Setting a Precise Custom Paper Size

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 6, 2018)

Richard is trying to set up a custom paper size in Word. He needs a paper size that is exactly 7" x 10". Whenever he does this, however, Word automatically changes his paper size to JIS B5, which is 7.16" x 10.12". This is frustrating, and Richard wonders how he can get the precise paper size he needs.

Let's look at theory first. The way that it is supposed to work in Word is that you can specify just about any paper size you want:

  1. Display the Layout or Page Layout tab of the ribbon. (The name of the tab will differ, depending on your version of Word.)
  2. Click the small icon at the lower-right corner of the Page Setup group. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Paper tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Paper tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

  5. Scroll the options in the Paper Size drop-down list (top of the dialog box) and choose Custom Size.
  6. Change the Width and Height options to your desired sizes (7 x 10).
  7. Near the bottom of the dialog box, make sure the Apply To drop-down list is set to Whole Document.
  8. Click on OK to close the dialog box.

At this point you should be able to save your document, and the next time you work with the document, the margins remain the same as you set them.

Noticed I started out by saying that this is theory. That is because your margins can be affected by other settings in Word. The biggest culprit? Your printer driver. If your printer driver won't handle the size of paper you specify, Word may helpfully adjust your page size to something the printer can handle. If the page size you choose is too far beyond what the printer can handle, you might see an error message or some notification, but if the size difference is small (as in Richard's case), Word just makes the change for you.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might try a macro to "undo" any automatic change made by Word. Here's a simple one:

Sub Create7x10Page()
    With Selection.PageSetup
        .PageWidth = InchesToPoints(7)
        .PageHeight = InchesToPoints(10)
    End With
End Sub

Run this when you first open the document, and things should be back to what you expect.

To me, the better long-term solution is to use a printer driver that matches the output device you will be using, and make sure that the output device will work at the size you want. A good choice is to choose a printer driver that creates PDFs instead of physically printed paper. PDFs are very flexible on margins, and you may notice your problem disappear entirely. If your document is destined for another source (such as a printing firm or third-party), check with them for the proper printer driver that will match their equipment.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13569) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Selecting a Column or Row in a Table

Selecting rows and columns in tables is a common task. Because of this, Word provides a couple of ways you can accomplish ...

Discover More

Understanding Auditing

Excel provides some great tools that can help you see the relationships between the formulas in your worksheets. These ...

Discover More

Understanding SmartArt

SmartArt provides a way to add classy presentation graphics to your document. Here's a high-level explanation of what you ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Embedding Fonts in a Document

Fonts are essential to getting your text to look just the way you want it to look. If you have a font that you use in a ...

Discover More

Double-Spacing Your Document

Need to produce a quick double-spaced printout of your document? You can do it by using the simple steps in this tip.

Discover More

Quickly Displaying Formatting Specs

It's easy to apply formatting to text, but often hard (after the fact) to know exactly what was done. If you often need ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.