How to Set Margins in Word 2011 for Mac - dummies

How to Set Margins in Word 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Most people are accustomed to seeing a perimeter style margin surrounding the text in documents, including Word documents. You’d have a hard time reading a book if the type went from edge to edge on each page. In a book or magazine in which the sheets are bound, you need extra white space, or gutter, in addition to a margin. Even normal documents that need to be printed need that gutter. As with previous versions of Office, Office 2011 for Mac features margin-controlling options.

Adjusting margins with the Ruler and Ribbon in Word 2011 for Mac

In Word 2011 for Mac, you can adjust the margins by clicking the Layout tab on the Ribbon and using the options in the Margins group, or by dragging the margin sliders in the rulers. Of course, first you need to turn on the rulers at the top and left edge of the document area in Word for Mac: To do so, choose View→Ruler when in Draft View or Print Layout View.

In the ruler, you can do the following:

  • Margin: Drag the line that divides the shaded part from the white part to adjust the margin setting.

  • First line indent: Adjust by dragging the ruler’s top triangle horizontally.

  • Hanging indent: Drag the lower triangle on the horizontal ruler to set where the first line of the paragraph starts.

  • Left indent: Drag the lowest button situated immediately under the hanging indent triangle to adjust the left indent.

Adjusting margins with a dialog in Word 2011 for Mac

Even with the rulers and Ribbon at their disposal, many users find it easier to adjust margins with a dialog. Follow these instructions to display the margin settings in the Document dialog:

  1. Choose Format→Document from the menu bar.

  2. Click the Margins tab.

    You can type in exact values for the margins so that you can keep consistent margin values in all your documents.


The Margins tab of the Document dialog is straightforward. Enter decimal values for distances or use the spinner control next to the input fields. You need to know about the following other aspects of the Margins tab:

  • Mirror Margins: Select this check box to use mirror margins and a gutter when you set up a document to be printed with facing pages, such as a book or a magazine.

  • Apply To: Choose from the following:

    • Whole Document: The settings apply to the entire document.

    • Selected Text: The settings apply to whatever text you selected before opening the Document dialog.

    • This Point Forward: If you have no text selected, you get this option instead of Selected Text. This lets you apply settings from where your insertion point is placed in the document.

  • Default: Default turns the current settings into Word’s default settings to be used from now on when creating new, blank documents.

  • Page Setup: Displays the Page Setup dialog.