thank you


2016-10-10 05:24:47

Sumit Garg

Disabling A4/Letter resizing option helped me, Thanks.


2016-10-09 04:22:58

Alexander Gray

File>Options>Advanced>Print section:

Uncheck (!!) "Scale content for A4 or 8.5x11" paper sizes"

*By doing the above procedure, your problem will be solve!

Thanks a lot! have a nice day


2016-09-02 11:28:33

Ted Duke

Aha! In Word 2016, it's in the Layout Tab, Page Setup Group. Click the drop down button beneath the Margins icon.then click Custom Margins at the bottom of the drop down list to get the Page Setup dialog.

Perhaps the software engineering department at Microsoft has annual contests to award a prize for the best hidden relocated options in their software. Apparently, that's the software equivalent of "musical chairs."


2016-09-01 15:37:26

Ned Barth

On Word 2016 in Windows 10:

File>Options>Advanced>Print section:

Uncheck (!!) "Scale content for A4 or 8.5x11" paper sizes"

That's it! This problem bedeviled me for over a year. Apparently it's a default setting for a new Office 2016 install. I figured this out when I saved the file as an Adobe PDF and the Adobe Printer dialog said it would print at 97%. When I reset it to 100%, it printed correctly, without the huge bottom margin.


2016-08-08 09:29:39

Robin F

There are two computers in my office. One computer allows the function of Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C to edit text. The other computer will only do it randomly and not very often. The only difference that I know of between the computers is the computer that allow the function every time will run Internet Explorer and the computer that will only allow it randomly does not run Internet Explorer.


2016-08-06 11:09:49

K Wetherell

Two other things to consider:
1) Make sure "widows and orphans" are turned off. (Paragraph | Line and Page Breaks | uncheck Widow/Orphan control)
2) Word does not use the base line of text to determine the bottom margin, but requires that the entire character fit above the set bottom margin; in other words if the tail of a "y" would extend past the set margin, that line is pushed to the next page. If the page layout in question requires a 1" bottom margin, try setting it for something slightly smaller.


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