How to Format a Page in Word 2013

Page formatting in Word 2013 starts with the size of the page, which is normally the size of the paper you’re printing on. Page and paper are similar concepts, but in Word you can do more with a page than just print on it.

How to set page size

When Word starts out, it assumes that your document is destined to be printed on a sheet of paper and that the paper will be the standard size for your region, such as 8–1/2-by-11 inches in the United States and the A4 size just about everywhere else.

As the computer user, you have every right to disagree with Word and choose a different page size for your document, and you’re not limited to the standard paper sizes, either.

To set the page size, obey these steps:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.

  2. In the Page Setup group, click the Size button.

    The Size button icon is shown in the margin.

    Clicking the Size button displays the Paper Size menu, stocked with a vast assortment of sheets of paper of different sizes.

  3. Choose a page size from the list.

    For example, if you want to print on that tall, legal-size paper, choose Legal from the list.

Your entire document is updated to reflect the new page size, from first page to last. Well, that is, unless you split your document into sections. Then the page size change is reflected only for the current section.

  • To select a size not shown on the menu (refer to Step 3), choose the More Paper Sizes command, found at the bottom of the Size menu. You can then manually set the page size by using the Paper tab in the Page Setup dialog box.

  • Word dutifully sets your document to any paper size imaginable, but can your printer handle that paper size? If you’re only publishing the document electronically, page size is no big deal. But if you want to print a document, ensure that the printer can handle whatever paper size you chose.

How to set orientation (landscape or portrait)

Word assumes that you want your document’s text to print from left to right on a page that’s taller than it is wide. That’s what it considers normal. It’s also called portrait orientation because the page is presented vertically, like a portrait.

Word can also be told to print longways, or in landscape orientation. To perform this trick, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.

  2. Click the Orientation button to see its menu.

    The Orientation button is illustrated in the margin. It has two items on its menu: Portrait and Landscape.

  3. Choose Landscape.

Word shifts the orientation for every page in your document. This doesn't mean that the text is sideways, but rather that the text prints wide on a page.

To change the pages back, choose Portrait in Step 3.

  • Changing the page orientation may require you to adjust the document’s margins.

  • Page-orientation changes affect the entire document unless you split your document into sections. In this case, the change applies to only the current section.

  • Make the decision to have your document in landscape orientation before you do any extensive formatting. This orientation affects your paragraphs and other "lower-level" formatting, so you should have it done first, before you start composing text.

  • Scientists who study such things have determined that human reading speed slows drastically when people must scan a long line of text, which happens when you use Landscape orientation. Reserve landscape orientation for printing lists, graphics, and tables for which normal paper is too narrow.

  • Landscape printing is ideal for using multiple columns of text.

  • If you just want sideways text without turning the page, use a text box.

How to configure the page margins

Every page has margins. They provide the air around your document — that inch or so of breathing space that sets off the text from the rest of the page. As with other things in Word, these margins can be adjusted, fooled, cajoled, or otherwise obsessed over.

Word automatically sets page margins at 1 inch from every edge of the page. Most English teachers and book editors want margins of this size because these people love to scribble in margins. In Word, you can adjust the margins to suit any fussy professional.

To change the margins, obey these steps:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.

  2. Click the Margins button.

    It’s found in the Page Setup group and shown in the margin.

    Clicking the Margins button displays a menu full of common margin options.

  3. Pluck a proper margin from the list.

The new margins affect all pages in your document — unless you split your document into sections, in which case the changes apply to only the current section.

The choices available on the Margins menu list settings for the top, left, bottom, and right margins. Yes, all four settings are changed at one time. When you want to set specific margins, choose the Custom Margins item from the bottom of the menu. Use the Margins tab in the Page Setup dialog box to set specific margins.

  • The margins set by using the Margins button menu format a page.

  • The orange stars appearing on the Margin menu's icons represent popular or recent margin choices you've made.

  • Keep in mind that most printers cannot print on the outside half inch of a piece of paper — top, bottom, left, or right. This space is an absolute margin; although you can tell Word to set a margin of 0 inches right and 0 inches left, text still doesn't print there. Instead, choose a minimum of 0.5 inches for the left and right margins.

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