How to Change Margins in Microsoft Word

how to change margins in word


Microsoft Word is a versatile word processing software that allows you to create, edit, and format documents for a variety of purposes. One crucial aspect of document formatting is adjusting margins. Margins play a pivotal role in the overall aesthetics and readability of your document. Whether you’re working on an academic paper, a business report, or a creative project, knowing how to change margins in Word is an essential skill. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to change margins effectively, ensuring your document looks professional and polished.

Understanding Margins

Before we dive into the practical steps, it’s important to understand what margins are and why they matter

Margins are the blank spaces around the edges of a document. In Microsoft Word, you can find four types of margins: top, bottom, left, and right. Margins serve several key functions

  • Aesthetics Properly set margins give your document a clean and organized appearance. They help in framing your content and making it visually appealing.
  • Readability Margins play a significant role in the readability of your text. Text that’s too close to the edges can be difficult to read, while well-balanced margins provide an optimal reading experience.
  • Binding and Printing Margins are also crucial when it comes to printing your document or preparing it for binding. Insufficient margins can lead to text and graphics getting cut off, and important information being lost.
  • Compliance Many academic and professional institutions have specific formatting guidelines that include margin requirements. Meeting these guidelines is essential to ensure your work is accepted and looks professional.

Now that you understand the importance of margins let’s get into the steps for changing them in Microsoft Word.

How to Change Margins in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word offers multiple methods to change margins. We’ll cover the most straightforward approach using the Page Layout tab in Word 2016 or later versions. Here’s a step-by-step guide

Open Your Document

Launch Microsoft Word and open the document you want to adjust the margins for.

Access the Page Layout Tab

Go to the “Page Layout” tab, which is usually located in the toolbar at the top of the Word window.

Locate the Margins Option

Within the Page Layout tab, look for the “Margins” option. Click on it, and a drop-down menu will appear, showing various preset margin options.

Choose a Preset Margin

The drop-down menu offers several preset margin options, such as Normal, Narrow, Wide, and Custom Margins. You can select one of these options based on your requirements. If one of the presets suits your needs, click on it, and the margins in your document will be automatically adjusted accordingly.

Customize Margins (Optional)

If you need margins that are not covered by the preset options, you can select “Custom Margins” from the drop-down menu. This will open the Page Setup dialog box, where you can manually set the margins.

  • In the Page Setup dialog box, you can specify the margins for the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the page. You can do this by entering numerical values in the respective fields.
  • Additionally, you can choose to apply the margin changes to the entire document or only to the current section. Use the “Apply to” dropdown to make this selection.
  • Ensure that the “Gutter” option is correctly set if your document will be bound or printed. The gutter is the additional margin space on the inner side of a page used for binding. Some institutions may require a specific gutter size.
  • After customizing your margins, you can preview how they will look in the “Preview” section of the Page Setup dialog.

Apply Margins

Once you’ve set the margins to your satisfaction, click the “OK” button in the Page Setup dialog box to apply the changes to your document.

Review Your Document

Take a moment to review your document with the new margins. Ensure that all the content is appropriately adjusted and that it meets your requirements.


What is 1.5 inch margin in Word?

Even-numbered pages according to Microsoft Word (not your page numbers) have a left margin of 1″ and a right of 1.5″ and will appear on the left side of a printed book. These mirrored margins allow for bound, print copies to be formatted correctly.

Which margin is 1 inch?

The top, bottom, and right margins are required to be 1 inch, but the left margin can either be 1 inch or 1.25 inches.


Changing margins in Microsoft Word is a fundamental skill that can significantly enhance the visual appeal and readability of your documents. Whether you’re creating an academic paper, a business report, or a creative project, understanding how to adjust margins is essential. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily change margins in Word, ensuring your documents look polished and professional.

Remember that proper margin settings not only enhance the aesthetics of your document but also help with readability, printing, and compliance with formatting guidelines. Whether you choose a preset margin option or customize your margins, Word offers a range of tools to accommodate your specific needs. So, the next time you’re working on a document, don’t forget to pay attention to the margins – they can make a world of difference in how your work is perceived.

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