Margins On the Screen Don't Match Printout

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 8, 2016)


David has his document formatted with a 1" margin on each side. However, when he is working in Print Layout view, he doesn't see the one-inch margin at the top of the page. Instead, his text starts right at the top of the page on the screen. When David prints the margins look OK, but it frustrates him that they don't look right on the screen.

The most likely cause of this is that you have whitespace suppressed on your display. Follow these steps to make the adjustment:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Show White Space between Pages in Print Layout View option is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

There is a shortcut you can use to turn the display of whitespace on or off. In fact, the shortcut is easy enough that it is entirely possible to turn it off without even realizing that you've done so. (This is probably what happened in David's case.) All you need to do is scroll through your document until you see the small gray line between pages. If you position the mouse pointer over this gray line, it changes to a double-headed arrow. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The double-headed arrow shortcut.

Double-click at that time, and your margins reappear. Double-click the gray area again and the margins disappear.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11850) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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 1 + 8?

2016-10-11 19:48:41


I turn the whitespace off frequently; always when I'm using a Word document on a projector or conference monitor -- that way, attendees can have a great view of the working document. Also really helpful to turn off the whitespace when working with tables that cross pages. This is one of the few shortcuts I've memorized! I do make a point to turn the whitespace back on before saving, so someone else opening the document isn't puzzled by how it looks.

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