How to Adjust Page Setup Settings in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

In theory, Windows 10 always displays your work as if it were printed on paper. Microsoft’s marketing department calls it What You See Is What You Get, forever disgraced with the awful acronym WYSIWYG and its awkward pronunciation: “wizzy-wig.” If what you see onscreen isnt what you want to see on paper, a trip to the program’s Page Setup dialog box, shown here, usually sets things straight.

The Page Setup dialog box allows you to adjust the way your work fits onto a piece of paper.
The Page Setup dialog box allows you to adjust the way your work fits onto a piece of paper.

Page Setup, found on nearly any desktop program’s File menu, offers several ways to flow your work across a printed page (and subsequently your screen). Page Setup dialog boxes differ among programs and print models, but the following list describes the options that you’ll find most often and the settings that usually work best:

  • Page Size: This option lets your program know what size of paper currently lives inside your printer. Leave this option set to Letter for printing on standard, 8.5-x-11-inch sheets of paper. Change this setting if you’re using legal-size paper (8.5 x 14), envelopes, or other paper sizes.

  • Source: Choose Automatically Select or Sheet Feeder unless you’re using a fancy printer that accepts paper from more than one printer tray. People who have printers with two or more printer trays can select the tray containing the correct paper size. Some printers offer Manual Paper Feed, making the printer wait until you slide in that single sheet of paper.

  • Header/Footer: Type secret codes in these boxes to customize what the printer places along the top and bottom of your pages: page numbers, titles, and dates, for example, as well as their spacing. Unfortunately, different programs use different codes for their header and footer. If you spot a little question mark in the Page Setup dialog box’s top-right corner, click it and then click inside the Header or Footer box for clues to the secret codes.

  • Orientation: Leave this option set to Portrait to print normal pages that read vertically like a letter. Choose Landscape only when you want to print sideways, which is a handy way to print wide spreadsheets. (If you choose Landscape, the printer automatically prints the page sideways; you don’t need to slide the paper sideways into your printer.)

  • Margins: Feel free to reduce the margins to fit everything on a single sheet of paper. Or enlarge the margins to turn your six-page term paper into the required seven pages.

  • Printer: If you have more than one printer installed on your computer or network, click this button to choose which one to print your work. Click here to change that printer’s settings as well, a job discussed in the next section.

When you’re finished adjusting settings, click the OK button to save your changes. (Click the Print Preview button, if it’s offered, to make sure that everything looks right.)

To find the Page Setup box in some programs, click the little arrow next to the program’s Printer icon and choose Page Setup from the menu that drops down.